LeCarre is a master of spy fiction
In this, his newest book, John sets his scene in modern europe with his views on the war in Iraq plainly in view through his depiction of the character Teddy Mundy, before alienating himself from Mundy's character by building his complex and emotionally scarred background, as the orphaned son of an ex-british imperial army officer in Pakistan/former India.
Quite why Le Carre feels he needs to distance himself from his character may not seem totally clear until he has lived through Teddy's young life, into the modern day, with the way that Teddy finds himself played with and eventually destroyed by the largest facist imperialist government in the world – America. Maybe Le Carre believes his own fanciful (or are they) supositions that the US will quash – by force if neccessary – anyone who stands against them.
His account of growing adolescent political feelings in university life I felt particularly poigniant here at Warwick, and also quite disturbing in the realisation that such student factions are nearly always juvenile and naive in their view of the world. It doens't mean in any way that the morals they stand for are any lessened by their innocence, but it does highlight their eventual inneffectiveness.
Altogether a beautifully crafted tale of loyalty and love shared by the unlikeliest of partners. A definitely compelling tale, maybe not a "must", but definitely one that people would do best to consider as placing on the old Christmas lists.