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A Delicate Truth review – in a great Le Carré, the state has lost its way

 

For The Guardian:

 

The story of two flawed-but-good men in a world of government corruption and cock-up – pure pleasure

 

John Le Carré is one of a handful of writers whose every book I buy. And I always read them. Even better, I sometimes go on flights or car journeys with his audiobooks – and treat myself to Le Carré reading them to me. (Can’t recommend this highly enough, by the way.) So I can tell you with some surety that A Delicate Truth is one of the best of what we must now call the old master’s late period.

The novel tells two intertwined stories. First, that of Sir Kit Probyn, a retired diplomat, who is asked to oversee what he understands to be a counter-terrorism operation on the coast of Gibraltar – codenamed Wildfire. This goes wrong in ways Probyn does not realise. Second, there is the story of Toby Bell, a young private secretary to the bullish end-of-days New Labour defence minister, Fergus Quinn, who ordered the operation.

 

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