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The Mission Song by John le Carre

Joining a book group is a great way to read outside your usual genres and away from the authors you normally choose. When my book group chose The Mission Song by John le Carre, I was intrigued and excited to read it.

The Blurb

Bruno Salvador has worked on clandestine missions before. A highly skilled interpreter, he is not a stranger to the Official Secrets Act. But this is the first time he has been asked to change his identity – and, worse still, his clothes – in service of his country.

Whisked to a remote island to interpret a top-secret conference between no-name financiers and Congolese warlords, Salvo’s excitement is only heightened by memories of the night before he left London, and his life-changing encounter with a beautiful nurse named Hannah.

Exit suddenly, the unassuming, happily married man Salvo believed himself to be. Enter in his place, the pseudonymous Brian Sinclar: spy, lover and perhaps, even, hero.

The Review

The Mission Song is a story where Bruno Salvador was abandoned by both his Irish father and Congolese mother. As a result of this he looked for someone to guide his life.

He found it in Mr. Anderson of British Intelligence. Bruno was brought up in Africa, and is fluent in several African languages. This has made him a top interpreter in London, England useful to businesses, hospitals, diplomats and spies.

When he was working for Anderson in a clandestine facility known as the "Chat Room," Salvo (as Bruno is known) translates intercepted phone calls, bugged recordings and snatched voice mail messages. Then Anderson sends him to a mysterious island to interpret a secret conference between Central African warlords. Bruno thinks he is helping Britain bring peace to a bloody corner of the world. However, he hears something he should not have heard.

Carre's laser eye for the complexity of the modern world is evident in this book and this novel is full of politics, heart, and the sort of suspense that nobody in the world does better.

Having said all that, I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I found large tracts of it rather boring, although other parts are exciting and tense. I have read other books by le Carre and will, no doubt, read more. However, The Mission Song was not a favourite of mine.

The Author

David John Moore Cornwell, using the pen name John le Carre, has written so many exciting books that when I found this one in my local library I picked it up without hesitation. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for the British Intelligence services MI5 and MI6, and began writing novels so his books have a feeling of authority that few writers command.


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