Monday, April 09, 2007

The Mission Song

I just finished John LeCarré's latest novel: The Mission Song. This book is shorter than the author's previous novels. Yet it follows a similar plot as his latest books. An eccentric hero on the fringes of the intelligence world gets involved with some scandalous or outrageous operation. He decides to fight against the wrong, but is eventually betrayed and ruined for his efforts. In this case the hero is a highly skilled interpreter of African languages from the Congo region. He gets involved with a scheme to steal the mineral resources of eastern Congo by a business syndicate led by a British politician. On the way, he falls in love with a sympathetic, but damaged woman with a young child.

In spite of this being familiar ground, I found myself drawn into the story. I knew that the hero was doomed, but I couldn't help reading on to see how it happened. LeCarré is a master of working a political point into his spy stories. The end of the cold war hasn't slowed him down. The bleak war on terror and the continued injustices of the world give him a lot of material to write about.