A Legacy of Spies

A Legacy of Spies

3.9 (12,764 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Chosen as a Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement, the Evening Standard, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, The Times

'A brilliant novel of deception, love and trust to join his supreme cannon' Evening Standard

'Vintage le Carre. Immensely clever, 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, Guardian

Peter Guillam, former disciple of George Smiley in the British Secret Service, has long retired to Brittany when a letter arrives, summoning him to London. The reason? Cold War ghosts have come back to haunt him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of the Service are to be dissected by a generation with no memory of the Berlin Wall. Somebody must pay for innocent blood spilt in the name of the greater good . . .

'Utterly engrossing and perfectly pitched. There is only one le Carre. Eloquent, subtle, sublimely paced' Daily Mail

'Splendid, fast-paced, riveting' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times

'Remarkable. Vintage John le Carre. It gives the reader, at long last, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that have been missing for 54 years. 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's in the first rank' Ian McEwan

'One of those writers who will be read a century from now' Robert Harris
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Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 26mm | 340g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241981611
  • 9780241981610
  • 22,550

Review Text

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
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Review quote

An immensely clever piece of novelistic engineering * Guardian * A splendid novel * Sunday Times * [A] late-career triumph * 1843 Magazine * It's brilliantly done and very enjoyable * Prospect * This really is vintage le Carre * Mail on Sunday * This sublime thriller * Sunday Mirror * Thrilling and fascinating - a satisfying close to the saga * The Independent * [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 * 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 * 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 * [As] labyrinthine as you'd expect ... le Carre has always been a master * The Tablet * Deeply moving in its portrait of a man adrift in a climate he no longer understands * Metro * le Carre has made and peopled a myth. Myths do not age * Financial Times * George Smiley is our favourite fictional spy * Sunday Express * A literary master for a generation * Observer * The best spy story I have ever read -- Graham Greene on The Spy Who Came In From The Cold He's one of those writers who will be read a century from now -- Robert Harris 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 * 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 The literary event of the Autumn * Evening Standard * We are back in the more interesting territory of moral uncertainty and failure. What, Smiley asks, was he fighting for? * TLS * Utterly engrossing and perfectly pitched, it is a triumph * Daily Mail * Ingenious * Washington Post * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * 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 * A tense, intricately plotted espionage thriller . . . sheer genius from le Carre * Saga Magazine * 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 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 * 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 * le Carre's masterful new novel -- Jonathan Freedland * 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 A brilliant novel of deception, love and trust to join his supreme espionage canon -- Simon Sebag Montefiore * Evening Standard, Books of the Year * Gripping, fast-paced . . . A splendid novel -- Andrew Marr * Sunday Times * 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 *
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About John Le Carré

John le Carre 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 more than fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.
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Rating details

12,764 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 30% (3,809)
4 40% (5,165)
3 22% (2,862)
2 5% (683)
1 2% (245)
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