A Legacy of Spies (Hardback)John le Carré (author)
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After 25 years, Smiley is back...
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 scrutinised under disturbing criteria by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.
Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own intense story, John le Carré 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.
Of le Carre’s fiction, The Guardian commented ‘…he invokes deep, almost religious ideas of betrayal, trust, faith, and that’s why we love it’.
One of the greatest spy novelists of all time, John le Carré was born in 1931. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People all featuring his most famous character, George Smiley, the quintessential Cold War operative. An antidote to Fleming’s racier James Bond, Smiley is cool, thoughtful, somewhat academic and (superficially) “breathtakingly normal” with a somewhat ambivalent attitude to the Service and its efficacy. His other novels, thrillers which range widely covering variously political issues of the arms trade, modern conflict and drug-trafficking, include: A Most Wanted Man, Our Kind of Traitor, A Delicate Truth and the recently adapted The Night Manager. His only work of non-fiction, The Pigeon Tunnel, was a Number One bestseller in 2016.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 553 g
Dimensions: 240 x 162 x 28 mm
"Vintage le Carre as he ingeniously closes the circle of his long career ... This is an immensely clever piece of novelistic engineering, of which its deviser can be justifiably proud. The ingenuity and skill with which the thing is brought off is breathtaking - really, 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 ,The Guardian
"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
"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
"It is a splendid novel...It is riveting, bitter and will be controversial...le Carre's handling of dialogue remains perfectly fresh. Who else can tell you so much about so many people so quickly? Not a syllable is wasted." - Andrew Marr, The Sunday Times
"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 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 *Utterly engrossing and perfectly pitched, it is a triumph * Daily Mail *
The literary event of the Autumn * Evening Standard *
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“An unsettling but utterly masterful piece of storytelling ”
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“Goodbye to The Circus”
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