701

Re: Last Book Read...

caractacus potts wrote:

this is getting to be the le Carre and/or Deighton thread! which is OK by me.

Well then, allow me to provide some variety. I'm currently a third of the way through Frederick Forsyth's The Odessa File. I'm enjoying it so far, I'll report back when I'm done.

702

Re: Last Book Read...

Golrush007 wrote:
caractacus potts wrote:

this is getting to be the le Carre and/or Deighton thread! which is OK by me.

Well then, allow me to provide some variety. I'm currently a third of the way through Frederick Forsyth's The Odessa File. I'm enjoying it so far, I'll report back when I'm done.

There was a pretty good Jon Voight film of that in the 70's.
Im starting Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

“The scent and smoke and sweat of a casino are nauseating at three in the morning. "
-Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

703

Re: Last Book Read...

Given how we all have some time on our hands, I've just started
When Eight Bells Toll by Alistair MacLean. I've seen the film many
times ( It's a favourite of mine ) but never read the book. So today
I downloaded the kindle version and am up to chapter three, so far
very enjoyable and interesting to see what didn't make it in to the
movie.

“God has given you one face, and you make yourself another"

704

Re: Last Book Read...

I'm re-reading " Dear Mom: A Sniper's Vietnam " by Joseph T. Ward.

705

Re: Last Book Read...

Breakout at Stalingrad by Heinrich Gerlach.

Gerlach was a lieutenant in the 14th Panzer Division at Stalingrad. He wrote this novel whilst in captivity in the USSR but it was confiscated by the Russians. Gerlach wrote a ‘remembered’ version in 1957 called The Forsaken Army and 55 years later this original was found in a Moscow archive...

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

706

Re: Last Book Read...

one good outcome of "working from home": I've been able to improve upon my normal average of reading four pages a day over morning coffee!
________________________________________
The Little Drummer Girl
le Carre

this is le Carre's first book not to feature Smiley or the Circus lurking in the background (except for A Small Town in Germany, and the Naive and Sentimental Lover, which were both over a decade ago). He's gotta move on to new characters.

This time we're following the adventures of the Israeli spymaster "Kurtz", and his latest recruit, the fashionably leftwing radical English stage actress Charlie. She starts off favouring the Palestinian cause, but once she is abducted by our heroes, is motivated by the challenge to her acting abilities to work secretly for the Israelis and infiltrate the refugee camps in Lebanon.
(I don't think the words MOSSAD or PLO are ever mentioned once?)
At least I think that's her motivation. We quickly learn Charlie is a habitual liar who believes her own lies, that why she's such a good actress, and she seems to have some void at the core of her identity that acting fulfills. And she already has been persuaded that Radical Action is the Theatre of the Real.
There is a lot of philosphising about the parallels between acting and spying, and as usual there are layers upon layers of deceit.

There is also a lot of globetrotting. Similar to the final 200pgs of the Honourable SchoolBoy. We see a lot of Greece and Germany and the English countryside, and most vivid of all, the lengthy journey through the refugee camps of Lebanon. Despite the heroes of the adventure being Israeli intelligence, it is the plight of the Palestinians le Carre wants us to remember.

SpoilerThis one has a happier ending than most le Carre's, which is a relief because I liked Charlie. At least she wasn't shot down in a hail of bullets on the last page like most le Carre heroes.
But she seems to be psychologically shattered. She has a nervous breakdown while back on stage in smalltown England, then wanders off into the night.
Does she even really see Joseph on the final page, or is that her overactive imagination finally leaving reality behind?

707

Re: Last Book Read...

The library is opening up again, sort of. It has bugged me that I didn't get to the library before so much closed, but it seems all hope isn't lost. Now I can order library books online. The library sends a meesage when the book is ready and tells me when to come and get it. A librarian comes out and hands me a plastic net with the book in it. Complicated, but I think it'll work.

708

Re: Last Book Read...

Thunderpussy wrote:

Given how we all have some time on our hands, I've just started
When Eight Bells Toll by Alistair MacLean. I've seen the film many
times ( It's a favourite of mine ) but never read the book. So today
I downloaded the kindle version and am up to chapter three, so far
very enjoyable and interesting to see what didn't make it in to the
movie.

I love the 60’s Alistair MacLean books they are brilliant!

I’m reading Time For The Stars by Robert Heinlein for the time since I was about 12! It’s classified as a juvenile book but it plays out very well for adult reading and I’m enjoying it immensely.

Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand.

709

Re: Last Book Read...

