A gardener and a sea king: books read

One of the complaints I’ve sometimes seen about John le Carré’s work is that so many of his protagonists have identical troubled, miserable marriages, and that’s pretty accurate (despite exceptions such as The Russia House). Part of what makes THE CONSTANT GARDENER arresting is that the marriage is a happy one despite all the usual warning signs (she’s hot, a lot younger than he is, everyone assumes she’s cheating on him) — although of course we start the story with Justin, a British diplomat in Kenya, learning his wife Tessa has just died. Refusing to believe the official story Justin starts digging and soon discovers Big Pharma and its government allies have been using Kenyans as lab rats for a new drug. Reminiscent of Le Carré’s brooding about corruption in The Tailor of Panama, though slightly more hopeful things can change. Overall excellent, though the scenes where Justin learns about ISPs and computer viruses are horribly antiquated now.

AQUAMAN: Crown of Atlantis by Dan Abnett and various artists is a good follow-up to Black Manta Rising as Aquaman copes with his new popularity in the surface world (“Here come more Aquafans!”), battles an other-dimensional monster and doesn’t notice that Atlantis is starting to get fed up with him. Abnett doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel — Aquaman struggling with Atlantean politics is a plot that goes back to the Bronze Age — but they do a solid job and offer entertaining stories.

#SFWApro. Cover image by John Fontana, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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