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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

New John le Carre novel to bring back Cold War British spy George Smiley

John le Carre’s new novel A Legacy of Spies, scheduled for a September 7 release, will revive characters from the Smiley series.

books Updated: Mar 08, 2017 20:43 IST
Associated Press
Associated Press
New York
British novelist John le Carre  worked for the British intelligence during the Cold War.
British novelist John le Carre worked for the British intelligence during the Cold War. (By Krimidoedel via Wikimedia Commons)

Welcome back, George Smiley.

After a hiatus of more than 25 years, John le Carre is again writing about one of the world’s most famous fictional spies. Publisher Viking said on Tuesday that le Carre’s new novel A Legacy of Spies will come out on September 7. According to the publisher, the novel is narrated by Smiley’s trusted ally, Peter Guillam, who has been summoned to London out of his retirement.

“His Cold War past has come back to claim him,” Viking announced. “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 under disturbing criteria by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.”

The novel will also refer to the le Carre classics The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Viking declined to say whether Smiley, who was apparently born at least 100 years ago, is still alive or only remembered in flashback. Le Carre, 85, last wrote about Smiley in the 1991 novel, The Secret Pilgrim, which came out as the Cold War was ending. His other Smiley books include The Honourable Schoolboy and The Looking Glass War. On-screen, Smiley has been played by Alec Guinness and Gary Oldman, among others.

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First Published: Mar 08, 2017 20:39 IST

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