John Le Carre is an amazing writer. That was the main thing I got out of this fantastic, thrilling book. I don't know why I'd never read any of his work before, but after this one, I think I'm going to need to pick up more than a few of his books. He has this incredibly simple but elegant way of writing, where the sentences just flow perfectly together and draw you into the story so well that before you know it you've read half the book in just a few hours.
The book (on which the movie was based) takes place in Kenya, where the British High Commission works to aid the impoverished nation. Justin Quayle for for the BHC, and is married to Tessa, a passionate young woman determined to really help the population in Kenya by fighting the corporations that want to make a profit from pretending to help them. At the start of the book (it's not a spoiler, as it happens in the first page), Tessa is found murdered, and Justin begins to investigate the details behind her very suspicious death. He soon finds out that Tessa was involved in uncovering the truth behind the deaths of Kenyans who were using a drug promoted by a rich pharmaceutical company, and that they might be responsible for her death. The story quickly escalates into a dangerous mission for Justin, as he travels around the world trying to find out the truth behind his wife's murder.
It's a great thriller of a story, and Le Carre keeps things moving at a fast pace. The book slows down slightly in the middle as Justin hops to yet another international destination, but it's still a fun read. Le Carre writes some great characters, all with distinct voices and personalities, and you really do end up caring a great deal about Tessa and Justin. The story might be unrealistic at times, but I think that when a thriller is really good, you don't really care that much.
All in all, I loved this book. The writing is a pleasure to read, the mystery is engrossing, and the characters are believable. I don't ask for much more from a thriller, and this one delivered. I highly recommend it.
PS: The movie is also pretty great. But so very, very depressing.