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The Mission Song
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Promotional Information

In an historic year for John le Carre, Hodder & Stoughton are proud to announce the publication of THE MISSION SONG.

About the Author

John le Carre was born in 1931. His recent novels include ABSOLUTE FRIENDS, SINGLE & SINGLE (for which he was described as 'the essential voice of our time' by the Daily Telegraph) and THE CONSTANT GARDENER. THE MISSION SONG is his twentieth novel.

Reviews

A callow young interpreter stumbles upon a nasty plot and ends up courting danger from London to Congo to an island off Denmark. Everyone's reading mission this fall. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

'This thriller exhibits his familiar strengths: superbly realised characters; a succession of knockout scenes nobody else could produce; and a distinctive ability to fuse social comedy and moral anger. Admirable too, is THE MISSION SONG's sense of adventure, as it sees the author switching, perhaps for the first time, from his usual third-person to first person narration. Mesmerising.' -- John Dugdale, Sunday Times 20060917 'THE MISSION SONG, like his last but one novel, THE CONSTANT GARDENER, is partly set in Africa and is equally as prescient about African current affairs. You always sense, indeed, that le Carre knows something we, the readers, don't - a useful conceit for an author. It is partly to do with his attention to detail. It is also to do with the ambiguous moral centre his work often has, that and his contemporary resonance. I imagine this is the first time that le Carre has been mentioned in the same breath at Updike and Roth. They, after all, are Literary Novelists with a capital L and N, whereas Le Carre is ... well. what is he? Actually he is sui generis. Or, rather, he is his own genre. Quite an achievement that.' -- Nigel Farndale, Sunday Telegraph 20060917 'Most of us believe what we are told most of the time; that's normal. And most of the time, we are right to do so. But not in John le Carre's world. There, to be normal is to be hopelessly naive, for everything you are told could be, and probably is, a lie. THE MISSION SONG is meticulously researched, and the tricks and tactics of being a top interpreter are convincingly rendered. You're left with the uncomfortable feeling that perhaps politicians, journalists, civil servants and the businessmen really are the lying, amoral bastards portrayed here. Perhaps it isn't only in le Carre's world, but in the real world too, that we're unwise to believe what we are told.' -- Brandon Robshaw, Independent on Sunday 20060917 'Settings may vary and the personnel change, but the moral landscape of John le Carre's novels remains much the same; personal integrity hedged about on all sides by deceit. Bruno Salvador, the hero of le Carre's 20th novel is a 28 year old interpreter. Like many a le Carre hero before him, Bruno is trying to be something he isn't, a character strung between two different sets of loyalties. Bold, vigorous and extremely funny.' -- John Preston, Evening Standard 20060918 'I think it's very good. Some of the old le Carre ingredients are in there. It's a very angry book. It seems to be a novel that goes for post-colonialism in the same way he used to go for the Cold War. The epigraph, for instance, from Heart of Darkness" (he quotes) he doesn't just, as it were, recycle Conrad, he takes a hero who does have a flatter nose and a different complexion. It's very funny.' -- John Sutherland, 'Front Row', BBC Radio 4 20060918 'A pretty amazing body of work, it struck me, 20 books. You look back, and I don't think he'll ever get the Nobel Prize, but you could make a case for it I suspect, given what he's written about geopolitics over 45 years.' -- Mark Lawson, 'Front Row', BBC Radio 4 20060918 'The Mission Song", his twentieth novel, is one of his tautest works, harking back to the lean thrillers he wrote in the early l960s. It is a fast-paced and entertaining book. Le Carre has constructed another one of his meticulous plots that satisfies in terms of theme, suspense and style. One is delighted by its satire, and moved by its insistence on the importance of doubt and the necessity of choosing responsibly at every moment. These were Kierkegaard's themes, and John le Carre's fiction has always aimed at Fear and Trembling".' -- Times Literary Supplement 20060918 'le Carre shows no sign of slowing up or losing touch.' -- Spectator on THE MISSION SONG 20060918 'The connection between Western consumption and African death lies at the heart of this novel. It is a thriller with the potential to educate readers not otherwise interested in global politics.' -- David Dabydeen, Independent 20060918 'This, his 20th novel, is certainly not in the same vein as its immedate predecessors, the magnificent ABSOLUTE FRIENDS or the equally impressive THE CONSTANT GARDENER, though there are echoes of both those novels in the frailties his characters display. Exquisitely crafted, with Salvo's agonised grappling with his troubled conscience working as the spine to the story, and the details of the conversations among the plotters about how to divide up the Congo are positively chilling.' -- Geoffrey Wansell, Daily Mail 20060918 'Le Carre is an exceptional writer who knows exactly how to balance a thriller with a political missive. This is entertainment of the highest order.' -- Henry Sutton, Daily Mirror 20060918 'Part of the intention of this ambitious novel is to marry suspense with a quasi-comic allegory about intelligence in the age of the Internet, but still, to an exceptional degree,THE MISSION SONGis as angry about the exploitation of Africa as THE CONSTANT GARDENER, as polemical about multinational greed, as prescient about Congo's blood-crazed militias, and as passionate as any of his recent novels about Western duplicity. The exposure of Salvo's innocence drives the plot with remorseless energy to a haunting resolution. Le Carre's eye is undimmed, his passion for his craft as strong as it ever was. He delivers a tale that few could equal and none will surpass. In THE MISSION SONG , he has made the heart of darkness his own. If Salvo is not Marlow, the good news is that his master's voice is as strong and compelling as ever.' -- Robert McCrum, The Observer 20060918 'A formidably sophisticated work of fiction, full of energy, rage and great humour. All the qualities for which le Carre's fiction has been admired - his descriptive powers, his electrifying dialogue, his