This is my review of the book Our Kind of Traitor by John Le Carre, which I have listened to recently as an audio book.
A left-leaning young Oxford academic Peregrine "Perry" Makepiece and his barrister girlfriend Gail Perkins take an holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian oligarch millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He then challenges them to a game of tennis.
Dima, describes himself as "the world's number one money launderer,"
Dima wants Perry to pass on information about his criminal activities to British intelligence, in exchange for protection for himself and his family. Dima fears for his life because "The Prince", the new leader of his criminal brotherhood, had a good friend of Dima and his wife murdered.
What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain’s Intelligence Establishment, as the Prince now wants Dima to come to Bern to sign over control of the money-laundering operations to him.
The story ends with a very dramatic unexpected ending and John does not disappoint.
A very enjoyable book to listen to whilst driving around.
This was book 12 week 9 – fiction 11 (2 on audio) non fiction 1
This is my review of the Constant Gardener by John Le Carre, which was listened to a few weeks ago.
This year being able to enjoy Christmas and New Year a bit more than last has meant that they have not been a good time for writing, but have been a good time for sitting in front of the fire and reading. This does mean that I currently have a back log of four more reviews to do.
We listened to the Constant Gardener as an audio book, whilst travelling in the car. I do not know if it was because we listened to it rather than reading it but the level of description used is truly amazing. John was able to paint perfect pictures of the African landscape, just as if one had a picture in front of you.
This was a slight departure form the normal cloak and dagger spy world, to that of industrial and pharmaceutical skulduggery for a quick buck. All about using the poor African as a guinea pig to test a new drug, but it turned out it had terrible side effects.
I have properly already spoilt the plot, but just to give a hint of the outline - Justin Quayle, a British diplomat in Nairobi, Kenya, is told that his activist wife, Tessa, was killed while travelling with a doctor friend in a desolate region of Africa. Investigating on his own, Quayle discovers that her murder, reportedly done by her friend, may have had more sinister roots.
And from there on wards Justin tries to uncover the truth, going all over the world as part of the process.
An enjoyable audio book - This was book 45 week 32 fiction 42 (13 on audio) non fiction 3
We have been enjoying this over the last couple of weeks on our travels as an audio book. This is a book where the reviewer is faced with a dilemma – how much plot does one give away, as the book is full of twists and turns that keep it interesting all the way through till the end.
It is written at a time when Germany was split in two and Britain sent spies over to East Germany and beyond to get secrets. The trouble is that there are double agents and potential double agents. Do they need rooting out or do they need exposing – can't tell you without spoiling the story. What we did do is try and guess what would happen next with each twist and turn and were not very good at it.
All I will say is that it is a gripping story about the life of one or more spies, and the lengths they go to to try and uncover / hide the truth. An enjoyable story as book 13 week 7 fiction 13 (6 on audio) non fiction 0
A Perfect Spy by John le Carré
There are novels which can only be described by a single word: epic. John le Carré's A Perfect Spy, published originally in 1986, is one of those novels to be certain.
The plot covers the latter half of the twentieth century in the form of the life of Magnus Pym, the perfect spy of the novel's title. It goes back to Magnus' life as a child and his relationship with his father. It then moves on from there tripping to and fro between the present and the past.
The detail given as in fine le Carré tradition, is a cross between the spy thriller and a human drama and is all the better for it. I listened to this as an audio book, on longer journeys so it came a quite large long chunks, up to five or six hours at a go. This allowed me to get totally immersed in the story. At the end of it I felt as if Magnus was really alive. It was sad to get to the end.
An enjoyable story the fourth Carré audio book I have listened to helping motorway travel to pass by quickly as book 49 - week 37 – fiction 43 (12 on audio) non fiction 6
Simleys people by John le Carré
___ This is the third book in the “Karla Trilogy” following on from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the Honourable Schoolboy.
Smiley works through a series of old contacts (sometimes just after they have been murdered) towards his goal. The descriptions of the gypsy camp outside Hamburg where one of his links is on a boat are fantatstic, just bringing it all to life as if one is looking over ones sholder at the action carrying on before ones eyes.
Eventually Smiliey identifies Karala's achillies heel , which ultimately leads to Karla's defeat and a defection at the Berlin Wall. I listened to this as an audio book and it made communitng a very enjoyable experience, not even minding crawling along at 30 mph behind long queues of cars. The big choice is what next to listen to? So week 23 – audio book 8 written book 19 total 27
This is the next spy novel that follows on from Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy, and is centred around Jerry Westerby, a spy working for Smiley - a former newspaper reporter and occasional SIS secret agent. It is set in the 1970's.Jerry Westerby is sent to Hong Kong to find out all about Russian and Chinese spying that is going on in the area. Of course drugs play a keen part in the tale and the good old U S of A comes steam rolling in.
The story is long and complicated roving over the far east with wonderful vivid descriptions, that bring the whole story to life. Just fantastic for audio listening on a long car journey. They almost made me believe I was there rather than rain and wind swept home.
Wikipedia has a very long and very comprehensive summary of the plot, so I won't go into here, other than to say I felt really sad when the CIA kidnapped Nelson snapping him from the hands of the British. Smiley is retired off with a pension. This is book 14 week 14 (audio book 5) The next audio book I am listening to is back to France in the 1600's with our friends the Musketeers_
I listened to this as an audio book, and this was the third time that I have read/listened to the book- roughly once every ten years. George Smiley is the star, finding corruption at the heart of the British secret service. The game is to guess who was the mole, which is why there needs to be such a long period between reacquainting oneself with the book. It is still just as good as the first time I read it. Now the question is do I want to see the new film or not?
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.