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Our Kind of Traitor

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  7,647 Ratings  ·  1,001 Reviews
Britain is in the depths of recession. A left-leaning young Oxford academic and his barrister girlfriend take an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch.
Hardcover, 306 pages
Published 2010 by Viking
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Richard Jurevics I think the corrupt politicians, their lawyers and the rich criminals they were dealing with had a lot more to gain from stopping Dima reaching a UK…moreI think the corrupt politicians, their lawyers and the rich criminals they were dealing with had a lot more to gain from stopping Dima reaching a UK safe house. And I'm not sure Dima's family's are any safer with Dima out the way. Dima said he made copies of the incriminating information he had about his money laundering activities. His wife and children might not be as powerful as witnesses as Dima would be himself, but they could still testify to the fact that Dima rubbed shoulders with both high profile British guests and russian criminals. I don't think Dima would consider his family safe just because he was dead. Espescially while they are still hiding in a rented Swiss guesthouse. I think the aforementioned corrupt politicians, lawyers and criminals most likely had the plane sabotaged. I can't help wondering how though. It sounds like the plane crashed within eyesight of the airport and with no explosion. The two pilots and the plane would have been checked out by Hector and it sounded like Luke and Dima were the only other people on board. Ah well, an ending of a book that leaves you thinking about what exactly happened and what will likely happen next isn't necessarily a bad thing. I wonder if there is scope for a sequel...(less)

Community Reviews

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Oct 09, 2012 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“It struck him as a bit unfair that, at the age of eight, he should have manifested the same sense of solitude that haunted him at forty-three.”
― John le Carré, Our Kind of Traitor


Maybe 3.5 stars. I liked it more than I was prepared to. Reminded me in a lot of ways of Single & Single. It was a tight morality tale in a world lacking morality. Like most of le Carré's post-Soviet/post-Cold War spy novels the real play here is not East v West, THAT is just a side show, the real conflict is ALL
Aug 16, 2010 Lobstergirl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ivan Lendl
Perry and Gail, a 20-something professional couple, are vacationing in Antigua when they are forcefully befriended by a money-laundering Russian mobster, Dima, and his extended entourage. Dima wants asylum in Britain for himself and his family in exchange for evidence incriminating his co-conspirators in European high society and the British parliament. Perry and Gail take their story to the British Secret Service, who improbably put them to work getting the issue resolved.

The problem with the n
Oct 21, 2010 SlowRain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel marks a return of sorts for le Carré. Firstly, it's a return to the topic of Russia, something that has been absent from the last few books he has written. It's also a return to his highly-stylized narrative, his great dialog, and decent characterization, all of which were absent from his previous novel, "A Most Wanted Man". However, what remains is still what I call an 'activist novel', which is pretty much what le Carré's last five novels have all been about. But this time it has be ...more
description: Perry and Gail are idealistic and very much in love when they splurge on a tennis vacation at a posh beach resort in Antigua. But the charm begins to pall when a big-time Russian money launderer enlists their help to defect. In exchange for amnesty, Dima is ready to rat out his vory (Russian criminal brotherhood) compatriots and expose corruption throughout the so-called legitimate financial and political worlds. Soon, the guileless couple find themselves pawns in a deadly endgame w ...more
Jul 18, 2011 F.R. rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well this doesn’t just seem to be ‘The Worst Novel Le Carré Has Ever Written’, it actually jumps up and down and demands the title.

It’s odd that an author who has spent half a century writing suspenseful and intelligent thrillers, should now produce one so lacking in suspense or interest. Certainly it seems unusual that when the author returns to what once was his pet subject – machinations concerning Russia – he should create a work so lacking in insight or depth. But more than that, it’s baffl
The latest novel by John le Carre is getting positive reviews all over the place with sentiments exclaiming that the old le Carre is back and that he has dropped the preaching tone of his last few efforts. Personally, I like it when he preaches to us about the ills of our modern world.

In Our Kind of Traitor, I felt the master of spy literature was holding back just a tad and I purely hated the way this novel ended. I just felt lost through much of the story, but that could be because I do not u
Mar 16, 2015 Patrick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
For me at least, I think the problem was that it lacked verisimilitude. I'm sure John le Carre has forgotten more about the inner workings of the intelligence services than I will ever know, although at nearly 80, I wonder if he is quite as up to speed on how (and to some extent, if) MI6 go about infiltrating Russian crime groups as he was on the Cold War.

I just couldn't believe that MI6 would recruit someone solely on the basis that he had had a chance meeting with a Russian vory/oligarch whil
Jan 31, 2013 Grace rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-read
If it were possible I would have given this book 1/2 a star. It was that bad.

Like everyone else on here I have my favourite authors who I know that once I open their books, I will be entertained from start to finish. I do however try to broaden my horizons and try books by authors that maybe I've previously shied away from. I did this with both Andy McNab and Chris Ryan and have been plesantly surprised and still continue to read books by these authors.

Unfortunately this book had absolutely noth
Dec 23, 2010 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
Not at the level of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold or the Smiley series, but still, very very good, and better than most of the stuff that le Carre has written since the end of the cold war.

