Veteran spy-thriller writer returns with his 23rd novel, 50 years on from the publication of his indisputably great “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” and the subsequent phenomenon of the best of the “Smiley” novels. As with the 2010 “Our Kind of Traitor”, Le Carre wrestles with a 21st century version of what spying means in today’s world and how it is tightly wound up with the secret business of government and the sordid world of corporate armies offering “security” services. Tellingly set against clandestine act in 2008 as Gordon Brown’s premiership was beginning to unravel amid the onset of the banking crisis and increasing unrest about Blair’s position in relation to the Iraq war. The main action takes place in 2011 when a disillusioned civil servant thinks there is a duty higher than his loyalty to his job and pension.
Le Carre has not lost any of his story telling power and he weaves a compelling plot that makes Whitehall as murky a place as the mountain side of The Rock at midnight. A must for all Le Carre fans.