Today, I’m celebrating the works of John Le Carré – on 27 September Penguin will have completed a major nine year project to publish 21 of his books as Penguin Modern Classics. This will make him the living author with the greatest body of work to be awarded classic status, which I’m sure you’ll agree is quite the achievement. Launched in 1961, Penguin Classics celebrates contemporary authors whose works are considered timeless.
Famous for his tales of espionage, terror and war, I’ve been a fan of Le Carré’s for a while. I’ve absolutely loved the TV and film adaptations of Le Carré’s work – from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, to the iconic BBC version of the Night Manager. Now, new to the list of Classics is The Little Drummer Girl – a gripping story of love and loyalty, set against the backdrop of the Middle East Conflict. Excitingly, this is going to be a major six-part BBC adaptation, showing this October – produced by the award-winning team behind The Night Manager. I’m just a little bit excited to curl up on the sofa, with the fire going, to watch this. However, TV series aside, and seeing as Le Carré is famous for saying:
Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.
I’m actually a bit ashamed to say that I’ve never read any of his books. – despite being a HUGE spy fanatic and all-round book lover. So, with the help of Penguin, I picked up The Mission Song – which I’m sure will be the first, of many, that I read.
The Mission Song
Bruno Salvador has worked on clandestine missions before. A highly skilled interpreter, he is no stranger to the Official Secrets Act. But this is the first time he has been asked to change his identity – and, worse still, his clothes – in service of his country.
Whisked to a remote island to interpret a top-secret conference between no-name financiers and Congolese warlords, Salvo’s excitement is only heightened by memories of the night before he left London, and his life-changing encounter with a beautiful nurse named Hannah.
Exit suddenly, the unassuming, happily married man Salvo believed himself to be. Enter in his place, the pseudonymous Brian Sinclar: spy, lover – and perhaps, even, hero.
The Mission Song is narrated by interpreter and translator, Bruno Salvador (Salvo) – hailing from the Congo. Now living in Britain, he is an endearing character, fuelled by a desire to good. But, what starts off innocently eventually turns into a botched coup and as the book progresses we see Salvo being exploited. It questions his morality – and how we react – in the face of overwhelming political pressure.
Fast paced and entertaining, it is gripping from first page to last, but at the heart of it The Mission Song is so much more than just a thriller. It explores how Western capitalism exploits Africa, and condemnation of this. How business interests and greed lead to corruption, ruining the chances for peace and freedom.
Ultimately, The Mission Song is an angry, urgent novel that has been exquisitely crafted, giving the reader an insight into global politics and contemporary issues.
Fancy your own copy?
As part of today’s blog tour, I’ve also got a Twitter giveaway – to win your own copy of The Mission Song, just visit @HarryMumford, follow me and retweet the pinned tweet to be in with a chance of winning. And, if you’re not lucky this time you can always pick up a copy here
The rest of the posts on the blog tour can be seen here: