"Angry" Le Carre tackles terrorism in new book

Thu Oct 2, 2008 8:17am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - British writer John Le Carre tackles thorny issues of immigration, terrorism and "extraordinary rendition" in his new novel "A Most Wanted Man," which he hinted may be his last.

The 76-year-old author of bestselling Cold War espionage thrillers like "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" takes aim at Western governments and their policies in his latest story, published last week.

"I know I've always tried to write about the now, the moment we live in, to catch the wave of today not yesterday," Le Carre, whose real name is David Cornwell, said during a lecture about his work late on Wednesday.

"It doesn't surprise me that my new novel is been accounted angry. You don't have to be old to be angry about what we have done to the world in the last six years.

"It doesn't surprise me that I can't in the novel find any very nice things to say about those who, in the name of the 'war on terror' have consigned men and women ... to black prisons around the world."

He was referring to the U.S. practice of secretly flying terrorism suspects to prisons abroad, where some suspects have said they were tortured. Human rights groups have strongly condemned the practice.

The central character in A Most Wanted Man is Issa, a young Chechen-Russian and devout Muslim who arrives in Hamburg and arouses suspicion in the German spy community for possible links with Islamist militants.

German civil rights lawyer Annabel tries to save him from deportation and inherit the money his father left in a secret account, controlled by 60-year-old British banker Tommy Brue.   Continued...

<p>British author John Le Carre addresses a news conference at the 51th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 11, 2001. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann</p>