Friday, August 02, 2013
A Delicate Truth by John LeCarre
In "A Delicate Truth" Cornwell mines the most current situation, which involves using private contractors to do work that used to be done by intelligence agencies. Since it's a lucrative field, corruption lurks in the background and cover-up can be the outcome, especially if something goes wrong. It does. The resulting desire to do the right thing, which often depends on your point of view, propels a ripping good yarn that I think is one of his best.
The author's use of the English class consciousness and old boy network can be grating to an American reader, but it feels real. His disdain for the CIA and apparently Americans in general may at least stem partially from working with those folks during the late '50s and '60's when the CIA did a lot of government overthrow but was less successful in actually gathering secret data and making good analysis. In fairness, the English had their share of spies high in their MI6 who were working for the USSR, so nobody comes out clean in reviewing the history of espionage. If you like that clear eyed view of the genre, then read this book.