The Mission Song – John le Carre

This isn’t the type of book I’d usually read – usually I prefer to stick to more light-hearted stuff, or at least, books that don’t contain too much politics. It’s not a subject that really interests me, so I usually steer clear. However, The Mission Song certainly kept me interested throughout.

It tells the tale of a translator with a murky past, and a questionable childhood. All the moving around in his past, however, has given him an excellent grasp of several languages, which is why he is chosen for a ‘secret’ project. Taken from his normal life, he is asked to change his identity and his clothes, and is transported to an unknown island for a couple of days where he is to sit in on a conference, and translate conversations between several different people of varying races. He is also expected to listen to private conversations taking place in bugged rooms.

Having overheard several very interesting conversations, Salvo realises the whole project he is attending is corrupt. There are underhand deals and much more going on. Towards the end of the conference, Salvo steals evidence of these deals, and goes home. He tries to do what he thinks is right and out the truth. But nobody believes him… or at least, they pretend not to. Eventually, Salvo has no idea where to turn, he doesn’t know who he can trust, and who is on whose side.

In the meantime, his personal life is undergoing a huge change as he has met a black nurse, whose homeland is not so very far from his own, and they share interests and passions – and fall in love. But Salvo is married to a woman who he no longer loves, and also suspects is cheating on him. Overall, a very harrowing time for our young hero, as he desperately tries to begin a relationship with the woman he believes to be his soulmate, and to also stop the corrupt powers of the conference bringing a country to its knees.

This book certainly kept me hooked. The plot is intriguing, packed with politics and corruption (which I suppose go hand-in-hand anyway), and a real sense that you want the young hero to “save the day.” You’ll have to read it to find out if he does. But this isn’t a book you can rush, because you’ll lose the plot. A very involving and intriguing tale.

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