A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man

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Most Wanted Man 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading the first few lines of THE MOST WANTED MAN by John LeCarre, the setting is not only clearly revealed, it represents a sinister sense of foreboding. Hamburg, Germany, is the background against which the story is juxtaposed. Some readers may be tipped off by this choice of location, where at least six of the 9/11 terrorists, including Mohammed Atta were undisturbed in plotting their attack. Here a young Muslim man claims to be the son and heir to a fortune, makes clandestine contact with a Turkish family and as more people are drawn into his circle the tension rises. Nothing is as it seems and few of the characters are who they say they say are. A MOST WANTED MAN is a complex, suspenseful and riveting book. John Le Carre takes a dim view on the world of global politics and those who partake in the secret meetings and wholesale agreements that lead to more human carnage, whether in ruining lives or ending them. All of the characters are on edge. No one knows who to trust. But big decisions have to be made and whose moral standards will shape the outcome? But those who have read Le Carre's enormous body of work know that even at 75 years of age, he could never let his fans down. In A MOST WANTED MAN teh author may have had to change the backdrop but he still write with pristine prose and captures the human condition in its most realistic configurations. This remains his strongest creations writing gift. And, he has always made 'it' so real.
Bryan_Cassiday_author More than 1 year ago
I'm not going to make any bones about "A Most Wanted Man." It's one of le Carre's best works to date.

Le Carre continues to run rings around other writers in the espionage thriller field. Whereas most of these writers feel compelled to espouse their political views at the expense of story and character and to mortgage their talent to their PC publishers who have political axes to grind, le Carre remains objectively bent on telling a well-crafted, well-written story.

Other, lesser, writers, propagandists essentially, may fume and pontificate on their soapboxes about their political weltanschauungs in preachy novels that masquerade as thrillers. Le Carre, however, doesn't permit his political biases to interfere with his art. This is especially true in "A Most Wanted Man," which is more a novel than it is a thriller in the sense that there isn't much action in it. It's a novel about lies, manipulation, and doulble-dealing in the spy game, where the innocent and the guilty become caught up in an internecine clandestine political imbrogilo beyond their control.

--Bryan Cassiday, author of "Fete of Death"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The city of Hamburg in Germany has unknowingly harbored many terrorist groups in the past. The people of Hamburg believe that everyone should be treated with respect and trust until they break that trust. This is why terrorists seem attracted to the city. If they do not cause any problems, then they are not questioned, just smiled at and helped. This is the basis for A Most Wanted Man, written by John le Carre.
John le Carre does an excellent job describing the city, characters, and motives in this novel. He uses extreme detail to paint a vivid picture of the situation in the mind of the reader. This talent as writer is very helpful to readers because confusing and complex situations are broken down and explained so that the reader may better understand the storyline.
A Most Wanted Man provokes the mind of the reader and touches on a subject that many people do not fully understand, terrorism. The main character, Issa, is a Chechen fugitive who finds refuge with a family in the city of Hamburg. He states that his main purpose for traveling to the city is to become a doctor, but the German authorities think otherwise. The authorities of Hamburg and even the American CIA accuse Issa of being a terrorist, so Issa is forced to live in an attic for his safety. As the story develops it becomes clear that Issa is not a terrorist, but rather a person who escaped his homeland because of persecution and torture. This is a very interesting and important part of the story that really shaped my opinion of Issa as a reader. The ability to make a reader identify and feel sympathy for a fugitive in Germany is a real skill that John le Carre possesses. Even though the customs, religions, and mannerisms of Issa seem to be foreign to mainstream America, John le Carre makes it very easy to become emotionally attached to the character.
A Most Wanted Man is a great read. The book is full of suspense and thought provoking situations that come together to create a controversial plot for the reader to take a moral stance on. This novel is great for anyone who is looking for a storyline that is current and has very believable characters. This is the first book I have read by John le Carre but certainly not the last. He has a talent for connecting the reader with the characters and has a unique ability to describe situations in extreme, but not boring, detail.
