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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Patron Book Review: A Delicate Truth

Posted by EPL Patron and Guest Blogger, Irv S.

British novelist John LeCarré gained widespread popularity with his Cold War spy novels. The stories were taut, the characters fascinating.  When the USSR collapsed, leaving the US as the only superpower, many of LeCarré's readers thought sadly that his career was over. No more Cold War, no more spy novels. Both LeCarré and the world, especially the US, proved the pessimists wrong. LeCarré continues to write compelling novels. The US continues to provide abundant supplies of evil and greed.  A Delicate Truth is replete with good characters and evil ones.

The good guys are generally, as in his prior novels, mid-level British bureaucrats, bright and honorable. The neo-bad guys come from the top echelons of private defense contractors. The bureaucrats are motivated by love of country, the contractors by love of money and power.  The author also offers a few complex and hard to define characters who are usually patriotic but sometimes succumb to temptations of the flesh or for power. All is written with LeCarré's customary grace and aplomb.

The contractors are "trader(s) in small wars...(guilty of) sheer, wanton, bloody indifference to anybody's interests but their own."

A Delicate Truth does not curry favor with Americans, except, perhaps those who sometimes question their country's goodness and who enjoy a complex story well told.

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