Highly recommended "spy" fiction that reaches toward great literature.
In 2002, right after 9-11, John Le Carre embarked on this prescient project. He saw the lack of cooperation on the part of Old Europe in the War on Terror (remember the unwarranted invasion of Iraq?) and Le Carre wrote the definitive account of American betrayal of all their alliances and ideals in the service of realpolitik and neo-Christian fundamentalist American naivete.
In this work of near-historical fiction, even the title and the main character's extended decades-long relationship serve as a brilliant synedoche for the global politics and the tensions of the post 9-11 era. The way Germany and Britain and maintained an uneasy and fraught alliance since World War II is described not only in terms of overt politics, but also on a microcosmic level in the friendship of the two main characters, Sasha and Mundy. Le Carre exploits that dual relationship (Germany/England AND Sasha/Mundy) with careful thrusts that hit precisely perfect on the historical notes, but also demonstrates how carefully formed and fully fleshed his characters have become in the hands of a fiction master.
As is so often the case in Le Carre's writing, these seem to be real human beings we are reading about, not fictional phantasms.
Le Carre's mastery is in allowing his story to play out in all of its complicated rhythm, instead of truncating it to fit a Twitter-esque age. He makes us believe deeply in his characters, in order to demonstrate the true weight of catastrophic destruction that occurred in the War on Terror.
A masterwork, written presciently in a time of cultural frisson