A Legacy of Spies: Book summary and reviews of A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré

A Legacy of Spies

by John le Carré

A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré X
A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré
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  • Published Sep 2017
    272 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

Interweaving past with present, John le Carré has spun a single plot as ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which A Legacy of Spies looks back: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The undisputed master returns with a riveting new book - his first Smiley novel in more than twenty-five years.

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.

Note: Although billed as a George Smiley novel, Carré's much loved protagonist has only a brief cameo appearance in A Legacy of Spies.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Le Carré incorporates many layers of meaning and numerous memorable characters into this intense story that pulses with tension, humor, and moral ambivalence. Smiley fans will be lining up for this one." - Library Journal

"Starred Review. 'How much of our human feeling can we dispense with in the name of freedom, would you say, before we cease to feel either human or free?' Those who have followed le Carrè's career will relish the opportunity to revisit that enduring conundrum." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Readers familiar with le Carré will recognize allusions everywhere; those who aren't won't be left out, given the power of the storytelling and le Carré's inimitable prose. He can convey a character in a sentence, land an emotional insight in the smallest phrase - and demolish an ideology in a paragraph." - Library Journal

"The miracle is that the author can revisit his best-known story and discover layer upon layer of fresh deception beneath it." - Kirkus

This information about A Legacy of Spies was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

John le Carré Author Biography

Author photograph by Simone Casetta

John Le Carré is the pen name of David Cornwell. Cornwell was born in Poole, Dorset (in the South-West of England) in 1931. His father, Ronnie, made and lost his fortune a number of times due to elaborate confidence tricks and schemes which landed him in prison on at least one occasion. This, according to Cornwell, was one of the factors that led to his fascination with secrets. His father was also the inspiration for the lead character in The Honourable Schoolboy (1977).

Cornwell's mother left home when he was five or six years old - he did not see her again until he was 21.

He attended Sherborne School - a British boarding school, but was unhappy and dropped out at the age of 16. For a little under a year (in 1948-1949) he studied German at the University of Berne in Switzerland; ...

... Full Biography
Link to John le Carré's Website

Name Pronunciation
John le Carré: luh KAR-AY

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