My reading over the last few weeks has been unusually eclectic - including Frederick Forsyth, Tennessee Williams and P.G. Wodehouse - but now I'm getting back into one of my favourite series of spy novels with London Rules by Mick Herron. I've read the first four books in this series and they've got better with each novel. Halfway through London Rules it seems that this trend continues because so far I'm enjoying this one even more than the previous four. I highly recommend this series to any spy fan. The first novel is Slow Horses, which introduces the ensemble cast of characters who inhabit Slough House, a department of MI5 where failed spooks are sent.

710

Re: Last Book Read...

Speaking of Sci-fi: These days I'm constantly reminded of Isac Asimov's classic short story from 1951 "The fun they had". With all this home schooling via the internet it seems prophetic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_cont … e=emb_logo

711

Re: Last Book Read...

I just finished reading Roger Moore's "007 Diaries" about the filming of LALD. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's humourous and provides great insights into the filming of the first Bond film I ever saw. A great light reading and makes me appreciate the film even more.

712

Re: Last Book Read...

I finished re-reading "Doctor No" this weekend. DN is simply one of the best Bond novels, a really great book  ajb007/bond
Now spring has finally kicked in and I'm re-reading the Quantum of Solace short story collection on the porch. If memory serves I prefer Octopussy and LTK. Life is good  ajb007/smile

713

Re: Last Book Read...

Just finished reading "For Your eyes only". I liked it more this time than the first time. In some ways it's an unusual James Bond story. Much of it is about Bond hiking in the woods on the border of Canada and the US, in many ways a hunting story. In fact I think Fleming handled this aspect of the story very well. The rest of the story is more typical Bond, and that's well written too.

714

Re: Last Book Read...

Currently reading Munich by Robert Harris. Fiction intertwined with historical facts of Chamberlain's negotiations with Hitler in 1938, hoping to prevent war.

715

Re: Last Book Read...

The Spy Who Never Dies wrote:

Currently reading Munich by Robert Harris. Fiction intertwined with historical facts of Chamberlain's negotiations with Hitler in 1938, hoping to prevent war.

I enjoyed that book - I really like Robert Harris and his ‘war themed’ novels...I’m looking forward to his new one V2.

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

716

Re: Last Book Read...

Sir Miles wrote:
The Spy Who Never Dies wrote:

Currently reading Munich by Robert Harris. Fiction intertwined with historical facts of Chamberlain's negotiations with Hitler in 1938, hoping to prevent war.

I enjoyed that book - I really like Robert Harris and his ‘war themed’ novels...I’m looking forward to his new one V2.

Munich has been on my 'to-read' list for quite a while. The only Harris novel I've read so far is Enigma, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Right now I'm busy reading Dashiel Hammet's The Maltese Falcon. I've been watching a bit of film noir recently, and thought I'd finally get round to reading The Maltese Falcon before rewatching the classic John Huston film.

717

Re: Last Book Read...

Golrush007 wrote:

Right now I'm busy reading Dashiel Hammet's The Maltese Falcon. I've been watching a bit of film noir recently, and thought I'd finally get round to reading The Maltese Falcon before rewatching the classic John Huston film.


You won't be disappointed. Hammett is one of the best noir writers, second only to Raymond Chandler IMHO. If you like it, try Red Harvest next- the influence for Yojimbo and therefore Fistful Of Dollars.

Huston filled The Maltese Falcon with shots of Bogart simply walking across a room, feeling that this told you what kind of a man Sam Spade was- much as Terence Young filled Thunderball with shots of Sean Connery walking across a room, for the same reason.

718

Re: Last Book Read...

Golrush007 wrote:
Sir Miles wrote:
The Spy Who Never Dies wrote:

Currently reading Munich by Robert Harris. Fiction intertwined with historical facts of Chamberlain's negotiations with Hitler in 1938, hoping to prevent war.

I enjoyed that book - I really like Robert Harris and his ‘war themed’ novels...I’m looking forward to his new one V2.

Munich has been on my 'to-read' list for quite a while. The only Harris novel I've read so far is Enigma, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Right now I'm busy reading Dashiel Hammet's The Maltese Falcon. I've been watching a bit of film noir recently, and thought I'd finally get round to reading The Maltese Falcon before rewatching the classic John Huston film.


Archangel is another book by Robert Harris (I haven't read it). It was made into a tv film for BBC, I think, in 2005 and starred Daniel Craig. I think I watched it on YouTube.

719

Re: Last Book Read...

The Spy Who Never Dies wrote:
Golrush007 wrote:
Sir Miles wrote:

I enjoyed that book - I really like Robert Harris and his ‘war themed’ novels...I’m looking forward to his new one V2.