What's great about it? His effortless plotting and his thorough knowledge of the amorality of the world's politics. It was a thrilling read. I devoured it over a period of two days, and was sorry when it came to an end.

For my taste, there were too many pages of slangy conversation as exposition, and not
Mal Warwick
David John Moore Cornwell--the man the world has come to know as John le Carre--was the son of a con man and a mother he met only at age 21. He spent years in the 1950s and 1960s working for MI5 and MI6 in the most difficult years of the Cold War. His frequently troubled life experiences afforded him the real-world experience that lent such authenticity and depth to the Cold War espionage novels he wrote so ably in the decades to come.

Le Carre's conflicted alter ego, George Smiley, the protagoni
Michael Graeme
Jul 31, 2011 Michael Graeme rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If what you know of the world comes from newspapers, or from the T.V. news, then your view is naive, selective, abridged and childish. If you have any mature sense at all then I think you appreciate this may be true.

All right - so, I'm naive and childish,... hopelessly so. It's the only way I can go on living in my personally simplified version of reality. Reading Le Carre though connects me with another, darker, reality, one I fear might be closer to the truth, whether it's "cold war", or whate
James Schubring
Jul 29, 2011 James Schubring rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is always more potential in a John le Carre novel than in anyone else writing books. There is also, almost always, some experimental flaw that's bigger than anyone else's. I've learned to take the good and ignore the bad. He writes bigger books than almost anyone else, enthralling even when they're flawed.

Here we have the recruitment of a moneyman from the Russian mafia by the British Secret Service. Dima, 'our kind of traitor,' is the most interesting, wound-up, larger-than-life, nervy ch
Mar 23, 2015 Neil rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was the first John le Carre book which I have picked up in a while. It came with high literary acclaim, and so I was quite looking forward to reading it. Sadly I was quite disappointed with it, there was no real sense of suspense, and it seemed quite laboured and ponderous, not the le Carre books I remember of old.
A professional couple from England, Perry and Gail, are on a tennis holiday in Antigua, when they are forcibly befriended by Dima. He is a Russian money launderer for the Vory, bu
Joe Ollinger
LeCarre tends to write slower, more cerebral stuff, and this is no exception. This is a more of a drama set in the world of espionage than a spy thriller. The characters are vivid and the world feels quite real. The downside of this is that the book spends a lot of time on mundane details of character, and the premise and plot are more believable than fun.

The work splits its narrative into the perspectives of several characters, working through their thoughts ind feelings in much detail. This bo
If you're a Russian godfather who wants to spill evil
banking beans involving the west, do you just snaffle
a cute UK couple on holiday in Antigua and grunt, "Take
me to your leader" ?

LeC moves briskly fr the Cold War to the Russ mafia and
corrupt banking, suggested by news stories. Very good.
Then, damnit, the way he drawls his story -- exposition,
Talking Heds, fractured sequence, past/present tense --
is downright deadly.

Meantime, we'd all like to know his theories on the young
UK spy found dead at h
This was my first spy thriller novel by this author. It was SO hard for me to get into it. I was confused about who was talking, the first person/third person switching made me crazy. This type of writing works for some people, it's just not my style. I chose not to finish it. That's not to say others wouldn't find it worth the time to make it to the end. I think the author is a talented writer, I'm just not the reader he is writing for.

I received this as an advance uncorrected proof that I won

On ne le dira jamais assez, les partenariats sont l'occasion de faire des découvertes littéraires, d'avoir l'occasion de lire un livre dans lequel on aurait pas osé se lancer en temps habituel. Du moins, c'est comme ça que je le conçois.

Une fois de plus, mon expérience en terme de roman d'espionnage est assez anecdotique et ce partenariat fut pour moi l'occasion de découvrir un auteur que je ne connaissais pas et un genre littéraire vers lequel je me tourne peu.

L'histoire commence avec Gail et
Nov 12, 2010 yexxo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John le Carré, ein Name der für spannende Agenten- und Spionagethriller steht - mit dieser Erwartungshaltung machte ich mich an sein neuestes Werk. Ich las und las, amüsierte mich prächtig und ertappte mich dennoch dabei, immer oberflächlicher über den Text hinwegzugehen, bis ich bei Seite 202 (ca. der Hälfte) das Buch resigniert zuschlug. Denn von Spannung - keine Spur. Welch eine Enttäuschung!
Doch ich hatte mich selbst in die Irre geführt, denn bei genauem Hinschauen ist (außer bei der Einord
William Breakstone

Our Kind of Hero by John le Carre

Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, November 16, 2010

The English author John le Carre has written 22 novels, the first being Call for the Dead, published in 1961. I have read and enjoyed every one. He is one of those authors I just can’t get enough of.

His latest work is Our Kind of Hero, and has been critically acclaimed as one of his best. I don’t know if I would go that far, but it is a tremendously good read.

The story opens at a Caribbean island resort, wh
Jul 28, 2010 Keri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read any of John le Carre's novels but from what I've seen reviews of, this isn't even his best. So to say that it makes me want to read more of his work is a testament to the novel.

