A Delicate Truth: A Novel
John le Carré
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From the acclaimed author of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Our Kind of Traitor which is soon to be a motion picture starring Ewan McGregor, Naomie Harris, Stellan Skarsgård and Damian Lewis
The Pigeon Tunnel, John le Carré's first work of non-fiction, will be available from Viking in September 2016
"A novel that beckons us beyond any and all expectations."—Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post
A counter-terrorist operation, code-named Wildlife, is being mounted on the British crown colony of Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture and abduct a high-value jihadist arms buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, a private defense contractor who is also his bosom friend, and a shady American CIA operative of the evangelical far-right. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister’s personal private secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.
Three years later, a disgraced Special Forces Soldier delivers a message from the dead. Was Operation Wildlife the success it was cracked up to be—or a human tragedy that was ruthlessly covered up? Summoned by Sir Christopher “Kit” Probyn, retired British diplomat, to his decaying Cornish manor house, and closely observed by Kit’s daughter, Emily, Toby must choose between his conscience and duty to his Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
chest microphone: ‘What have you done with him, Elliot? We thought Aladdin was too fat to lose.’ Delay and static over Don’s relay. Elliot’s querulous South African voice, low and fast: ‘There’re a couple of apartment blocks with covered car parks down there. Our reading is, he drove into one and came out by a different one. We’re searching.’ ‘So he knows you’re on him then’ – Jeb – ‘That’s not helpful, is it, Elliot?’ ‘Maybe he’s aware, maybe it’s habit. Kindly get off my
clapped-out second-hand family-sized tape recorder for cash. And somewhere along the way he must have stopped at a cashpoint, bought himself a copy of the day’s Observer, and also a carrier bag with a Union Jack on it, because the tape is nestling inside the bag between the pages of the newspaper. And probably he has already dropped in on two or three shops before he lucked out with Aziz, who has this brother in Hamburg whose line of business is shipping scrap electronic equipment to
‘Correct.’ ‘What an absolutely bloody filthy thing to do.’ ‘Yes. Wasn’t it?’ Toby agreed. In single file they returned to the house, Kit stomping ahead with Sheba and Toby trailing at a respectful distance. * Heads down, they sat at the long pine table drinking Kit’s best Burgundy and eating Mrs Marlow’s steak-and-kidney pie while Sheba watched covetously from her basket. It was beyond Kit’s powers to neglect his duties as a host, and Toby, whatever his faults might be,
impression he’d lost his train of thought and was having a spot of trouble getting it back. Know the feeling well.’ But in due course, good soldier that he is, Jeb braces himself, and digs in his pocket and hands over the bedroom key. Kit gets up from the bed and puts on his jacket. ‘Cheese all right?’ Cheese will be fine, says Jeb. But plain mousetrap, he can’t handle blue. Kit thinks that’s all he’s got to say, but he’s mistaken. Jeb needs to make a mission statement before Kit goes
and regrets that parting with Jeb’s mother’s number is not, in the circumstances, something she is able to do. She rings off. Kit on fire. With Suzanna looking on in approving silence, he dials 1471 and establishes that the caller withheld her number. He calls Enquiries, gets himself put through to Ruislip General Hospital, asks for the mental-health wing, asks for Dr Costello. The male nurse couldn’t be more helpful: ‘Dr Costello’s attending a course, mate, back next week.’