Our Kind of Traitor: A Novel Audio CD – Import, 12 October 2010
Mass Market Paperback
|Audio CD, Audiobook, Unabridged, Import||
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“Part vintage John le Carré and part Alfred Hitchcock…the suspense in Our Kind of Traitor is genuine and nerve-racking.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“I would suggest immortality for John le Carré, who I believe one of the most intelligent and entertaining writers working today.”—The Chicago Tribune.
About the Author
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- Publisher : Penguin Audio; Unabridged edition (12 October 2010)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0142428426
- ISBN-13 : 978-0142428429
- Reading age : 18 years and up
- Item Weight : 272 g
- Dimensions : 13.94 x 3.78 x 14.58 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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By sunil on 3 April 2018
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In very broad terms, this is a story of an English academic and his lawyer wife, on holiday in the Caribbean, meeting a Russian oligarch who wants to defect to the UK. The oligarch asks the academic to intercede between himself and the British authorities.
The trouble is, the plot is not plausible and the characters are not credible. There is a lot of complex stuff about money laundering and international finance, but is this seriously what we have our finest intelligence agents working on? Would they really give asylum to a dodgy banker who had fallen out with his dodgy banker friends? Why would they need to stage some elaborate kidnapping from a remote Swiss mountain when it would have been far easier for the dodgy oligarch to have just bought a plane ticket to London. And would they really bring a randomer academic into their fold whilst they did all this?
The characters are lifted from comic books. Boorish businessmen; brain-dead bodyguards; public school dandy spies, stupid policemen, idealistic academics. There’s no depth to any of them.
Basically, nothing rings true. This is a real shame when the verisimilitude of the daily grind of office work was what lifted Le Carre’s earlier works above other espionage thrillers.
The ending is abrupt. It is hard to disguise an abrupt ending when the reader will be able to see the lack of further pages (or the Kindle counter approaching 100%). Thus, the shock is somewhat lost – the reader knows something cataclysmic must be coming and the only doubt is what form it might take. I know others have been disappointed by the ending and felt that it left loose ends; I actually thought it worked well and was, perhaps, the only memorable or intriguing thing in a novel that was otherwise slow and confusing.
This feels like a tired novel by a tired writer; a writer whose repertoire has been consigned to history, writing about an organisation that seems to be searching for a purpose. It seldom holds the attention and when the plot gets convoluted, there is a temptation to just press ahead without trying to piece together what is actually going on.
JLC's 22nd novel is a brilliantly-plotted, -researched and -written novel about love, honour and betrayal.
OKT is primarily an assault on Britain's ruling strata. And only secondly about the Kremlin's campaign to control Russian organized crime much as they subdued the oligarchs a decade earlier: "Share with us, or else!" The oligarchs complied, fled abroad or were jailed. Dealing with Russia's crime syndicates is harder. They are age-old brotherhoods of "honourable criminals" ("vory") living by strict codes whereby talking to, let alone dealing with the State is a sin punishable by death. But in this novel this Russian version of "omertá" is breached somewhere, somehow: Russia's seven richest and best-organized crime syndicates make a deal with the Kremlin. But there is one major obstacle.
His name is Dima, which is short for Dimitri, an honourable criminal since the age of 14, who survived 15 years in ice-cold Kolyma, and has since worked his way up to become the world's best money launderer on behalf of himself and the Seven Brotherhoods. Now he is doomed because he knows too much and is not willing to sell out, deal with the State. He is a blunt, bearlike, forceful, emotional, desperate Russian with only days or weeks to live once he has signed over his private business empire to the Seven Brotherhoods and disclosed where he he hid their tens of billions of loot, when the book starts.
From his refuge on the island of Antigua Dima makes a last-ditch effort to save at least his family by challenging young Oxford lecturer Peregrine ("Perry") Makepiece to a game of tennis. Perry and his lawyer girlfriend Gail fall prey to the charms of Dima and his mournful extended family. Perry pens down what Dima tells him about his life and works, because he wants a deal with the British government to save his family in exchange for a full account of his awesome whitewashing career, hoping Perry is a British spy or knows one. Perry's 28-page account, when he and Gail return home, does reach British intelligence. But...
I hope this rich book is not JLC's parting shot at writing, because OKT is in my humble opinion his best. The context and descriptions are like watching a film, the characters and dialogues are great and the moral implications of this tale go beyond anything JLC has written before.
OKT is a square assault on corruption and rent-seeking behaviour by key members of Britain's establishment in government, parliament, the press, and esp. the sacred square mile of the City, where blood money of many types and provenances is banked, invested, transferred at lightning speed to fresher pastures and back again, for no purpose or wider benefit to wider humanity. The Square Mile and its many paid advocates welcome the establishment of the banking arm of the Arena Conglomerate of the Seven Brotherhoods warmly, with its promise of bringing hundreds of billions to London and of plentiful investments in moribund industries in a near-bankrupt country.
Very rich and deep book. True masterpiece.
One positive note is that the author has finally got over his need to use inappropriate or incorrect terminology, hence 'four track' has become '4x4' and 'buckskin', 'suede'.
Second-rate Frederick Forsyth but diverting enough to pass a plane journey.
huge disappointment. What I mean by that is the situation when you expect that at this point the story will really kick of, but it ends abruptly instead. Also the author uses a lot of depictions and portraits of people which slows the action very heavily, but most of all lacks cinematic view of action when precise detail is essential to create the suspense. As I said I’m sorry to write that, but since Amazon had asked me twice here I am.