A Legacy of Spies

A new novel from New York Times bestselling author John le Carré. This is the first novel in over 25 years to feature George Smiley, le Carré’s most beloved character.
A Legacy of Spies

Books

A Perfect Spy

John le Carré

'The best English novel since the war' Philip Roth

Magnus Pym - ranking diplomat, consummate Englishman, loving husband, secret agent - has vanished. Has he defected? Gone to ground? As the hunt for Pym intensifies, the secrets of his life are revealed: the people he has loved and betrayed, the unreliable con-man father who made him, the two mentors who moulded and shaped him, and now wish to claim this perfect spy as their own.

Described by le Carré as his most autobiographical novel, A Perfect Spy is a devastating portrayal of a man who has played different roles for so long, he no longer knows who he is.

'Le Carré understood that espionage is an extreme version of the human comedy, even the human tragedy. A Perfect Spy will very likely remain his greatest book' New Yorker

The Little Drummer Girl

John le Carré

'Wonderful' The New York Times

Charlie, a jobbing young English actress, is accustomed to playing different roles. But when the mysterious, battle-scarred Joseph recruits her into the Israeli secret services, she enters the dangerous 'theatre of the real'. As she acts out her part in an intricate, high-stakes plot to trap and kill a Palestinian terrorist, it threatens to consume her.

Set in the tragic arena of the Middle East conflict, this compelling story of love and torn loyalties plays out against the backdrop of an unwinnable war.

'The Little Drummer Girl is about spies as Madame Bovary is about adultery or Crime and Punishment about crime' The New York Times

The Naive and Sentimental Lover

John le Carré

'Splendid ... le Carré shows how endowed he is with the gift of storytelling' The Times

Aldo Cassidy is a cautious man. He has a pleasant family, drives a safe, expensive car and wears luxurious clothes. But his soothing existence is upended when he meets Shamus and Helen - a dazzling, bohemian couple who are everything he is not. As he is drawn into their reckless and unpredictable orbit, all that Cassidy thought he understood about his orderly life begins to unravel.

Told with le Carré's lacerating wit and penetrating observation, The Naive and Sentimental Lover is an acerbic satire of middle-class hypocrisies.

'Le Carré is the equal of any novelist now writing' Guardian

The Honourable Schoolboy

John le Carré

In the second part of John le Carré's Karla Trilogy, the battle of wits between spymaster George Smiley and his Russian adversary takes on an even more dangerous dimension.

George Smiley, now acting head of the Circus, must rebuild its shattered reputation after one of the biggest betrayals in its history. Using the talents of journalist and occasional spy Jerry Westerby, Smiley launches a risky operation uncovering a Russian money-laundering scheme in the Far East. His aim: revenge on Karla, head of Moscow Centre and the architect of all his troubles.

'Energy, compassion, rich and overwhelming sweep of character and action' The Times

'A remarkable sequel ... the achievement is in the characters, major and minor ... all burned on the brain of the reader' The New York Times

THE SIXTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

John le Carré

The first part of John le Carré's acclaimed Karla Trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sees the beginning of the stealthy Cold War cat-and-mouse game between the taciturn, dogged George Smiley and his wily Soviet counterpart.

A mole, implanted by Moscow Centre, has infiltrated the highest ranks of the British Intelligence Service, almost destroying it in the process. And so former spymaster George Smiley has been brought out of retirement in order to hunt down the traitor at the very heart of the Circus - even though it may be one of those closest to him.

'A stunning story' Wall Street Journal

'A great thriller, the best le Carré has written' Spectator

THE FIFTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

Smiley's People

John le Carré

The concluding part of John le Carré's celebrated Karla Trilogy, Smiley's People sees the last confrontation between the indefatigable spymaster George Smiley and his great enemy, as their rivalry comes to a shattering end.

A Soviet defector has been assassinated on English soil, and George Smiley is called back to the Circus to clear up - and cover up - the mess. But what he discovers sends him delving into the past, on a trail through Hamburg and Paris to Cold War Berlin - and a final showdown with his elusive nemesis, Karla.

'An enormously skilled and satisfying work' Newsweek

'We are all Smiley's people, a kind of secular god of intelligence' New Yorker

THE SEVENTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

Single & Single

John le Carré

'An adventure that takes us to the ends of the earth via the rich but often barren landscape of the human heart' The Times

Why was an English lawyer shot dead in Turkey by his firm's top client? How can a down-at-heel magician in Devon explain the vast fortune that has mysteriously appeared in his daughter's trust fund? With customs officer Nat Brock on the trail, the answers point to the House of Single - once a respectable finance company, now entangled with a Russian crime syndicate.

West is pitted against East, and the British establishment against a labyrinthine criminal superpower, in le Carré's searing novel of lives built upon lies.

'A masterly work, faultless fiction of the highest order' Glasgow Herald

The Constant Gardener

John le Carré

'The book breathes life, anger and excitement' Observer

Tessa Quayle, a brilliant and beautiful young social activist, has been found brutally murdered by Lake Turkana in Nairobi. The rumours are that she was faithless, careless, but her husband Justin, a reserved, garden-loving British diplomat, refuses to believe them. As he sets out to discover what really happened to Tessa, he unearths a conspiracy more disturbing, and more deadly, than he could ever have imagined.

A blistering exposé of global corruption, The Constant Gardener is also the moving portrayal of a man searching for justice for the woman he has barely had time to love.


