A Legacy of Spies: A Novel (Hardcover)
Peter Guillam, long since retired to his ancestral farmstead in Brittany, is called to account by his former employer, the British Secret Intelligence Service, for his role in Windfall, a Cold War deception operation mounted against the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic. As the novel proceeds, one gradually recognizes that Windfall is the operation described in le Carré's 1963 masterpiece, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It's not often a novelist has an opportunity to return to an early success and recast it in a contemporary light. Le Carré succeeds admirably well. -Graham— From Fall Booknotes 2017
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
The undisputed master returns with his first Smiley novel in more than twenty-five years--a #1 New York Times bestseller.
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 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. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carré and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new.
About the Author
John le Carré 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 the last fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.
“[Le Carré's] novels are so brilliant because they’re emotionally and psychologically absolutely true, but of course they’re novels.” —New York Times Book Review
“Le Carré’s prose remains brisk and lapidary. His wit is intact and rolls as if on casters... I might as well say it: to read this simmering novel is to come in from the cold.” —New York Times
“Le Carré is such a gifted storyteller that he interlaces the cards in his deck so they fit not simply with this book, but with the earlier ones as well.” —The Atlantic
"A kind of eulogy for the present as well as the past, A Legacy of Spies is haunting." —Chicago Tribune
"Swift and satisfying." —USA Today
“We wish for more complexity and logic in our politics, so we look to make political art that is logical and complex: a genre defined by John le Carré.” —New Republic
“The spy master’s latest Smiley novel entwines today’s world with a lost one... Ingenious."
"Intricately plotted and richly satisfying." —Star Tribune
"Gripping."—The Christian Science Monitor
"[Le Carré] can convey a character in a sentence, land an emotional insight in [a] phrase & demolish an ideology in a paragraph." —Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Any reader who knows le Carré's earlier work, and quite a few who don't, will assume that any attempt to second-guess the mandarins of the Service will backfire. The miracle is that the author can revisit his best-known story and discover layer upon layer of fresh deception beneath it.”
Praise for John le Carré
“One of our great writers of moral ambiguity, a tireless explorer of that darkly contradictory no-man’s land.”
—Los Angeles Times
“No other writer has charted—pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers—the public and secret histories of his times.”
—The Guardian (UK)
“I would suggest immortality for John le Carré, who I believe one of the most intelligent and entertaining writers working today.”
—Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune
“The constant flow of emotion lifts le Carré not only above all modern suspense novelists, but above most novelists now practicing.”
“A writer of towering gifts.”
—The Independent (UK)