Our Kind of Traitor

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9780141049168: Our Kind of Traitor

In John le Carré's electrifying novel Our Kind of Traitor, innocents abroad are drawn into the darkest recesses of the financial world.

Britain is in the depths of recession. A left-leaning young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis.

What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain's Intelligence Establishment.

'If you want to know about the state of Britain today, forget the Booker shortlist. Just read John le Carré's latest thriller' Evening Standard

'Few recent plays have had dialogue as good, and few recent literary novels can boast a set of characters so vividly imagined. Our Kind of Traitor is a teasing, beguiling, masterly performance' Sunday Times

John le Carré was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton and served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For the last fifty years he has lived by his pen. His most recent novel, A Delicate Truth, is also published by Penguin. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.

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Product Description:

Title: Our Kind of Traitor <>Binding: Paperback <>Author: John le Carré <>Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP

Review:

Our Kind of Traitor is a reminder – if such a thing were needed – that John le Carré is comfortably still at the top of the tree in arena of the intelligent thriller; he is still writing books for readers who want some texture to their genre reading. But – to rehearse the old debate -- is le Carré a genre writer – or simply a first-rate novelist? Very few would now argue with the latter assessment. The Spy who Came in from the Cold, his first real-calling card book, took the world of espionage thrillers by storm back in 1963, and that brilliantly written examination of the betrayal and duplicities of the Cold War both changed the face of the spy novel and marked le Carré out as the essential writer in the field – a badge he’s sported ever since. Subsequently, the much-acclaimed series of novels featuring the subtle spymaster George Smiley (inaugurated with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in 1974) made much else in the field seem superficial and unambitious. While there was a move away from the pared-to-the-bone precision of the earlier books, the sprawling canvas of the Smiley sequence allowed the author to add new levels to the popular novel, making them as rich as more overtly ‘literary’ fare.

After recent work taking on American foreign policy (a bête noir of the author) and the big pharmaceutical companies, le Carré has returned to the concision of his early work, and in Our Kind of Traitor has delivered one of his most sheerly satisfying novels in years.

Britain is suffering under the recession, and a young couple – a leftish academic and his girlfriend (who is in the legal profession) – escape a depressed UK for a leisurely break on the Caribbean island of Antigua. But a meeting with a Russian millionaire by the name of Dima plunges the couple down the rabbit hole in a dizzying, picaresque odyssey in which the worlds of the City of London and the shadowy corridors of espionage collide.

In many ways, this is quite unlike any other John le Carré novel, even as it utilises familiar tropes. And the surprises here (which it would be criminal to reveal) demonstrate that one of our greatest writers – to his considerable credit – is refusing to stand still. --Barry Forshaw

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