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A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre

A Most Wanted Man (original 2008; edition 2009)

by John Le Carre

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1,723634,111 (3.45)69
Title:A Most Wanted Man
Authors:John Le Carre
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2009), Paperback, 417 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites, Fiction, Owned, For recommendations
Tags:zb2010, zfbubl, zr2013, germany, hamburg

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A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré (2008)

  1. 10
    Harbor by Lorraine Adams (davidpwhelan)
    davidpwhelan: Both books share plots that deal with mistaken identity, circumstantial evidence, war on terror, ascribing hostility to others based on race or religious background, and are well-written thrillers.
  2. 00
    Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  3. 00
    The Mission Song by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  4. 00
    The Night Manager by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    Indvandreren by Olav Hergel (2810michael)
  6. 00
    Flygtningen by Olav Hergel (2810michael)

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» See also 69 mentions

English (54)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
John le Carre is in a class by himself as an espionage novelist; Tinker, Tailor, Spy and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold are great novels. Unfortunately, to me, A Most Wanted Man doesn’t hold up to this level. The novel starts far too slowly, and while the intelligence and moral ambiguity that are le Carre novels’ hallmarks are present, Günther Bachmann is no George Smiley, and the terrorist Issa Karpov is no Karla. It waits to be seen if A Delicate Truth is a better read. ( )
  twcox | Jan 14, 2015 |
Espionage, Terrorism, Spies, Ebook ( )
  Rosareads | Oct 14, 2014 |
When the Berlin Wall came down and the Warsaw Pact crumbled I wondered how traditional espionage writers such as John le Carre would cope with the bedrock of their genre so completely excised. Le Carre seemed entirely unfazed and moved seamlessly to address issues arising from the emergence of the former Soviet republics and stresses in sub-Saharan Africa.

With 'A Most Wanted Man' he moves on to the 'war against terror' and the depredations wreaked by the international banking world. The novel is set in Hamburg several years into the war on terror. The principal protagonists here are Tommy Brue, an expatriate British banker running the family bank, Annabel Richter, a human rights lawyers striving to exorcise her guilt over being born into a welathy and prominent family, Issa Karpov, a Chechen Muslim emigre , and Gunther Bachman, world-weary intelligence officer in the German homeland security forces. Bachman has to contend almost as fiercely with his rival German security forces as he does with terrorist suspects because of the additional sensitivity about Islamist extremism in Hamburg as that was where the 9/11 terrorists trained. Although a pillar of rectitude himself, Brue knows that his father was less innocent having established a series of very dubious accounts known as Lipizzaners. The mysterious Issa, who has made his way to Hamburg from Russia via Sweden claims to be the son of one of the Lipizzaner clients. Annabel Richter and Gunther Bachman are both drawn to investigate further.

Le Carre manages the plot very deftly, particularly the tensions between the competing Germans security organisations. Richter is also very plausible - it might have been easy to fall into cliches with her liberal stance, but le Carre never makes that error.

My one slight cavil with the book was that it seemed to have been drawn out just a little bit too far. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Sep 27, 2014 |
A good thriller, with a surprisingly accessible beginning that combines just the right amount of menace, malice, suspicion & suspense to get you hooked. Interesting but ultimately shallowly drawn characters then spend the middle third of the book getting bogged down in intelligence protocol & process. This isn't excitement, but with the proper pacing could have been very gripping. Instead it was interesting but not involving. Worth a read, but not a reread, & certainly not a book I'll be keeping. ( )
  aadyer | Sep 14, 2014 |
A Most Wanted Man is a present-day spy thriller set in Hamburg, Germany. The titular man is a Chechen, possibly a terrorist, certainly once a tortured prisoner, who has entered Germany illegally, revealed himself as the heir of a large amount of dirty money, and is thus wanted by the intelligence agents of three countries: Germany, Britain and the U.S.

This was my first le Carre, an author who I am certainly familiar with, and I don't think this was the best one to start out with, to be honest. Le Carre's writing is clear, precise, and very readable, but this story was lacking in excitement and genuine characters. The only character who I could truly empathize with was the banker, who was having some sort of midlife crisis and seemed to only muddle through the intrigue he found himself caught up in. I couldn't understand the fascination that Issa, the wanted man, held for all the people he met, and the female lawyer who inexplicably falls in love with him seems two-dimensional in her flatness. Most frustrating of all, the main character, the disillusioned German spy, was a cipher to me, and I felt like understanding him was the key to understanding the book. On top of that frustration, I thought that the overall tone of the book was anti-American and way too black-and-white. I would have appreciated more nuance when dealing with the modern-day war on terror.

I'm not sure if I'll try another of le Carre's books. This one seemed so promising, but ultimately disappoints. I will probably see the movie adaptation, anyway, since it is Philip Seymour Hoffman's last film.

Book club pick (2014). ( )
  sturlington | Sep 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John le Carréprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rees, RogerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The golden rule is, to help those we love to escape from us.
~ Friedrich von Hügel
For my grandchildren,
born and unborn
First words
A Turkish heavyweight boxing champion sauntering down a Hamburg street with his mother on his arm can scarcely be blamed for failing to notice that he is being shadowed by a skinny boy in a black coat.
The staple of your private banker's life, Brue liked to pontificate after a scotch or two in amiable company, was not, as one might reasonably expect, cash. It wasn't bull markets, bear markets, hedge funds or derivatives. It was cock-up. It was the persistent, he would go so far as to say the permanent sound, not to put too fine an edge on it, of excrement hitting your proverbial fan. So if you didn't happen to like living in a state of unremitting siege, the odds were that private banking wasn't for you.
The driver was holding open the rear door. He was young and blond, a boy in his prime.
I am a Muslim medical student. I am tired and I wish to stay at your house.
He had the assurance of wealth but none of its arrogance. His facial features, when not battened down for professional inscrutability, were affable and, despite a lifetime in banking or because of it, refreshingly unlined.
If there are people in the world for whom espionage was ever the only possible calling, Bachmann was such a person.
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Haiku summary
Lawyer; terrorist;
Banker; lots and lots of spies.
But who can you trust?

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A half-starved young Russian man claiming to be a devout Muslim, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, and a sixty-year-old scion of a failing British bank based in Hamburg form an unlikely alliance as the rival spies of Germany, England and America scent a sure kill in the "War on Terror," and converge upon the innocents.… (more)

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