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A Legacy of Spies by John le Carré

A Legacy of Spies (2017)

by John le Carré

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1,0324313,038 (3.88)29
"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 Carre 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 ColdandTinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carre and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new"--… (more)

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English (33)  German (3)  Catalan (2)  Danish (2)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (43)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
What a pleasure to be reunited with all of the wonderful characters of the George Smiley series. Whenever this grandmaster writes about spies, somehow you feel that he's just writing about all of us. ( )
  dbeveridge | Nov 8, 2019 |
A nice, gripping return to form by la Carré, featuring many of our old friends from previous stories. Read in one sitting on a lazy summer afternoon. ( )
  JBD1 | Sep 2, 2019 |
What a disappointment! Unfortunately yet more evidence of master spy story teller Le Carre's rapidly declining literary powers.
Apart from the portrayal of Peter Guillam not a single character is fully fleshed out - some, e.g. who is the "bald man from the multi-coloured volvo" (pages246-249 ) & why is 'Christoph' one moment the "walking four feet behind me, which is where the well taught gunman should be" and a just little walk later the "Christoph was beside me, slouched over the parapet, retching and sobbing in gulps of pain and anger" (page 243-249)?
Then there's the complete lack of George Smiley until the denouement (I suppose Le Carre intended it to be though it is so obscure it's hardly worth the read) except he's off in a foreign library & like some grand poseur declaims on what he will or won't do on Guillam's behalf, but there's bugger-all actual explanatory accounting for why the 'Service' & the politically correct 'Legal eagles' have left Smiley out of the loop!
Then there's the killing of Alec Leamas & his lady friend - the reasons for Mundt having them killed is clear, but detail on how the East German nasty (despite allegiance to UK) managed to accomplish that at the Wall is totally missing!
The above sort of loop-holes in narrative on the characters and episodes drag the whole 'Legacy' into disrepute because it really does not stack up as any type of possible indictment of Peter Guillam for alleged misconduct that either the spurious relatives or the Parliamentarians could build a case around.
I gave it 3 Stars because at least in 'Legacy' Le Carre continues that quality of literary vocabulary which was & is a hallmark of the great authors. ( )
  tommi180744 | Jul 17, 2019 |
I loved this. It was everything I hoped for in a new Smiley novel, except maybe not enough of Smiley himself. This is really Peter Guillam's story and a remembrance of the events of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. For fans of le Carre, there's a strong sense of nostalgia in this too-short novel. If you haven't read TSWCIFTC - you need to read that first. It's short, too, and an incredible work of literature in itself. You should probably read Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy first, too, if you haven't already. It's not critical, but there are spoilers for that book in this one, so consider yourself warned.

This has left me with a book hangover that I fear only another le Carre novel can cure. Maybe it's time I reread the Smiley novels. ( )
  DGRachel | Apr 2, 2019 |
Peter Guillam is retired from The Circus and living peacefully on his farm in Brittany when he is summoned to London. The Circus is being sued as a result of a long-ago operation and Peter is being set up to take the fall. Guillam tells the story of Operation Windfall in flashbacks and memos. The plaintiffs are the children of the victims of Windfall, who have little memory of the parents they lost or of the Cold War they were fighting. Peter Guillam is a disciple of George Smiley, and this novel deepens the story told in 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' and 'The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.' ( )
  rglossne | Dec 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
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Information from the Russian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Every man is born as many men and dies as a single one. Attributed to Heidegger
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What follows is a truthful account, as best I am able to provide it, of my role in the British deception operation, codenamed Windfall, that was mounted against the East German Intelligence Service (Stasi) in the late nineteen fifties and early sixties, and resulted in the death of the best British secret agent I ever worked with, and of the innocent woman for whom he gave his life.
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
… sarò una specie di studente fuori corso costretto a prepararsi per un esame che avrebbe dovuto dare già da un pezzo. Di tanto in tanto l'allievo dal talento inespresso sarà trascinato fuori dall'aula per essere interrogato da esaminatori che, nonostante abbiano conoscenze inspiegabilmente inferiori alle sue, passeranno il tempo a torchiarlo. Di tanto in tanto sarà così scioccato dalle sciocchezze che ha commesso in passato da essere tentato di negarle, ma le prove che lo condannano usciranno dalla sua stessa bocca.
La scrivania a cui sono seduto non è affatto una scrivania, ma un tavolo con i cavalletti sistemato nel bel mezzo della biblioteca, come la forca per un condannato a morte in piazza. Le librerie alle pareti sono sparite; restano, sulla carta da parati in rilievo, alcune tracce della loro presenza, come ombre delle sbarre di una cella.
Quando la verità vi raggiunge, non fate gli eroi: scappate.
Visto alla luce della lampada a olio, il suo viso scavato appare contorto per l'età e la sofferenza. La sua schiena sbilenca si appoggia alla modesta tappezzeria. I torturati sono una classe di persone a sé stante. Si possono fare ipotesi su dove sono stati, ma mai su quello che hanno riportato indietro.
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