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The Right People Lost The Cold War, The Wrong People Won It,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Secret Pilgrim (Taschenbuch)Ned, the narrator, is nearing retirement from the British Intelligence, or "The Circus" as it is known. The book opens on the occasion of the traditional informal dinner that celebrates the end of the training of a new class of spies-to-be who will be among the first to operate in the post Cold War environment. Ned, who has been in charge of their training, has invited his already retired mentor, George Smiley, to speak at the get-together. To Ned's surprise, Smiley has accepted.
All this is in the way of setting the scene for the series of reminiscences that make up the meat of THE SECRET PILGRIM. Smiley, who has attained the status of a legend in the service, keeps the students entranced for hours and his comments trigger a life time of memories in Ned, who has been one of the Circus' key players in a forty year career that covered most of the Cold War years.
One of Ned's earliest experiences, in the final phase of his training, was when an older hand kept him from making a career ending faux pas. He misread a situation and believed that a member of a visiting Royal's retinue was an intended assassin. Ned, who was anxious to show off his new found skills was about to jump the "assassin" but was prevented from doing so by the more experienced agent. This was a learning experience that he never forgot.
As the evening progresses we share more of Ned's memories with him. One is when a murder is made to look like a suicide, and false evidence is left that was meant to discredit Ned.
At another time, almost every group of spies that he is "running" are betrayed, and a number of innocent people are thought to be the betrayers. The source of the betrayals remains a mystery until one of the top men in the Circus is found to be the traitor.
We go through many other life threatening, and occasionally humorous, escapades with him. As is frequently the case in Le Carre's novels, the deskbound, high level, decision makers run the gamut, from the rare competent and dedicated individuals, to the more common politically motivated self enhancers who build their own careers with no thought to the jeopardy in which they are putting their field agents.
The evening ends, and we accompany Ned as he passes the final days before his retirement.
With three days left to go, he is given one last assignment. He is charged with convincing a rather unpleasant multi-millionaire to stop providing armaments to various participants in conflicts throughout the world. These armaments are sold through an interlocking chain of corporations which he totally controls. Because of the international complexities of these corporate structures, the armament sales are technically legal. Unhappily for Ned his efforts are rebuffed. It is at this point that he remembers Smiley's old aphorism about the right people losing the Cold War but the wrong people winning it.
If you've never read Le Carre, this book should whet your appetite to go back in time and read his "Smiley" books. If you have read other of his books, I can't think of a better way to wrap them up.