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A Legacy of Spies


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For the first time in over 30 years, John le Carre returns to the Cold War in this thrilling masterpiece.

About the Author

John le Carre was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. 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. At the end of the Cold War, le Carre widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020.


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
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 . . . Like wine, le Carre's writing has got richer with age * 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 * 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 *
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 *
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 *
A splendid novel * Sunday Times *
An immensely clever piece of novelistic engineering * Guardian *

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