A young boy, Victor, is collected from school by a stranger in a bowler hat - the stranger says he has won Victor in a game of backgammon with Victor's father. The stranger, known as the Captain, takes Victor to live with the sweet but withdrawn Lisa, where he serves as her conduit to the outside world. From mysterious beginnings, Graham Greene's final novel becomes a twisting thriller of smuggling, jewel theft and international espionage which culminates in a dramatic showdown in Panama.
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One of the two or three novelists who really count -
A slim and curious tale - The Times
At once Dickensian and new, an exploration of the soul of a young boy and a portrait of sad loving by memorable adults - Chicago Tribune
In this short, skillful book we enter those disparate worlds Greene has made his own - the England of Brighton Rock and the exotic Central American territories in which his restless talent has so often roamed - New York Times
A rattling good yarn. Under the spur of Greene's sharp, light touch, its narrative gallops along. Opening with a chase across a playground, rapidly followed by an abduction, it nimbly twists and turns through a maze of imposture, jewel robbery and fleeings from the law before leaping overseas for a final burst of international espionage, weapon-smuggling, freedom fighting and political murder - Sunday Times
Purely enjoyable...a small miracle of construction - Guardian
Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa.
As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.