Toros More than 1 year ago
Within the first few pages, I knew I would enjoy this book. Le Carre demonstrates once again his mastery of fiction based on reality, his ability to incorporate current events and contemporary fears into his novels, his wonderful talent at exploring character. There are major events, events of global significance going on in and around this story, but he manages to keep the reader focused on a few people, a few real, flawed people, keeps you wanting to know - who are they, what are they capable of, why do they do this? These are the kinds of characters I wish I could create in my writing. This is the kind of story telling that, as far as I am concerned, makes Le Carre one of the best writers alive today. Cheers to you, John.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The post 9/11 world has been a place of fear and uncertainty. No one can be trusted and no chances can be taken. People are on a constant search for suspicious behavior. All of these things describe the mood within A Most Wanted Man. John le Carré tells a story of an Islamist, Issa, who had recently escaped confinement and made his way to Hamburg, Germany, the place where most of the planning of the 9/11 attacks were planned. At that time, they could plan their violent attacks in peace. This can not be said for the present day.
The moment Issa steps foot in Germany, every move he makes his carefully watched. His innocence at first is murky, but those who truly discover who he is, clearly see his innocence. Those who do their work from a distance still do not trust him. He is religiously devout and would never harm a fly, but because of his race and his questionable past, he is held on a tight leash.
John le Carré develops a theme of not judging those who you do not know. Every character in the novel seems to have a story unknown to the rest of the characters. Not one character can be summarized in a couple of sentences because they are all so elaborate. In order for the true nature of any one character to be revealed, the whole story must be read. This is, for the most part, makes this an amazing read. Characters are no longer characters but real people. You can actually identify with those within the story. You start to feel for those in the book and when it comes to an end, you will just sit and ponder. Ponder the quality of humans in general. That is what makes this book. It shows how people can come together for a common cause, but in the same story show the darker side of human nature.
This book is the definition of suspense. The purpose of the entire book is to figure out why Issa is in Germany, allow him to get his money from a local bank, and to see what kind of connections they can find between Issa and Islamic terrorists. A complex plan is devised and ninety eight percent of the book is just the lead up to the execution of it. I just wanted to keep reading even when my eyes were heavy. It is such a great build up and the end just leaves you shocked.
The way in which the story is told also makes this and interesting read. The story is told by various points of view. At times there is a sort of omniscient point of view, allowing you to get a glimpse of everyone¿s true thoughts. The story is also told from the view of Tommy Brue (the bank owner), Frau Richter (Issa¿s lawyer), and Bachman (works for law enforcement). The only person not really open to the reader is Issa. The only way to judge his character is by his interactions with the others. This allows the reader to form his own opinions about who Issa really is. The voice of the piece also tends to include ludicrous amounts of detail. The settings and the emotions of the characters are always fully developed. This also allows for some confusion. Le Carré sometimes gives so much detail that he ventures off course with tangents that could be excluded from the story.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes suspense and a book with intricate relationships. It is a great read that makes you feel a sort of attachment to the seemingly real characters. This book had me wanting more after I put it down. I will not be surprised if I pick up another novel by John le Carré sometime soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all his books and this was no dissapointment, loved it and would recommend it to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a fan of le Carre, I think this is one of his very best. But if you didn't like his prior novels, there is nothing here so different as to change your mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want Ludlum, read Ludlum. This is LeCarre.
ms-s-smith More than 1 year ago
I haven't read one of his books for many years and now I remember why. The first half of the book is a very slow read with so much filler information on his people that boredom recovery becomes the main objective when you put it down. He is the king of side stories that add nothing extra to the plot.
bookjunkieWB More than 1 year ago
Not quite the peak of the Smiley novels, but a very timely plot that allows LeCarre to revisit the espionage territory he does so well and the more universal issues of the deceptions, including self-deceptions, that we all use in daily life, and the inability of even highly intelligent and competent individuals to avoid the tide of history and forces larger than themselves.
C_from_Caracas More than 1 year ago
Another thrilling story from LeCarré, one of the masters when story-telling is appealing
nuee More than 1 year ago
Issa is indeed wanted; too bad he doesn't know what he wants. LeCarré, once again, takes us on a journey of bad people and worse people with one or two almost good ones tagging along. And always a victim that will bounce among them with skeptical hope. A wonderful read with one of best LeCarré 'gotcha' endings.
Frisbeesage More than 1 year ago
A Most Wanted Man is a spy novel extraordaire with themes more relevant to today's issues then most other thrillers I've read. Highlighting the war on terror and they way it has altered rationality, this is a book that should hit close to home for anyone. Issa, a young Russian with horrific scars, comes mysteriously to be in Hamberg. A devout Muslim, he is quickly under suspcion from all sides. Annabel, a young German lawyer is determind to prevent the government from deporting him and she drags a wealthy British banker into her cause. It's a game of cat and mouse as the rival spies try to find proof of Issa's terrorist connections.
