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Extended Audio Sample The Constant Gardener, by John le Carré Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (8,078 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John le Carré Narrator: John le Carré, Michael Jayston Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Exquisitely calibrated, devastating, frightening and heartbreaking, John le Carré’s eighteenth novel opens with the lurid murder of the young and beautiful Tessa Quayle near northern Kenya’s Lake Turkana, the birthplace of mankind. Her putative African lover and companion, a doctor with one of the aid agencies, has disappeared. 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. What he might know and what he ultimately learns make him suspect among his own colleagues and a target for the same ruthless profiteers who killed his wife.

A master at portraying the myriad deceits and betrayals within a misguided foreign office, le Carré delves even deeper here into the potential perils of unbridled capitalism. It is also a profoundly moving story of a man whom tragedy elevates. Justin Quayle, an amateur gardener, seemingly oblivious to the political machinations around him and to his wife’s cause, discovers his own resources and the extraordinary depths of the woman he barely had time to love.

The Constant Gardener is a masterful exploration of the new world order by one of the most compelling and elegant storytellers of our time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Amazingly seductive, pulling you in deeper all the time.”

    David Halberstam, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Le Carré’s narrative…illuminates the tangle of hypocrisy, politics, and passion roiling beneath that steadfast British restraint.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A cracking thriller.”


  • The Constant Gardener reveals a new and far more Dickensian le Carré…His novel unabashedly wears its heart on its sleeve.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • The Constant Gardener ranks with The Russia House as the best he has produced since hitting his peak. If this new book is craft rather than art, it is craft of the very highest caliber. It is no mean feat to entertain while also making a reader think. Yet Le Carré pulls this off admirably, weaving together several themes—corporate power, underdevelopment, globalization—that will resonate with a wide audience.”


  • “Brilliant.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “Le Carré has lost none of his gift for setting vivid scenes in far-flung places expertly described: London, Germany, Saskatchewan, Kenya. His sprinting thriller prose remains in great shape. And thanks to his sixteen years in the British Foreign Office, his merciless send-up of its cutthroat intrigues and petty self-delusions is unbelievably good—or rather, believably so. This is global do-gooder satire on a literary par with Doris Lessing’s The Summer before the Dark…Le Carré [has written] a smart, melancholy page-turner, and his moral outrage (the real subject of his books) burns as brightly as ever.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Richly detailed, full of righteous fire to offset its desperate prognosis, The Constant Gardener is a very impressive piece of work. It is certainly one of John le Carré’s best books.”

    Times Literary Supplement (London)

  • “Tough-minded, fast-moving, and uncompromising, The Constant Gardener is a tale of personal transformation…eloquent…civilized and forceful.”

    Boston Globe

  • “The book breathes life, anger, and excitement.”

    Observer (London)

  • “Nobody writing today manipulates suspense better. A powerful moving novel that stands with le Carré’s best. It is, in order words, essential reading.”

    Sunday Telegraph (London)

  • “Le Carré has never been angrier or more satisfyingly entertaining.”

    New York Daily News

  • “There is only one character in le Carré’s latest novel who retains any belief in government as a force for good in the world, and she has been brutally murdered before the action begins…Her naïve husband, the constant gardener of the title, rises from his lethargy to follow Tessa’s trail…Readers who want a triumphant saga of right-thinking individuals bringing the corporate monolith to its knees should rent Erin Brockovich, but The Constant Gardener is not only about the triumph of the gray men who rule the world. It’s also a love story, and as we watch Justin take on his wife’s cause in spite of himself, we realize that there are parts of ourselves that the gray men will never reach.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Le Carré’s manifold skills at scene setting and creating a range of fearsomely convincing English characters, from the bluffly absurd to the irredeemably corrupt, are at their smooth peak here. Both The Tailor of Panama and Single and Single were feeling their way toward this wholehearted assault on the way the world works, by a man who knows much better than most novelists writing today how it works. Now subject and style are one, and the result is heart wrenching.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The most intimate of le Carré’s thrillers since the salad days of George Smiley…at its core the old, familiar story of a decent man driven to avenge the wife he never really knew.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “When his activist wife is found raped and murdered in a remote part of Kenya, her ineffectual husband, a career diplomat stationed in Nairobi, seeks out those responsible. Many le Carré fans found this new opus a disappointment, but we occasional visitors to his domain of espionage and sleuthing appreciate his elegant style, rich characterization, and Graham Greenish exploration of moral ambiguity. He reads as well as he writes. His sonorous voice and nuanced delivery perfectly complement his authorial personality.”


  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Helen | 2/10/2014

    " This was a very complicated book with lots of intrigue and it did not have a happy ending. And although fiction I think some of the things about the drugs company's may be true. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Maureen | 1/26/2014

    " Listened to this book as an audio book and was very confused most of the time. Hard to tell what was a flashback. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Nancy | 1/19/2014

    " After several hundred pages, I had no interest in the story, didn't care one bit about any of the characters, and put this book down... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by René | 1/12/2014

    " Not le carre's best book but still a great read. "

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