A Delicate Truth by John le Carre Review


Reviewed by Amanda Hayes

The book is based around politics and political agenda, a subject area I know very little about and yet I still found it an interesting and compelling read. It starts off fairly slowly to become a book where you can’t wait to turn every page to find out the ending. It’s based around four main characters, the Minister of Defence; Fergus Quinn, the Ministers private secretary; Toby Bell; Ex Soldier; Jeb and retired Diplomat; Kit Probyn, alias Paul.

The conspiracy starts in 2008 with the Defence Minister, Fergus, getting involved with an extraordinary rendition in Gibraltar with an American Private defence company called Ethical outcomes, who we soon find out are not very ethical at all. Kit Probyn is brought as the Ministers contact on the ground, given a briefing, told he is now called Paul and shipped off with Jeb and his team to Gibraltar. Kit goes willingly as he is led to believe that he is stopping counter terrorism. The story follows them but is vague about what actually happens there and the reader is left unsure of the outcome. After the operation is finished he is told it was a great success, and not only sent to a posting in the Caribbean with his wife, is also knighted for his good work. Its years later that he finds out that his posting was just to keep him quiet as all he was told both pre and post operation was a lie and ended in lives being lost.

The Ministers private secretary; Toby Bell, meanwhile becomes suspicious of his bosses dealings with Ethical Outcomes and after making enquiries through other ministers decides to make a secret tape recording of their meeting. This comes to play later in the book when Toby and Kit meet up and decide to expose what went on out in Gibraltar. Fergus in turn becomes suspicious of Toby and posts him quickly off to Beirut. Kit ends up retiring to Cornwall with his wife & daughter and its here that he meets up with a very bitter Jeb again. Jeb tries to convince Kit, the man he only knows as Paul, that the operation was a disaster and people ended up getting hurt but at the start Kit doesn’t believe him. An unknown man turning up from nowhere and calling him Paul, fuels serious interest from his family as to who Paul is and what he has done in the past. His wife then pushes him to find out the truth. He subsequently arranges to meet Jeb but Jeb doesn’t show, and so Kit contacts Toby and they join forces.

Jeb meanwhile has apparently been committed to a secure mental unit with no visiting rights, this of course is another lie and the pair set out to find Jeb and the truth. Unfortunately wherever they turn no one wants to hear the truth and the book speeds to a conclusion hitting brick walls as it goes.

A very good read, give this book a try even if like me you thought the subject matter was not for you.

Rating: 4.5/5

RRP: £8.99 (Paperback) / £4.99 (Kindle)

Available to buy from Amazon here.

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