A Legacy of Spies Paperback – 3 May 2018
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Not since The Spy Who Came in From The Cold has le Carré 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 Carré. 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 Carré takes a le Carré classic and thickens it into something different from what it was....Like wine, le Carré's writing has got richer with age...Don't wait for the paperback (The Times)
le Carré'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 Carré, 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 Carré 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 Carré (Saga Magazine)
From the Inside Flap
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his 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 are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.
Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carré has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.See all Product description
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You need to be aware of some half-witted newspaper reviews of this book. They don't seem to have read closely and understood the chronology, and so you will read some disparaging comments about George Smiley making an appearance when he is over 100 years old. They have missed the point that the events in "A Legacy..." are not happening in the present day. The chronology is thus: the narrator Peter Guillam is at some point in the 2010s (perhaps even 2017) is reflecting back upon both events in the mid-1990s when he was required by the Service to revisit events of the late 1950s. There are clues to the 1990s setting through the book (e.g. the description of the Mi6 building in Vauxhall makes it seem relatively new; Guillam is asked if he has a mobile phone or an e-mail, which would be odd questions to ask someone nowadays). Then toward the end of the book, Le Carre drops in a line almost as a throw-away which indicates that the narration is reflecting historical events.
It is a lovely touch by Le Carre ; a bit of "circle-within- a-circle" misdirection befitting a novel about spies.
So, for your mental picture assume a Peter Guillam in his mid-eighties; reflecting on a time in the mid-1990s. In the mid-1990s, Guillam is in his early sixties and is recently retired and George Smiley is in his early eighties. Guillam is being required to revisit events of the late 1950s and early 1960s when he was in his late twenties to early thirties.
Not so difficult to get the head around. The critics in the newspaper book reviews should perhaps stick to Dan Brown books.