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A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre
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A Most Wanted Man (original 2008; edition 2009)

by John Le Carre

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,767643,983 (3.44)72
Member:Minthe
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
Rating:****
Tags:zb2010, zfbubl, zr2013, germany, hamburg

Work details

A Most Wanted Man by John le Carré (2008)

  1. 00
    The Mission Song by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  2. 00
    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré (sturlington)
  3. 00
    Indvandreren by Olav Hergel (2810michael)
  4. 00
    The Night Manager by John Le Carré (John_Vaughan)
  5. 00
    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.
  6. 00
    Flygtningen by Olav Hergel (2810michael)
  7. 01
    Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré (John_Vaughan)
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» See also 72 mentions

English (56)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
A Most Wanted Man by John le Carre; (4*)

A top notch thrilling story from a spy-master. Intricate plot, fascinating characters, all the twists and turns to keep you guessing and then hoping until the end. I loved it! ( )
  rainpebble | Jul 14, 2015 |
Le Carre takes us into the squalid realms of the anti-terrorism intelligence in the 21st century. Issa, a Chechneyan refugee from Turkish and Russian prisons, has made his way into Germany. His late father was a notorious corrupt Russian military officer who looted Soviet finances at the waning days of the USSR and deposited millions in a Hamburg-based British private bank led by Tommy Brue. Issa is heir to this illicit fortune but wants to avoid claiming it because of its nefarious origins. He is being aided with his immigrant status by Annabel Richter, a public interest lawyer, who wants him to file a claim as she thinks this will aid his asylum seeking. Issa appears to be naive and somewhat ethereal and genuinely devoted to Islam. He says that all he wants is support for medical training so he can return to Chechnya to aid his people. Annabel falls in love with Issa and he with her, but a romance doesn't ensue due to his Islam beliefs.

The German, British and American intelligence agencies have been following this young man and seek his capture as he is alleged to be a violent Muslim terrorist. Whether he really is a jihadist is murky but the intelligence crowd is anxious to nab him. There is a rift in intentions among his pursuers. One faction headed by Gunther Bachmann wants to use him for counter-intelligence, particularly to co-opt a prominent Muslim leader in Hamburg who purports to be a moderate but whom they suspect is funneling money to terrorist groups. The other authorities want to make showy arrests that will advance the public's attention to their competence in combating the War on Terror.

Our British banker has been troubled by the dirty Russian money accepted by his late father. His marriage is failing and he becomes infatuated with the much younger lawyer. Both he and the lawyer are "turned" by the intelligence agents as they think by cooperating they can protect Issa from deportation back to Russia or Turkey where he will be tortured again. They agree to arrange a meeting between Issa and Dr. Abdullah, the imam who is a money launderer for the terrorists, where Issa will turn over funds to Abdullah for charities that are really a front for terrorists groups. Bachmann's intent for the meeting is to confront Abdullah in his crimes and use him to dig deeper into the finances of terrorists.

In Le Carre's sly style the German, British and American operatives are working at deceiving each other as well as Brue and Annabel. The dramatic ending reveals a heavy-handed snatch by the Americans, Brits and some Germans that betrays Bachmann, Brue, Annabel and Issa.

Manipulation, falsity and treachery are themes that Le Carre extracts from the real world of intelligence work. ( )
  stevesmits | May 31, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (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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Epigraph
The golden rule is, to help those we love to escape from us.
~ Friedrich von Hügel
Dedication
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.
Quotations
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Lawyer; terrorist;
Banker; lots and lots of spies.
But who can you trust?
(Noisy)

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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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