Summary

A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain’s most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, and a private defence contractor who is also his close friend. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it. Suspecting a disastrous conspiracy, Toby attempts to forestall it, but is promptly posted overseas.
Three years on, summoned by Sir Christopher Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely watched by Probyn’s daughter Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
John le Carre was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton and served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For the last fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.
©2013 John le Carré (P)2013 Penguin Books Limited
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Critic reviews

"One of those writers who will be read a century from now" (Robert Harris)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Al on 14-05-13

Outstanding writing and narration

This intelligent, measured and thought-provoking novel was quietly powerful. It really made me think about morality, accountability and what is acceptable behaviour of the individual, and of a government. It was gripping and the ending perfect - and as a bonus, it seems that Mr le Carre has left a door ajar. Not only was it beautifully written, but the narration by John le Carre himself was a revelation. His depiction of the characters was distinct and his accents were excellent. It is a privilege to hear him read his own words. He is 81 years old - and right up there with the very best narrators.

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17 of 17 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Setter man on 09-05-13

Masterly!

I have read and listened to books by Le Carre before, of course, and found the plots, the writing and the performances by Michael Jayston for the audio books all to be excellent. He is undoubtedly not just a good but a great modern writer. However, I think this latest story stands out for a number of reasons. First, there is the the story itself and the obvious commitment of Le Carre in developing it and the implicit critiques of both state and private commercial power. His use of language and descriptive power is once again outstanding. Secondly, however, it is Le Carre's own reading that is the revelation . I was surprised to see that he was voicing this presentation not least because Jayston has been so good, but also because, frankly, I was not sure from the various interviews etc. I've seen of him whether Le Carre would be suited to this role. I need not have worried: he gives the reading a quality and tone which seem, to me, to fit perfectly to the social and political contexts and the people he describes so well, and he also manages to present convincing characterisations of all the story's actors.
Overall, I think this is one of Le Carre's best tales in terms of content and also the quality of writing, at least amongst his most recent works, and his reading on this audio version made for a truly masterly production. Highly recommended.

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14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Tamara on 04-08-13

You will love it !

This novel is not strictly in Le Carre's usual genre of the spy novel but it has the pace and mystery and well written characteristics of his other novels. What sets this one apart is Le Carre's interpretation / reading of his own characters..He really brings them all to life and gets the accents and manerisms just down pat, to the extent that I could easily visualize each and every one of them and felt I knew them all intimately. Obviously he has an advantage in narrating his own work but I would still rate this the best narration of any book I have yet listened to. Somehow his writing has become more subtle and sophisticated with amusing nuances or perhaps it is his interpretation of his material that makes this a truly a great listen. Great story as well.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Sharron on 07-02-14

Not My Favourite

I have read all le Carre's earlier books but this was not what I expected. The plot was weak and the character development poor. That said there was still the mystery and intrigue of old but this will be the last of his books that I read.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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