I listened to this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. John le Carre reads the book himself, and he does a good job of it. I found the plot to be frighteningly plausible. I liked the main characters and especially enjoyed the relationships between Issa, Annabelle, and Tommy Brue. This is a book peopled with realistic people caught in unimaginably terrifying circumstances!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very dynamic and thoughts provoking, captivating novel. Hard to read (or listen) in bits and pieces- need to allocate quite a chunk of time ( I missed my bus stop to work).
Anonymous 4 months ago
LeCarre has done for the spy novel singlehandedly what Hammett and Chandler did for the private eye novel, that is dragged a genre into real literature . This is another example of just that.
ChickLitFan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was tough for me to get through, and the end was unrewarding. The story starts slow, introducing many characters, including intelligence workers from multiple governments, most of whom are trying to deceive each other. Around the halfway point, my interest engaged and took hold in the developing plot. Although I gave up on tracking the many peripheral characters, I was invested in finding out what happened to the central three characters. I was disappointed, then, that the ending came very abruptly, literally leaving some of the protaganists out on the street. There was no epilogue following up on these characters, so I was left still wanting to know what was going to happen to these people. This is the only book by Le Carre that I have read; I have heard others are better. I recommend skipping this one.
Doondeck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
le Carre always shows the darkest side of the espionage business. No different in this work exploring the intelligence agencies activities in the so-called war on terror.
Parthurbook on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There's a fine line between 'meticulous detail' and 'ponderous' which le Carre (at least for me) has always straddled. This novel of 'war-on-terror' spycraft is no exception, building tension very slowly, while examining the multiple shades of grey in a black-and-white world. It's great strength is the examination of cultural differences between nations trying to right wrongs. Interesting, studied and methodical - if not wildly entertaining.
jreeder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This troubling story deals with the limits of modern spy craft as it applies to finding and bringing terrorists to justice. Innocent people are falsely accused and the cascade of frightening events sweep others into a snare set by a multi-national anti-terrorist team.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
John Le Carre turns his still considerable literary and story-telling talents to the `war on terror' in his latest work. Set in Germany, a middle-aged ex-pat English private banker and a young idealistic left-wing lawyer form an unlikely alliance to help a somewhat mysterious illegal Chechen Muslim refugee when he turns up in ill-fated Hamburg. The Chechen has come to claim `black' bank account from the British banker with the aid of the lawyer. Their efforts quickly come under the eye of various counter-intelligence agencies: German, British, and US. Each agency has its own agenda in dealing with the trio. Le Carre does a nice job describing the nuances of the agencies' various modes, motivations, and interactions. One group of German agents, the good cops, wants to use the banker, the lawyer, and the Chechen (and the Chechen's money) to compromise and turn a prominent Muslim doctor with suspicious ties. The others, especially the Americans, have other ideas. Le Carre also creates an intriguing ambiguity as to who or what the Chechen really is. Is he a terrorist? A hapless victim? Likewise, with regard to Dr. Abdullah - is he a legitimate conduit for channeling money to leading Muslim charities or is he knowingly directing part of the funds to nefarious ends? I found the story less than compelling at times - in a word, put-down-able (if that is a word). The motivations of the banker and to a lesser extent, the lawyer to take huge risks are not entirely convincing. But then LeCarre has never really produced page-turners. The interplay of the anti-terror cops with one another and their victims (no other word for it, really) leading to the sudden and the powerfully disturbing denouement - a sickening kick to the stomach made all the more distressing by its realism - compensate for any shortcomings. Not on a level with Smiley's People, but much better than many of his post-Cold War offerings. Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.
frisbeesage on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Most Wanted Man is a spy novel extraordaire with themes more relevant to today's issues then most other thrillers I've read. Highlighting the war on terror and they way it has altered rationality, this is a book that should hit close to home for anyone. Issa, a young Russian with horrific scars, comes mysteriously to be in Hamberg. A devout Muslim, he is quickly under suspcion from all sides. Annabel, a young German lawyer is determind to prevent the government from deporting him and she drags a wealthy British banker into her cause. It's a game of cat and mouse as the rival spies try to find proof of Issa's terrorist connections. I listened to this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. John le Carre reads the book himself, and he does a good job of it. I found the plot to be frighteningly plausible. I liked the main characters and especially enjoyed the relationships between Issa, Annabelle, and Tommy Brue. This is a book peopled with realistic people caught in unimaginably terrifying circumstances!
