Frightening, heartbreaking, and exquisitely calibrated, John le Carré's new novel opens with the gruesome murder of the young and beautiful Tessa Quayle near northern Kenya's Lake Turkana, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover and traveling companion, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has vanished from the scene of the crime. Tessa's much older husband, Justin, a career diplomat at the British High Commission in Nairobi, sets out on a personal odyssey in pursuit of the killers and their motive.A master chronicler of the deceptions and betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict, le Carré portrays, in The Constant Gardener, the dark side of unbridled capitalism. His eighteenth novel is also the profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. Justin Quayle, amateur gardener and ineffectual bureaucrat, seemingly oblivious to his wife's cause, discovers his own resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love. The Constant Gardener is a magnificent exploration of the new world order by one of the most compelling and elegant storytellers of our time.
Fiction imitating real life seems to be an apt mantra for British born author, David John Moore Cornwell, or his pen name, John le Carre'. He had a very "un-normal" childhood, having been abandoned by his mother when he was five years old, and his father made and lost fortunes several times by using tricks and schemes, and even landed in jail for insurance fraud. le Carre' was reunited with the mother he never knew when he was 21. Unbeknownst to him, he developed his fascination with secret lives from his observation of his father's unsavory lifestyle.
le Carre' studied and received a degree in modern languages after a few "bumps in the road" along the way. He joined the Intelligence Corps of the British Army stationed in Allied-occupied Austria, serving as a German language interrogator, then worked covertly for the British Secret Service, M-15 as a spy to detect Soviet agents. He taught at Eton College while he was an M-15 officer. He ran agents, conducted interrogations, tapped telephones, and supervised break-ins. He was encouraged to write by other authors, writing his first novel, Call for the Dead in 1961. In 1960, he had transferred to M-16, the foreign intelligence service. His cover for that position was Secretary of the British Embassy at Bonn, and later Hamburg. It was at that time that he wrote, A Murder of Quality, and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. He assumed his pen name when he wrote, since officers were forbidden to publish in their own names.
le Carre's novels include: The Looking Glass, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Smiley's People, The Little Drummer Girl, The Night Manager, The Tailor of Panama, The Constant Gardner, A Most Wanted Man, and Our Kind of Traitor. All of the John le Carre' novels were adapted for film or television.