A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carré

‘A Most Wanted Man’ is an incredibly sad novel and a terrible reflection on what the War in Terror has done to many people, innocent and guilty. Le Carré’s cynicism illustrates how easy it is for someone to be branded a terrorist based on their religion, nationality, or just the people they talk to.

A young Chechan Muslim named Issa is smuggled into Hamburg. He has spent time in prisons and been tortured. His Russian father (a vicious criminal) amassed a fortune while he was alive and this money is held in a private British Bank in Hamburg. Issa has inherited this tainted fortune.

A Turkish family takes pity on the bedraggled Issa and takes him into their home. But they are worried that association with an illegal immigrant will affect their own status. They contact an organisation what looks after illegal immigrants and the case is assigned to a young lawyer named Annabel Richter.

An earlier client of Annabel’s was deported to almost certain death and she sees Issa as an opportunity to make amends.

60 year old banker Tommy Brue would like to get rid of the tainted money. After one look at Annabel he would do almost anything to help her.

But the authorities have already spotted Issa. Groups from Germany, Britain and America put together a grand plan to use Issa to implicate another suspected terrorist. They manipulate anyone and everyone (Annabel, Tommy and the Turkish family) to achieve their plans. But the three different groups aren’t necessarily reading from the same script.

The ending is a perfect illustration of the paranoia that exists in the age of the War on Terror.


This was a much easier read than some of the other Le Carré novels. The plot was excellent and the story was brilliantly told but some sections did drag a bit. As with many Le Carré novels I was left with many questions and I went on thinking about the story long after I finished the book.


Book Published 2008


See a full list of books by John Le Carré

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Le Carré, John, Spy, Thriller

Comments are closed.