KevinJoseph on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
John le Carre bases A Most Wanted Man on a most unlikely premise. To depict the extent of Western xenophobia and scapegoating spawned by 9/11, he chooses to set this spy novel not in the country that was struck by the terrorists, or in the nations targeted by the ensuing War on Terror, but in the country that served as a way station for several key 9/11 terrorists. Hamburg, Germany, a city known for its openness to foreigners, is infiltrated by a fractured young man from Chechnya who may (or may not) pose the next grave threat to Western civilization. Young Issa's improbable entry into Germany, tenuous connection to Islamic radicals, and inherited right to a large secret bank account held by British-owned Brue Freres, place him in the crosshairs of German, British and United States intelligence agencies, each with its own mysterious agenda. When young civil rights attorney Annabel petitions bank owner Tommy Brue to release the secret funds and help protect Issa from deportation, Annabel and Tommy find themselves caught up in a multi-layered plot that tests their willingness to sacrifice their reputations and livelihoods for the benefit of this enigmatic young man. A Most Wanted Man succeeds not only as a sophisticated spy thriller, but also as a nuanced character study, provocative political commentary, and thoughtful examination of what it really means to be a moral human being. The writing is fluid throughout, and the well-constructed plot builds suspense even in the absence of violent action. The ending, though, left me with the impression that le Carre wound this tale so tightly that it jammed up at the climax and could not release properly. When this gets made into a movie, as seems to be the case with most of le Carre's books, the screen writer's challenge will be to devise a more fitting resolution to this fantastic build-up.
Clara53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A page-turner, as most of his books.
idiotgirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audiobook. Interesting that LeCarre is moving into the post 9-11 world of terrorism. As always, it was a good read. In the end this one seemed to have a political point for the ending. That did disappoint me. I am interested in LeCarre because he engages political issues and writes complex psychological narratives. This book just didn't quite work for me and so disappointed.
ggarfield on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Moral and financial complexities permeate this novel which carries with it a biting commentary on western foreign policy and particularly that of America. A follow the money journey through an archipelago of global banks both large and small who are subtly connected to vaguely named charitable organizations. Here too is the classic spy story, but it carries the more raw and violent edge of the post 9/11 era. One of the book¿s main characters; the steely, ruthless and indefatigable German spy chief Gunther Bachman states ¿we are not policemen, we are spies. We do not arrest our targets. We develop them and redirect them at bigger targets. When we identify a network, we watch it, we listen to it, we penetrate it and by degrees we control it. Arrests are of negative value.¿ And in the shadows there is the suggestion that we ¿shake-down¿ and torture too and this has a decidedly more sinister and edgy feel than the interrogation of Bill Hayden of yesteryear. The reader gains a comprehension of the chronic paranoia which spawns the evil shadows in the closet sense of things (or not) which, in turn generates the motivation behind the actions of three western spy agencies in this story. This becomes a study in moral complexity, fear and policy. Do these agencies and their people become a monster in pursuit of one? If a person is 95% good and 5% bad does that make them all bad? Mostly good? Bachman describes what 5% ¿bad¿ means in the real world when the author paraphrases his thought by saying that the public is protected from having to grapple with the dilemma which he concludes is the ¿slaughterhouse blood washing over your toe caps, and the hundred percent dead scattered in five percent bits over a square kilometer of the town square (presumably from a suicide bomber).¿ 5% bad might lead to 100% dead being the inference. And so the psychology becomes amplified and finds itself to action and policy. So accustomed to their paranoia are they that truth becomes obscured. Maddening. Bachman wrestles with this dilemma; but the classic LeCarre character Mr. Tommy Brue and the German civil rights lawyer who defends the protagonist do even more so. Where does this leave us? Finally the reader is clear that the book¿s protagonist, Issa, is (or might be) innocent but nonetheless has been sucked into the maelstrom of American lead extraordinary rendition and spying and this leaves the reader hanging. What is to become of Issa? We realize that the story might continue in some Egyptian or Syrian torture chamber and that there are many stories just like it and that justice has very well been compromised and perverted OR has it?This is as close to the ¿old LeCarre¿ as I¿ve seen among his most recent novels. It harkens back to the moral complexity and haunting questions of the Karla trilogy, or The Spy Who Came in From the Cold or The Night Manager. It¿s very good, but it just squeaks into 5 star territory well behind of the aforementioned. It leaves me wrestling with a lot of important questions which out live the reading of the book. And that, I suspect, is the point. It is also what makes it so good and worthy of just getting into the 5 star zone for me.