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A Legacy of Spies
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A Legacy of Spies (Hardback)

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Foyles Notes

A new le Carré novel is a ribbon-bound gift to us all. A Legacy of Spies serves up everything a perfect spy novel should - high stakes, loyalties and duty questioned, and rising tension through a cobwebbed plot, with protagonists and reader hurtling towards an uncertain conclusion. Vintage le Carré, with echoes of the Cold War and the shadow of George Smiley lurking on every page.

Toby, Head Office


This is the first novel in over twenty-five years to feature George Smiley, le Carre's most beloved character. 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 Carre 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.

Fiction & PoetryCrime & ThrillersEspionage & spy thriller Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd Publication Date: 07/09/2017 ISBN-13: 9780241308547  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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John le Carre 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. His recent novels include A Most Wanted Man, Our Kind of Traitor and A Delicate Truth. His only work of non-fiction, The Pigeon Tunnel, was a Number One bestseller in 2016.

More books by John Le Carre

Customer Reviews

Enjoyable and re-readable despite its flaws. I humbly add this to my list of LeCarre's good novels. Spoiler alerts … The main flaw in this book is Mundt’s unexplained motivation for returning to East Germany. One could also complain about the anti-climactic nature of Smiley’s brief appearance, but by the time Guillam found Smiley it was already clear that the law case against Guillam would fall apart because of the cranky and unreliable nature of the witnesses. BTW, in the all-time list I would include The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (except the preachy last section, the drive to the Wall); The Looking-Glass War; Tinker, Tailor; Smiley’s People; The Honourable Schoolboy (only chapters 3 and 4; the rest reads as if LeCarre was hoping for a Hollywood screenplay sale — the super-beautiful girl, Fawn firing a machine gun out of a helicopter); The Secret Pilgrim; A Perfect Spy (if the father-son plot bores you, as it did me, read every other chapter and you’ll find a good spy story and, surprisingly for LeCarre, a strong and intelligent female lead character); The Russia House; and parts of The Pigeon Tunnel. As for LeCarre’s non-Smiley novels, I found The Little Drummer Girl, The Tailor of Panama and The Night Manager highly put-downable. I think there were a dozen others but I didn’t bother.

- 03/10/2017
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