John le Carre was born in 1931. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a wide reputation which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. His other novels include The Constant Gardener, Absolute Friends and The Mission Song. A Most Wanted Man is his twentieth novel.
This 1965 novel is one of le Carre's finest early works. When a bumbling British spy agency learns that the Soviets may have placed missiles in East Germany near the West German border, a Polish agent who was valuable during World War II is reactivated and sent on an ill-defined mission. With its emphasis less on espionage than on bureaucratic dissension, this title prefigures Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The best scenes are the few featuring George Smiley, le Carre's greatest creation, who views the events from afar with weary resignation. As always, Michael Jayston gives a masterly reading, slowing his cadences to underscore the humanity of the characters. VERDICT Highly recommended.-Michael -Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr., New York (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.