Goodreads synopsis: At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities – about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings – backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.
In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carre creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.
Now I think I’ve mentioned before that I like to read the book before seeing the tv or film adaptations, but in this case it was the other way around. I read this book after seeing the BBC adaptation starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Coleman. I ended up very much enjoying both of them. This was my first book by this author and it won’t be the last. While there was many similar things between the two, there are also quite a few differences. One of my favourite things about this book was the atmosphere created – throughout reading you become more paranoid because you don’t really know who to trust. The suspense is just done very well. The twists and turn keep you guessing throughout and it is a pleasure to read it all unfold. Another great aspect of this book is the characters. John le Carre is wonderful at created these complex characters that are all so interesting. I love that the protagonists is a morally ambiguous hero – he has a dark past and finds himself in over his head. I like that this is set in the real world of complicated morals – nothing is black or white, but many different shades of good and bad (if that makes sense). His writing and the amount of detail can make it a little slow to read and possible drag you down abit, but it also adds alot to the atmosphere and the characters. I think I’ve mentioned before in other reviews that I am not particularly bothered by slower pacing so for me it wasn’t much of an issue. A minor issue I had, especially in the first part of the book, was the shift in chronology – it wouldn’t always be clearly done, so I had some issues keeping track of everything. Once you reach around the mid point of the book things get a little clearer, so keep going if you struggle initially.
I will say if you are not a fan of ambiguity and obscure endings, than this may not be the type of book for you. I found it that the BBC TV show changed the ambiguity to have a more happy ending. I guess because that is what viewers prefer. Having watched the TV show first, I was surprised by the ambiguous ending, but I think it really works with this novel. Normally I hate inconclusive endings (I like to know what happens), but I liked it in this book. I think it worked so much better for this spy thriller, in a way it makes it more realistic. Everything doesn’t always finish in a happy ending, however depressing that is.
Overall this is a wonderful spy thriller with amazing characters and engaging plot. There are definitely some parts that are slow and convoluted, but stick with it as it is well worth a read. Let me know if you’ve read this and what you thought of it. I feel like this had been quite a short review but there is only so much you can say without spoiling anything – hopefully that is OK for you guys. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.