A Legacy of Spies
|Author:||John le Carré|
The undisputed master returns with a riveting new book--his first Smiley novel in more than twenty-five years
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience for its justifications.
Interweaving past and present so that each tells its own intense story, John le Carr has spun a single plot as ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which it looks back: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carr and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters, old and new.
Not since The Spy Who Came in From The Cold has le Carre exercised his gift as a storyteller so powerfully and to such thrilling effect -- John Banville * Guardian * Gripping, fast-paced . . . A splendid novel -- Andrew Marr * Sunday Times * A brilliant novel of deception, love and trust to join his supreme espionage canon -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Evening Standard, Books of the Year * Perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the 20th century in Britain. He will have charted our decline and recorded the nature of our bureaucracies like no one else has. He's in the first rank -- Ian McEwan This novel offers more than one pleasure. It is not merely good in itself - vintage John le Carre. It gives the reader, at long last, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that have been missing for 54 years.... A Legacy of Spies does something remarkable. Le Carre takes a le Carre classic and thickens it into something different from what it was....Like wine, le Carre's writing has got richer with age...Don't wait for the paperback * The Times * le Carre's masterful new novel -- Jonathan Freedland * The Guardian * The English canon has rarely seen an acclaimed novelist and popular entertainer sustain such a hot streak in old age....A Legacy of Spies achieves many things. Outstandingly, it is a defiant assertion of creative vigour...Cornwell is signing off with a poignant and brilliant au revoir to le Carre, his alter ego, a writer who is with the immortals * The Observer * A Legacy of Spies deploys a complex and ingeniously layered structure to make the past alive in the present once more ... le Carre has not lost his touch * Evening Standard * His writing is as crisp as ever ... another tale of intrigue which will slip effortlessly into its place in the Smiley canon * Daily Express * A tense, intricately plotted espionage thriller . . . sheer genius from le Carre * Saga Magazine * A compelling tale of Cold War duplicity and manoeuvrings in the British secret service ... as ever much of the pleasure of reading le Carre is that you have to be on your intellectual mettle -- William Boyd * New Statesman * Part of the pleasure of this novel is that the characters seem so much cleverer than we are ... haunting, fascinating ... it also made me want to reread the entire Smiley sequence * Spectator * Le Carre is on absolutely cracking form. No writer has ever been better at turning the act of two people talking politely to each other across a desk into a blood sport * The Daily Telegraph * Le Carre has always known how to make his readers hang on barbed-wire tenterhooks. He drip-feeds information with such suspense-building miserliness that our befogged state matches that of the field agents - the "joes" - who glimpse one piece of the secret jigsaw at a time * Financial Times * The old magic still holds . . . I might as well say it: to read this simmering novel is to come in from the cold * New York Times * What are we to make of Smiley? What is his game? Do we like him? Admire him? Every le Carre reader has wrestled with these questions-and A Legacy of Spies brings them to the fore more directly than any previous book * Vanity Fair * Ingenious * Washington Post * Utterly engrossing and perfectly pitched, it is a triumph * Daily Mail * We are back in the more interesting territory of moral uncertainty and failure. What, Smiley asks, was he fighting for? * TLS * The literary event of the Autumn * Evening Standard * I have re-read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold over and over again since I first encountered it in my teens, just to remind myself how extraordinary a work of fiction can be -- Malcolm Gladwell He can communicate emotion, from sweating fear to despairing love, with terse and compassionate conviction. Above all, he can tell a tale. Formidable equipment for a rare and disturbing writer * Sunday Times * He's one of those writers who will be read a century from now -- Robert Harris The best spy story I have ever read -- Graham Greene on The Spy Who Came In From The Cold A literary master for a generation * Observer * George Smiley is our favourite fictional spy * Sunday Express * le Carre has made and peopled a myth. Myths do not age * Financial Times * Deeply moving in its portrait of a man adrift in a climate he no longer understands * Metro * [As] labyrinthine as you'd expect ... le Carre has always been a master * The Tablet * Razor-sharp insight from the battle-weary Guillam and fascinating glimpses into the murky spycraft at the height of the Cold War only add to the joy of this sublimely accomplished thriller * The People * This is a truly wonderful, morally complex, politically astute novel written with elegance and panache . . . the visceral thrill of its twists and its complexities, its edge-of-the-seat qualities * Scotland on Sunday * [Le Carre's] writing has lost none of its pith or potency . . . his powers of invention have kept up with the pace of an ever-changing and complex world' * The Scotsman * Thrilling and fascinating - a satisfying close to the saga * The Independent * This sublime thriller * Sunday Mirror * This really is vintage le Carre * Mail on Sunday * It's brilliantly done and very enjoyable * Prospect * [A] late-career triumph * 1843 Magazine *
John le Carre was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton and served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For more than fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.