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Imperfect spies

John le Carré’s righteous anger ignites his fast-paced new novel, but it can’t make up for a cast of unconvincing characters

By Julian Evans   September 2010

Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carre (Viking, £18.99)

Just short of his 80th year, John le Carre is a prodigy, producing his last five novels in less than a decade, a higher average even than in his more youthful years as our nonpareil spy novelist. It may be anger that supplies his energy, for he gives the impression of having got more wrathful as he’s got older: of having become, to borrow the description of a character in his latest novel, “a late-onset, red-toothed radical with balls.” In the past decade he has stepped outside the cloisters…

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