Jim's Books

A Delicate Truth

John le Carré

A Delicate Truth
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ISBN: 9780241965184


A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain's most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture 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.

Three years later, when the horrifying truth behind Operation Wildlife is uncovered, Toby will be forced to 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?

Reviewed on 25th August 2014

It’s taken me a while to get round to reading A Delicate Truth - I’m still slightly intimidated by John le Carré, having the idea that as he’s such a well known author that his books will be too literary and hard to get into. This is of course not at all the case, and as with his previous novel I was hooked straight away.

The story follows a couple of characters who were involved (tangentially) in a minor undercover operation as they try to piece together what actually happened. It’s a captivating plot that feels very engaging, though on reflection manages to do surprisingly well at suspending the reader’s disbelief and makes the events feel completely plausible.

It’s easy to sympathise with both main characters - probably too easy, as a bit more depth and shade would have made them and their motivations more interesting. In fact, they are probably too similar - there’s not a massive amount beyond age to differentiate them.

One aspect I really enjoyed was the structure of the novel. It’s split into just seven chapters, alternating in point of view between the two characters, and staying with them for many pages. This helps the pace to keep flowing and builds tension as we’re away from each of them for considerable amounts of time.

I really enjoyed reading this novel, and must learn not to think of le Carré as intimidating. It’s a very approachable ‘spy’ novel and one I’d definitely recommend.

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