A Legacy of Spies Paperback – 31 May 2018
|Paperback, 31 May 2018||
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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 Carré's writing has got richer with age ― 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 ― 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
What are we to make of Smiley? What is his game? Do we like him? Admire him? Every le Carré reader has wrestled with these questions-and A Legacy of Spies brings them to the fore more directly than any previous book ― Vanity Fair
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- Publisher : Penguin (31 May 2018)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0241981611
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241981610
- Item Weight : 340 g
- Dimensions : 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
- Country of Origin : India
- Generic Name : Book
- Best Sellers Rank: #125,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top reviews from India
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A must for all serious readers of English fiction.
My generation will be nostalgic for the days of George Smiley and the newer generation will be stimulated, I hope, to read the old classics like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Penguin Modern Classics) , Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel , The Honourable Schoolboy , Smiley's People etc.
By Dippy on 20 September 2017
A must for all serious readers of English fiction.
My generation will be nostalgic for the days of George Smiley and the newer generation will be stimulated, I hope, to read the old classics like [[ASIN:0141194529 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Penguin Modern Classics)]], [[ASIN:0143119788 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel]], [[ASIN:0340993774 The Honourable Schoolboy]], [[ASIN:0340993782 Smiley's People]] etc.
Top reviews from other countries
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.
Smiley has appeared in a number of Le Carre's novels, sometimes as a principal protagonist as in the first two novels or "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy," in others as a minor character. He makes an appearance in this novel and his presence is felt. But the main character in "A Legacy of Spies" is another character who will be familiar to Le Carre readers namely Peter Guillam who is the narrator here.
Writing in the first person is to my knowledge is new to Le Carre. But it works well. The writing is pacy and lucid. The book makes for a good read. Guillam has been recalled to London in Smiley's absence to deal with a fall out from the events described in "the Spy." Firstly from children of Leamas and Liz, and secondly from political masters with different values to those of the Cold War looking to expose the "sins" of the past.
There has always been an element of Le Carre being a moralist in some of his novels, even if this is not worn on the sleeve. This usually concerns the morality of politics and spying, not to mention matters of loyalties and betrayal. At the end of it Smiley voices a commentary on this which might be that of the whole Cold War. But at the same time the novel progresses as a story. Those wanting just a good read will not be disappointed either.
The novel could be read in isolation. But at the same time what is given here is a tying up of threads in the novels where Smiley appears . Much of it adds background to the events and characters described in "The Spy" and links them into events and characters in the later novels. "A Legacy" makes for a very satisfying tie up of the Smiley/Circus sequence of novels. Perhaps not Le Carre's very greatest, but up near them