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Absolute Friends
By John Le Carre

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Absolute Friends

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Absolute Friends
By John Le Carré
Read by John Le Carré
Time Warner AudioBooks, (2004)
An Abridged Audio Recording on 6 CDs
ISBN: 1-58621-663-5
Genre: Thriller
Other editions:Large Print (Hardcover) | Audio Cassette (Abridged)

Click here to read a chapter excerpt from this book.

Reviewed by Leo Johnston - January 8, 2004

John Le Carré is at the top of is form in Absolute Friends. The story starts with the probably very real problem facing many spies, what do you do with yourself when the enemy you were trained to spy against is no longer your enemy? This is the very problem that faced Ted Mundy, former cold war spy. Out of a job and down on his luck, this scion of England took a job as a tour guide in Southern Germany. Despite being officially 'out of the game', Mundy is still a spy at heart and is always on the look out for something 'interesting'.

In this incredible story, Mundy teams up with Sasha, a crippled, former East German spy who is the son of a Nazi. Together they set off on an adventure that promises them wealth, prestige, and most importantly, something to do that they can sink their teeth into.

Sasha and Mundy are complex and well-wrought characters. Mundy, who has a Muslim wife, and Sasha, who makes his living as an itinerant lecturer, are both realistic and somewhat tragic personalities who were cast of their beloved jobs like so much garbage after they were no longer needed - despite years of often dangerous service for their respective countries.

Now they have been hired by a mysterious billionaire named Dimitri who wants them to work at countering what he sees as disinformation being promulgated by the West against Iraq. This is a job that suits Mundy's personality. Basically, Mundy is a humanitarian who is always trying to do what is right and to help others. He feels that by countering the erroneous aspects of the propaganda surrounding the war with Iraq he is doing a service to those fighting, and a service for the Iraqi people, both of whom he sees being manipulated to serve the political interests of the 'hyperpowers'.

During the course of telling this tale, Le Carre chronicles the history and friendship of these two men, showing how they met and how they matured into the individuals they are today. The audio version of this book is read by Le Carre himself, and he brings a sense of warmth and emotion to this tragic tale of misplaced dreams and unrealized idealism.

Absolute Friends is a gripping story based on current events. From the beginning you'll wonder what Dimitri's real motivation is in hiring Mundy and Sasha, and what the future has in store for these two men. The ending is powerful, and you'll find that it brings the story to a satisfying close. I cannot wait to read Le Carre's next masterpiece. He is truly one of 'those' writers who only gets better with age.

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