A Most Wanted Man: Surrender

December 1, 2008 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

I gave up on this book after 100 pages. Nothing happened except for the author introducing some rather dull characters in a rather dull place.

Every time I picked the book up, I did so with the hope that this time, something important and exciting would happen. It never did. There seemed to be little at stake for any of these characters.

Maybe the problem is the times we live in. Certainly, there is much danger in the world. But the intelligence services of the West have been so discredited that they fail to be the sparks for fiction. Their enemies — terrorists — don’t conjure up much that is interesting or terrifying on a global scale.

All in all, this book indicates that basing a book on the flimsy “war on terror” is probably not a good idea.

John le Carre is an author of stature, but this work does not add to that stature.

I am waiting for a really good espionage novel for this era. Maybe the new presidential administration can provoke one.

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