A Legacy of Spies: A Novel
Half a century-old details of the failed Windfall mission resurface to haunt one-time spy Peter Guillam. Called unexpectedly to London from his retirement in Brittany, Guillam, a key member of the fictional but highly credible Circus intelligence unit in Britain during the Cold War, recognizes the smooth interview as an interrogation. His attempt to play the role of an old man with diminishing cognitive ability falls short, and he is plunged back into the tragedy of an abortive quest and the still-keen loss of a passionate love.
Only a writer as skilled as le Carré can draw past and present together to become a double page-turner. Guillam, alternately contemptuous and baffled in this latest saga, seeks his beloved mentor, the incomparable George Smiley, a name familiar to earlier readers and soon adopted by new ones, all eager to learn if the legendary agent is still alive.
Betrayal and assassination, two of the mainstays in any le Carré venture, are here in spades. What was less foreseen is the timing, though one suspects the author still has his finger firmly in certain pies. The Cold War is over, but the détente with Russia today shows a slight strain, an unwelcome shiver.
John Le Carré