Gail and Perry, a lawyer and a teacher, decide to take a romantic trip to Antigua. There they meet a man named Dima and his family. In no time at all, they find themselves buried in international secrets and dealing with the Service. How much can two non-spies help?

The novel is written in an odd way. In so
Aug 19, 2011 Emilie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is spy novel, John leCarre is a professional of this type of novel and knows what he's talking about. This is not James Bond with sophisticated gadgets, technology is minimal which leaves room for the development of the plot and of the characters involved. A young couple (Gail and Perry) vacationing in Antigua meets a Russian oligarch (Dima) who chooses them as his intermediaries between the British secret services (and appoints them as referees of the fairness of the negotiations) and hims ...more
Charles Moore
I think I have read too many le Carre's spy novels. I thought this was a great read, a really interesting and novelistic approach to a story told by one of the masters, until the last page. Then it went to pieces. I am now of the mind that maybe le Carre can't or won't write an ending. He finishes the story, the suspense is all over, the good guy/bad guy characters seem settled but in a very real sense of Greek theatre, God interferes and in this case, does not save the day.

As I wonder back thr
Jim Leffert
Oct 27, 2010 Jim Leffert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After several disappointing (unsubtle, overly moralistic) novels in recent years, le Carré is back in fine form with Our Kind of Traitor. A Russian money launderer approaches a young British couple on vacation in Antigua, and seeks their aid in convincing British authorities to rescue him from Russian mobsters. In return, he offers to reveal detailed information about prominent British figures’ collaboration with the mobsters in a plan to gain a charter to open a huge bank in Britain. With the y ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Much to the dismay of many longtime fans, le Carré chose to keep up with the times after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Yet, despite his shift from Cold War-era espionage to more contemporary themes, le Carré's signature stark prose, pitch-perfect dialogue, authentic characters, and moral indignation have stood the test of time. The critics were pleased to see "the master" (Telegraph) back in action, but some had reservations: While the Guardian lamented the "long, fussily narrated opening," ...more
Jay Connor
Not since Graham Green's "Our Man in Havana" has an author, here John le Carre, had such literate, yet tongue-in-cheek, fun with an accidental spy.

Perry and his girlfriend, Gail, are approached by Dima, a money laundering Russian of international proportions, who is seeking asylum in Great Britian. In the course of their becoming pawns to the machinations of several spy agencies, as well as the Russian mafia, we discover how we too are, in many ways, pawns in a global world financial order whe
Mar 16, 2011 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delicious. Sparse of word / expansive in description. Just enough for our imaginations to fill in the blanks. This is Le Carre as he is currently; simple meeting, throw in the innocents, spice 'em up with some training, shake things up
“Perry y Gail acaban de regresar de unas vacaciones en el Caribe, donde conocieron al misterioso Dima, un millonario ruso que teme por su propia vida. El hombre cree que sólo podrá salvarse con la colaboración de Perry. Y Dima tiene dinero y está preparado para pagar lo que sea necesario”.

En comparación a otras novelas de LeCarré, “Un traidor como los nuestros” la he encontrado menos elaborada. Como suele ser habitual en sus relatos, tarda bastantes páginas en enganchar, pero cuando lo consigue
Karla Nahuelpan
La verdad es que quedé con gusto a poco, siento que el climax no llegó nunca y el final no me gustó mucho. Tenía más expectativas del libro
Aug 16, 2010 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When the Cold War ended one might have been forgiven to think the John le Carre 19s career as a writer of the spy novel might have come crashing down along with the Berlin wall. Rest assured, in 18Our Kind of Traitor 19 le Carre shows us that the Russian spy novel is alive and well for the twenty-first century.

Born to the ranks of the British upper middle-class Perry Makepiece, an English literature tutor at Oxford College and his long-standing girlfriend, Gail, the 1Csparky young barrister on t
Amir Atef
ooh god!! I never got my head around quite what the deal that Dima was trying to cut with the UK actually was - only that it involved betraying some of his criminal confederates, all like to know his theories on the young UK spy found dead at home locked in a duffel bag!!!
a tall order for a University lecturer. Feeling quite sympathetic towards Dima and his family, Perry tries his best. The carrot Dima dangles before the intelligence community, is his vast knowledge of financial shady dealings
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Contemporary YA: Our Kind of Traitor Book vs. Movie 1 6 Jun 29, 2016 06:23AM  
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John le Carré, the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell (born 19 October 1931 in Poole, Dorset, England), is an English author of espionage novels. Le Carré has resided in St Buryan, Cornwall, Great Britain, for more than 40 years, where he owns a mile of cliff close to Land's End.

See also: John le Carré - Wikipedia
More about John le Carré...

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“It struck him as a bit unfair that, at the age of eight, he should have manifested the same sense of solitude that haunted him at forty-three.” 11 likes
“I've studied the disease, I've lived in the swamp. It is my informed conclusion that we are suffering, as an ex-great nation, from top-down corporate rot. And that's not just the judgement of an ailing old fart. A lot of people in my Service make a profession of not seeing things in black and white. Do not confuse me with them. I'm a late-onset, red-toothed radical with balls. Still with me?” 7 likes
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