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“John Le Carré’s 21st novel situated in Hamburg concerns the arrival of Issa, a ragged, undernourished and tortured Chechen. He puts his fate into the hands of a Turkish family, who in turn ask advice from Annabel Richter, a lawyer from a legal collective assisting asylum seekers. It turns out Issa carries with him a document entitling him to millions from private bank “Brue Frères” in Hamburg. This once venerable institution is headed by Tommy Brue (60), childless, unhappily married and the last scion of a banking dynasty.
The interaction between Issa, Annabel and Tommy fuels much of what happens next, with Tommy assuming the now classical role of seniors in Le Carré’s oeuvre, trying to end a failing career with a resounding victory. However, the intelligence service of Germany, the UK and the US always had their eye on Issa and wonder what he will do with his millions... And then the intrigues between the services begin...“
Wrote something like this in a May 2010 review for a Dutch media. Also praised JLC for being an inclusive writer, standing up for the weak like refugees or victims of the pharmaceutical or arms industry. And that here the intelligence services were apparently not operating very smartly.
Events since 2010 have caused a sea change in public opinion and European and US politics re political/humanitarian asylum, immigration and terrorism. The 2015 influx of some 800.000 non-vetted refugees into Germany was said by its top politicians to have prevented a fresh Balkan war, and of course, there were real terrorists among them. In June 2016, the UK panicked and voted itself out of the EU, partly or largely over immigration concerns. Today the EU is busy trying to contain immigration via diplomacy in transit nations like Turkey, Tunisia and Libya and devising concentric defensive-cum-preventive programs in e.g. Gambia, Niger and Sudan. Only months ago, Polish immigration stopped hundreds of suspected Chechen Islamists arriving by bus and train from entering the EU.
Le Carre could not possibly have foreseen all this. Am curious how fresh readers will appreciate this novel. Am also sure there are plenty of people like Annabel left in Germany and elsewhere to defend legitimate asylum seekers. Beautifully composed and written, as always.
I was quite impressed with this War on Terror spy thriller. It is well written, has an intriguing and well constructed plot and it possesses an air of authenticity. Set in Hamburg,the book is about a Chechen jihadist who enters Germany illegally in order to claim an inheritance deposited with a bank there. He is assisted by an idealistic liberal lawyer who gets in touch with the bank on his behalf. However their activities soon attract the attention of the German,British and American intelligence agencies and the jihadist,lawyer and banker involved soon find themselves being handled and manipulated by them who treat them as pawns in a much bigger game ,namely stopping the financing of global Islamic terrorism. The author seems to know how spy agencies operate and the sort of people who get involved with them and he writes about them very well. Fascinating novel.
"A Most Wanted Man" is one of the newest Le Carré's, portraying the "new" post cold war spy novels. it is by far better than its consequent "Our Kind of Traitor" which is another fling the author had with a completely "communist-free" spy novel.
The Novel is well written as always, fluent and gripping. Takes place in Hamburg, symbolically (and later proven crucial to the turn of events) the city where the 9/11 perpetrators have found refuge right under the nose of the German intelligence services. It is in this city that an illegal Chechen Muslim immigrant, called Issa Karpov finds refuge with a Turkish family. We later find out that Issa is indeed wanted both in Sweden and in Russia/his homeland. He is helped by human rights lawyer Annabel Richter (an infidel to whom he is slightly attracted and subsequently tries to fight the ambiguity of his identity) and by a banker called Tommy Bruce, whose bank "inherited" an illegal account that involves Issa (i won't give up any more details - don't worry!) Meanwhile, this is all taking place under the scrutiny of Gunther Bachmann a washed up German intelligence officer, determined to make amends to the German miss of 9/11 (and his own complicated past) by using Issa as a source to get to a high ranking terrorist activist. This is done under and despite the interference of the British intelligence, The Americans and Gunther's superiors.
So far the plot. I have now heard that there's a movie coming out (starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Gunther) and I must confess this story might do better on the big screen than as a novel. True to my Le Carré I still call it a great read, but it seemed that (though the message is very well understood) it lacks some sort of "Le Carré-ish panache" ... It's hard for me to put the finger on it, but it seemed like the message the great Spy-master is trying to convey has already been comprehended in "Absolute Friends" (if you read it you know what I'm talking about, ho mighty America!). A Most Wanted Man is promising at the start but loses it's momentum, and leaves you with a somewhat sense of a miss ... meaning you sit there thinking "this could have been spectacular ! "
Still a great read as always (i said it three times now), well written and intriguing - though it is one of few Le Carré that did not get 5 stars by me.
Not so much a spy thriller as a psychological portrait of people on opposing sides of an intelligence operation. Issa, a refugee from Chechnya finds himself in Hamburg to collect an inheritance he doesn't want. A potpourri of German, British and American intelligence officials have to try and co-operate in order to get their hands on a terrorist financier who may or may not be the beneficiary of the inheritance that Issa is refusing. We meet a British private banker, a German idealist lawyer and their attempt to do what is best for Issa. This is in the best of Le Carré tradition.