Munich has been on my 'to-read' list for quite a while. The only Harris novel I've read so far is Enigma, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Right now I'm busy reading Dashiel Hammet's The Maltese Falcon. I've been watching a bit of film noir recently, and thought I'd finally get round to reading The Maltese Falcon before rewatching the classic John Huston film.


Archangel is another book by Robert Harris (I haven't read it). It was made into a tv film for BBC, I think, in 2005 and starred Daniel Craig. I think I watched it on YouTube.

Archangel is another good read from him...stick it on your list too  ajb007/martini

YNWA 96

The Unbearables

720

Re: Last Book Read...

I just finished Le Carré's latest, Agent Running in the Field.  Like his previous novel, the excellent A Legacy of Spies, and unlike so many Le Carré novels--which can be long and bloated by minutiae--this is a speedy novel filled with snappy dialogue.  It's also gotten a lot of attention as a novel that attacks both Brexit and Trump--but, to my mind, this is its problem.  There's no depth or bite to the attack: Le Carré seems to simply take it as a given that the two are unmitigated evils and lets things go.  In his Cold War novels, Le Carré dissects both East and West, showing they are petty powers fighting over nothing; in The Constant Gardener he magnifies the sins of "Big Pharma" to illustrate the international threat it poses.  ARITF's politics seem to have come from bumper stickers and angry tweets.

Vox clamantis in deserto

721

Re: Last Book Read...

I've just read "Devil may care" by Sebastian Faulks. I read it when it was published, but this time I think I like it better. I think the part of the novel that takes place in France and Persia/Iran are the best. It seems like Faulks knows France really well and Iran is a new location in a Bond novel and I think the story benefits from this. I think Bond is well described. M, Leiter and Moneypenny are present and correct and Mathis is perhaps espcially impactful because the author writes France well. Scarlett Papava is a good enough Bond girl and and MI6's man in Teheran reminds me of other Bond allies in a good way. Julius Gormer, a man with a monkey's paw and a burning hatred for England, works well as a villan even though he isn't among the most memorable villans. I think his plan goes from dumping heroin in Britian to something much more dramatic happens too quickly and isn't explained well enough. I also feel some event are too close to events in Fleming's novels. The author should have been more inventive - something as simple as a knife fight in a plane instead of a gun fight could have worked  wonders. I still count "Devil may care" as one of the best continuation novels. The title is also one of the best Bond titles ever, including Fleming's own. I think EON should use it, with or without using elements from the book.
Chagrin is also an inspired henchman name.

Last edited by Number24 (13th May 2020 21:44)

722

Re: Last Book Read...

Hardyboy wrote:

I just finished Le Carré's latest, Agent Running in the Field.  Like his previous novel, the excellent A Legacy of Spies, and unlike so many Le Carré novels--which can be long and bloated by minutiae--this is a speedy novel filled with snappy dialogue.  It's also gotten a lot of attention as a novel that attacks both Brexit and Trump--but, to my mind, this is its problem.  There's no depth or bite to the attack: Le Carré seems to simply take it as a given that the two are unmitigated evils and lets things go.  In his Cold War novels, Le Carré dissects both East and West, showing they are petty powers fighting over nothing; in The Constant Gardener he magnifies the sins of "Big Pharma" to illustrate the international threat it poses.  ARITF's politics seem to have come from bumper stickers and angry tweets.

I'm a John Le Carré addict and have not only read all of his works, but I eagerly anticipate new ones as much as ever. I've also just finished his latest and while his writing and turn-of-phrase are as superb as ever, his last few books really have really been hobbyhorses for whatever world or political issues bother him. It's a shame. In my opinion, it's been quite a few years since he produced a novel whose storyline and characters were as good as his earlier ones. I still read them because the writing is just so brilliant, but, even when I agree with what he says, I am resigned to being lectured at and disappointed by the plotline.

723

Re: Last Book Read...

What would you say is the most recent truly great Le Carré novel, Domino effect?

724

Re: Last Book Read...

I would have to say that the last classic Le Carré was 'Absolute Friends". That said, I've enjoyed all of his since. He's still a masterful writer and I believe that if he wasn't writing 'spy thrillers', he would have won a mainstream literary award by now. Alas, like other genres, those who select such winners tend to frown on that field.

725

Re: Last Book Read...

Absolute Friends is the only Le Carre novel I've read. The way he ties everything together at the end, I thought was pure genius. I have quite a few more waiting to be read.