A Delicate Truth by John Le Carré

It’s always exciting when a new John Le Carré novel is published, and ‘A Delicate Truth’ was an excellent example of the post-cold-war Le Carré books. It contained lots of examination of the morality of war and threw around of the current buzz phrases such as ‘war on terror’ (sometimes creating more terror) and ‘collateral damage’ (accidently killing off a few civilians).

In this story a very ambitious but fairly clueless British Foreign Minister teams up with a friend who is a private defence contractor. Their aim is to capture a jihadist arms dealer who is hiding in Gibraltar. The operation – known as Operation Wildlife, is so secret that the minister’s private secretary – Toby Bell is not even kept informed.

Operation Wildlife uses some Americans employed by the private contractor, some British Special Services soldiers and a British Diplomat – Kit (Sir Christopher) Probyn (chosen as a ‘low flyer’) to act as the minister’s eyes and ears on the ground. At its conclusion, Operation Wildlife is hailed as a huge success.

Now, three years later, one of the special Services soldiers – Jeb is starting to tell a very different story. Both Kit and Toby get involved in trying to work out what really went on and the implications of staying silent or exposing the real story. Meanwhile, some at a high level are attempting to buy the silence of Jeb, Kit and Toby, or achieve their silence by any means possible.


I love reading Le Carré, even though I would probably need to read most of his books several times to fully understand them.

This book was no different and I’m hoping to re-read it in the not-too-distant future to grasp some of the more subtle points of the story. There are also quite a few of the more recent John Le Carré books that I haven’t read or have only read once, so I’m looking forward to spending many happy hours in a quiet corner with my thinking cap on.


Book Published 2013


See a full list of books by John Le Carré

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