A Most Wanted Man: Book summary and reviews of A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre

A Most Wanted Man

By John Le Carre

A Most Wanted Man
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  • Published in USA  Oct 2008,
    336 pages.

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Book Summary

New spies with new loyalties, old spies with old ones; terror as the new mantra; decent people wanting to do good but caught in the moral maze; all the sound, rational reasons for doing the inhuman thing; the recognition that we cannot safely love or pity and remain good "patriots" -- this is the fabric of John le Carré's fiercely compelling and current novel A Most Wanted Man.

A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse around his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? He says his name is Issa.

Annabel, an idealistic young German civil rights lawyer, determines to save Issa from deportation. Soon her client's survival becomes more important to her than her own career -- or safety. In pursuit of Issa's mysterious past, she confronts the incongruous Tommy Brue, the sixty-year-old scion of Brue Frères, a failing British bank based in Hamburg.

Annabel, Issa and Brue form an unlikely alliance -- and a triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, scenting a sure kill in the "War on Terror," the rival spies of Germany, England and America converge upon the innocents.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"[N]one of the characters is as memorable as George Smiley or Magnus Pym. Still, even a lesser le Carré effort is far above the common run of thrillers." - Publishers Weekly.

"The old spy master hasn't lost his touch. Every public library should order multiple reserve copies. Highly recommended." - Library Journal.

"Le Carre, without lecturing, deftly puts human faces and human costs on the paranoid response to the threat of terrorism." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Author Information

John Le Carre Author Biography

Author photograph by Simone Casetta

John Le Carré is the pen name of David Cornwell. Cornwell was born in Poole, Dorset (in the South-West of England) in 1931. His father, Ronnie, made and lost his fortune a number of times due to elaborate confidence tricks and schemes which landed him in prison on at least one occasion. This, according to Cornwell, was one of the factors that led to his fascination with secrets. His father was also the inspiration for the lead character in 'The Honourable Schoolboy' (1977).

Cornwell's mother left home when he was five or six years old - he did not see her again until he was 21.

He attended Sherborne School - a British boarding school, but was unhappy and dropped out at the age of 16. For a little under a year (in 1948-1949) he studied German at the ...

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Name Pronunciation
John Le Carre: jon L-KAR-ay

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