A Most Wanted Man – Book Review

A Most Wanted Man

by: John Le Carre

Reviewed by:  Paul McMahon

322 Pages

I cannot spoil the ending of the book by telling you what it is because it is a Le Carre book and it has no ending.

We start off meeting a young man who might be Checen and might not, but who is definitely nuts.

We then meet a Turkish widow and her championship boxed son who feel commanded by Allah to take the young man in.  The mother feels commanded.  The boxer is not so sure.

We meet the young man’s lady lawyer who eventually becomes convinced that the young man has a multi-million dollar inheritance that the young man does not want because it is dirty in a Muslim sense — it grew from interest which is forbidden in the Koran.

We meet a Swiss Banker whose bank in not in Switzerland, but in Hamburg, who has custody of the multi-million dollar inheritance which can only be claimed by the presentation of an account number and a key.  An account which was opened by the banker’s father in a weak moment.  The father eventually died and never explained why the account and others like it were opened.  The father never explained why he got the OBE – Order of the British Empire – awarded to him when he was a German citizen.

We feel comfortable that the lawyer will eventually prevail and the young man will claim the inheritance and use it to go to medical school and become a great physician and use the money to right the many wrongs loaded on the Muslims of the world.

We meet a Muslim scholar who raises huge amounts of money for Muslim charities where most of the money goes to the charities, but a little seems to leak out and support terrorism.  The charity buys 100 tons of sugar and ships it.  The ship stops in a port to drop some other goods and accidentally drops nine tons of sugar on the dock.  The sugar goes to buy weapons for a little local war.

Then we begin to meet people who are not quite as impressed with the innocence and insanity of the yound man.  In fact they think he is a dangerous terrorist who has made his way from Turkey to Russio to Swedan to Denmark to Germany in a most unusual way.

First come the German intelligence people, then the English, then the Americans.

The Germans want to hang on to the young man and exploit him for the information and people he has.

The Germans sponsor a great intelligence meeting to carve up the rights to the young man.  They reach agreement and set up a planned pick up of the young man.

The pick up day comes and the Germans from Berlin set of an extreme environment for the pickup.  Streets blocked off.  Snipers on roofs.  Only intelligence vehicles in the neighborhood.  The  bank’s offices bugged.  All of the players wired.

The pick up almost goes perfectly … and you sit with the book and say to yourself “What the Hell happened!”

The book ends.

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