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A counter-terrorist operation, code-named Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.
Three years later, a disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be—or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher “Kit” Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kit’s daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?read more
The plot is absurd. The characters are stock figures out of central casting and absurd even on their own terms. Forget if you agree with the author's quite obvious views on America, GWOT, New Labor, the Deep State etc. He has ridden similar hobby horses before and simply done a better job of it. That said, through pacing, an exquisite sense of place [he makes each setting come alive] and his usual genius for dialog, he makes a fun read. Sadly not fun enough that I do not somewhat regret paying full price for an HC. With hindsight, I should have waited for my local library to get a copy. However, Hollywood will love making this movie as it does wonderfully nasty sendups of black ops, the W years and evangelical millionaire neocons.read more
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State-sanctioned duplicity drives bestseller le Carre's entertainingly labyrinthine if overly polemical 23rd novel, which features a corrupt British Foreign Office minister, Fergus Quinn, and an American private defense contractor "best known as Ethical Outcomes." In 2008, a cloak-and-dagger plot to capture an arms dealer in Gibraltar under the mantle of counterterrorism goes awry. Quinn's secretary, Toby Bell, who was kept out of the loop, has incriminating information about the mission and the chance to use it three years later when one of the soldiers involved ends up dead and a retired British diplomat, roped into participating against his will, tries to salve his conscience about some nasty pieces of collateral damage. As usual, le Carre (Our Kind of Traitor) tells a great story in sterling prose, but he veers dangerously close to farce and caricature, particularly with the comically amoral Americans. His best work has been about the moral ambiguity of spying, while this novel feels as if the issue of who's bad and who's good is too neatly sewn up. Agent: Jonny Geller, Curtis Brown. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.