A Legacy of Spies

A Novel

Publisher: Viking
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 for its justifications.

Interweaving past and present so that each tells 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.

PRAISE FOR

One of The Guardian’s Best Books of 2017

One of The Guardian's Best Crime Books and Thrillers of 2017


A Los Angeles Times Best Book of 2017

A Barnes and Noble Reads Best Thrillers of 2017 selection

A National Post Best Books of the Year selection


“[Le Carré] can convey a character in a sentence, land an emotional insight in [a] phrase and demolish an ideology in a paragraph.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“John le Carré’s triumph (and consequent burden) is that he created characters and language so evocative of the spy world that they became more real in readers’ minds than real people or events…. 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…. I read most of the book in one pleasurable sitting.” —The Atlantic

"Le Carré’s prose remains brisk and lapidary. His wit is intact and rolls as if on casters. He is as profitably interested as ever in values, especially the places where loyalty, patriotism and affection rub together and fray. He wears his gravitas lightly. . . . He thinks internationally but feels domestically. In an upside-down time, he appeals to comprehension rather than instinct. I might as well say it: to read this simmering novel is to come in from the cold.” —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Magazine

“Thrilling and fascinating – a satisfying close to the saga.” —The Independent

“le Carré possesses a singular talent for making embassy cables read like car chases, and even readers wholly unfamiliar with Smiley and his Circus act are likely to find something quietly compelling in this tale of an old spymaster questioning whether any of it, in the end, really ever meant a damn.” —The Globe and Mail

“Brilliant storytelling, beautiful writing and bucketloads of suspense guarantee this will appeal as much to those who've never read Le Carré as it will to devotees. The master of the spy thriller remains at the top of his game.” —The Sydney Morning Herald

“John Le Carre has produced his greatest, and probably his last, spy novel. . . . Reading A Legacy of Spies is a treat, and will bring readers who find it so to a double-header.” —Ottawa Citizen

“A clever plot allows John le Carré, the elegance of his writing undimmed, to indulge in a nostalgic comparison between espionage then and now.” —The Times, A Best Crime Fiction of 2017 selection 

“this novella takes the devoted reader back to the very best of le Carre: The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.” —Bloomberg

Praise for A Delicate Truth:
"At the moment a new generation is stumbling upon his work, le Carré is still writing at something close to the top of his game. . . . [A Delicate Truth] has a gently flickering love story and jangling ending. And le Carré has not lost his ability to sketch, in a line or two, an entire character." —Dwight Garner, The New York Times Magazine

"The narrative dominoes fall with masterly precision. . . . As ever, le Carré's prose is fluid, carrying the reader toward an inevitable yet nail-biting climax." —Olen Steinhauer, The New York Times Book Review