I just finished John Le Carre’s A Most Wanted Man, his latest novel. Le Carre has found a new canvas – the Jihad and the blundering of the intelligence community. In my view, this is one of his best in the post-Smiley era. My personal top three would include this book along with The Russia House and The Constant Gardener.

A key element of Le Carre in the post-Smiley era has been the clear focus on the people and lesser importance given to the tradecraft of the intelligence community. The characters have a more deeper and more human personification. There is more to read about how each character is thinking. It was there earlier too but there were fair number of pages devoted to tradecraft.

A Most Wanted Man continues this. Who is a terrorist? And who is killing for a just cause? The lines are blurred. There’s a British private banker who discovers that not all the funds he has are being used or were used for legitimate purposes. There is a lawyer who does not want to believe that her client can be anything but a victim. There are spooks who want to remove anyone with even the slightest of “Islamic” tradition in their life. There are governments, allies in the “war on terror”, who don’t trust each other.

As in Le Carre’s novels in the past, there is no winner or losers. There are victims who move from one state of being to another. There are political winners, winners because of their self-proclaimed righteousness and dedication to their “war on terror”.

I suppose a film based on this book would be coming soon.

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