cynicism in the presence of coporate greed and government power - are visible in THE MISSION SONG. That this great English novelist continues to produce work of this calibre with such frequency is simply astonishing.' -- Charles Cumming, Mail on Sunday 20060918 'It's terrifically fierce and pacy stuff by the 74-year-old, still cynical after all these years' -- Evening Standard 20060918 'With the end of the cold war, le Carre has had to broaden his horizons, and Africa, in its turmoil, has given him exactly the landscape he needs to continue writing superior thrillers.' -- The Times 20060918 'le Carre shows no sign of letting up. In his latest novel, narrated in the first person, he returns to Africa, the continent whose plight he dramatised so brilliantly in THE CONSTANT GARDENER. There is real anger lurking beneath the surface of the story. As always with le Carre, the personal and the political are effortlessly intertwined.' -- Daily Telegraph 20060918 'THE MISSION SONG grips from the off. This is a thrillingly dynamic read, better than the engaging THE CONSTANT GARDENER, full of rage at the greed of the establishment and sorrow for the people of the Congo, and packed with horribly credible characters.' -- Guardian 20060918 'As a tale of conscience gasping for air, THE MISSION SONG is hugely successful. Even in its more reflective moments it bowls you along with efficiency and grace. It is chillingly persuasive.' -- Independent on Sunday 20060918 'Le Carre, 75, writes THE MISSION SONG from the standpoint of a 29-year-old - and pulls it off. I believed in Bruno Salvador. I believed in his eagerness to please authority and rail against it at the same time. I believed in his naivety and bravery. I believed him when he said he was in and out of love.Our society is obsessed with trying to disguise the ageing process, but, when itcomes to literature the young are trying to be old. But they are at a disadvantage; writers such as le Carre will wipe the floor with them every time.' -- Alyson Rudd, The Times 20060918 'A haunting and inspiring story, full of humour, poetry and a fine sense of the macabre.' **** -- Observer 20060918 'Le Carre's eye is undimmed, his passion for his craft as strong as it ever was. He delivers a tale that few could equal and none will surpass.' -- Observer 'THE MISSION SONG is meticulously researched, and the tricks and tactics of being a top interpreter are convincingly rendered. You're left with the uncomfortable feeling that perhaps politicians, journalists, civil servants and the businessmen really are the lying, amoral bastards portrayed here. Perhaps it isn't only in le Carre's world, but in the real world too, that we're unwise to believe what we are told.' -- Independent on Sunday 20060917 'It is a fast-paced and entertaining book. Le Carre has constructed another one of his meticulous plots that satisfies in terms of theme, suspense and style. One is delighted by its satire, and moved by its insistence on the importance of doubt and the necessity of choosing responsibly at every moment.' -- Times Literary Supplement 20060917 'le Carre shows no sign of slowing up or losing touch.' -- Spectator on THE MISSION SONG 20060917 'I imagine this is the first time that le Carre has been mentioned in the same breath at Updike and Roth. They, after all, are Literary Novelists with a capital L and N, whereas Le Carre is ... well. what is he? Actually he is sui generis. Or, rather, he is his own genre. Quite an achievement that.' -- Sunday Telegraph 20060917 'Exquisitely crafted' -- Daily Mail 20060917 'A literary master for a generation' -- Observer on ABSOLUTE FRIENDS 20060917 'Complex, often sardonically funny, always galvanically written. In fact his best book in years' -- Daily Express on ABSOLUTE FRIENDS 20060917 'Richly detailed, full of righteous fire to offset its desperate prognosis, THE CONSTANT GARDENER is a very impressive piece of work.' -- The Times Literary Supplement 20060917 'A page-turner which reminds us that the master storyteller of the Smiley books has lost none of his cunning' -- Daily Mail on THE CONSTANT GARDENER 20060917 'Another classic narrative. Nobody writing today manipulates suspense better. Nobody constructs a more tantalisingly complex plot. A powerful, moving novel that stands with le Carre's best. It is, in other words, essential reading' -- Sunday Telegraph on THE CONSTANT GARDENER 20060917 'This thriller exhibits his familiar strengths: superbly realised characters; a succession of knockout scenes nobody else could produce; and a distinctive ability to fuse social comedy and moral anger ... Mesmerising.' -- Sunday Times 20060917 'Bold, vigorous and extremely funny.' -- Evening Standard 20060917 'I think it's very good' -- John Sutherland, 'Front Row', BBC Radio 4 20060917 'A formidably sophisticated work of fiction, full of energy, rage and great humour. All the qualities for which le Carre's fiction has been admired - his descriptive powers, his electrifying dialogue, his cynicism in the presence of coporate greed and government power - are visible in THE MISSION SONG. That this great English novelist continues to produce work of this calibre with such frequency is simply astonishing.' -- Charles Cumming, Mail on Sunday 20060917

Bruno Salvo, the illegitimate son of an Irish missionary father and a Congolese mother, is one of le Carre's most interesting lead characters-and one of the most difficult for an actor to bring to life using just his voice. Fortunately, Oyelowo, a veteran of everything from televised comedy to live Shakespeare, has the ability to quickly catch and transmit to listeners the many elements of Bruno's essence in this moving and surprisingly amusing audio version of arguably the author's least typical novel. Oyelowo never falters in presenting the many other characters who flesh out the story, from the Roman mentor who shapes the orphaned Bruno's future as a professional interpreter of African tribal languages to the British intelligence agents who eventually recruit him. Oyelowo positively shines with recognizable truth as he shrewdly recreates Bruno's growing awareness of the power this knowledge gives him-personally, politically and socially. It would be difficult for any other actor, even one with more star power, to take Bruno Salvo into film or television without us hearing Oyelowo's voice in our heads while we watch. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, July 31). (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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