'A cracking thriller' Economist

Absolute Friends

John le Carré

'One of his most enthralling creations' Daily Telegraph

Broke and working as a tour guide in Germany, rootless Englishman Ted Mundy catches a glimpse of an old friend hiding in the shadows. A friend he thought was lost to him. A friend who took him from radical 1960s Berlin to life as a double agent. Now, decades later, the Cold War is over and the war on terror has begun. Sasha has another mission for them both, but this time it is impossible to tell the difference between allies - and enemies.

Set in a world of lies and shifting allegiances, Absolute Friends is a savage fable of our times.

'Thoroughly gripping' Sunday Times

The Mission Song

John le Carré

'Mesmerising' Sunday Times

As an interpreter of African languages, Bruno Salvador is much in demand. He makes it a principle to remain neutral - no matter what he hears. But when he is summoned on a secret job for British Intelligence, he is told he will have to get his hands dirty. His mission is to help bring democracy to the Congo - democracy that will be delivered at the end of a gun barrel.

The Mission Song is an excoriating depiction of a corrupt world where loyalty can be bought and war is simply an opportunity to settle old scores.

'Simply astonishing ... a formidably sophisticated work of fiction' Charles Cumming

A Most Wanted Man

John le Carré

'One of the most sophisticated fictional responses to the war on terror yet published' Guardian

An illegal Muslim immigrant arrives in Hamburg with a traumatic past and the key to a fortune held in a private bank. He says his name is Issa. To the idealistic young human rights lawyer Annabel, determined to save him from deportation, he is a worthy cause. To the intelligence services of Britain, Germany and America, however, he is a potential jihadist - and a pawn between them as they seek to make a kill in the war on terror.

A Most Wanted Man is a gripping and disquieting story of paranoia, disillusionment and betrayal in the moral no-man's land of the post-9/11 world.

'A first-class novel about the most pressing concerns of our time' Daily Telegraph

A Legacy of Spies

John le Carré

Chosen as a Book of the Year in The Times Literary Supplement, the Evening Standard, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, The Times

'A brilliant novel of deception, love and trust to join his supreme cannon' Evening Standard

'Vintage le Carré. Immensely clever, breathtaking. Really, not since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold has le Carré exercised his gift as a storyteller so powerfully and to such thrilling effect' John Banville, Guardian

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his 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 are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.

Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carré has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.

'Utterly engrossing and perfectly pitched. There is only one le Carré. Eloquent, subtle, sublimely paced' Daily Mail

'Splendid, fast-paced, riveting' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times

'Remarkable. Vintage John le Carré. It gives the reader, at long last, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that have been missing for 54 years. Like wine, le Carré's writing has got richer with age. Don't wait for the paperback' The Times

'Perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the 20th century in Britain. He's in the first rank' Ian McEwan

'The literary event of the Autumn' Evening Standard

'One of those writers who will be read a century from now' Robert Harris

A Perfect Spy

John le Carré (and others)

Julian Rhind-Tutt is Magnus Pym in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast adaptation of John le Carré’s superb spy novel

Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile

Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.’

So says Magnus Pym, the spy of the title; and he has betrayed a lot in his life – countries, friends, family and lovers. When Magnus disappears after his father’s funeral, MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. But Pym is on a search of his own – to unravel the mystery of what made him the perfect spy.

Was it the duplicity of his con artist father, Rick? Or his MI6 mentor and father figure Jack Brotherhood? Or was it Axel, the Czech agent he has known since his teens? All have marked him in crucial ways, and as the net closes around Magnus, he attempts finally to make sense of his life and find the source of his talent for deception...

A Perfect Spy is le Carré’s most autobiographical novel, and has been hailed as his masterpiece. This superlative radio production, starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Bill Paterson, Michael Maloney and Anton Lesser, is a compelling exploration of identity, treachery and the complexities of the human heart.

The Tailor of Panama

John le Carré

'A work of rare brilliance' The Times

Charmer, fabulist and tailor to Panama's rich and powerful, Harry Pendel loves to tell stories. But when the British spy Andrew Osnard - a man of large appetites, for women, information and above all money - walks into his shop, Harry's fantastical inventions take on a life of their own. Soon he finds himself out of his depth in an international game he can never hope to win.

Le Carré's savage satire on the espionage trade is set in a corrupt universe without heroes or honour, where the innocent are collateral damage and treachery plays out as tragic farce.

'A tour de force in which almost every convention of the classic spy novel is violated' The New York Times Book Review

The Pigeon Tunnel

John le Carré

THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER

'Out of the secret world I once knew, I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit. First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I'm sitting now.'

From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion, to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, John le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive - reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire, or visiting Rwanda's museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide, or celebrating New Year's Eve with Yasser Arafat, or interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, or watching Alec Guinness preparing for his role as George Smiley, or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in his The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humour, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood. Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer's journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times' Guardian

'John le Carré is as recognizable a writer as Dickens or Austen' Financial Times

'When I was under house arrest I was helped by the books of John le Carré ... they were a journey into the wider world ... These were the journeys that made me feel that I was not really cut off from the rest of humankind' Aung San Suu Kyi

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

John le Carré

The classic Cold War thriller, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time.

Alec Leamas is tired. It's the 1960s, he's been out in the cold for years, spying in Berlin for his British masters, and has seen too many good agents murdered for their troubles. Now Control wants to bring him in at last - but only after one final assignment.

He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas's mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done.

In le Carré's breakthrough work of 1963, the spy story is reborn as a gritty and terrible tale of men who are caught up in politics beyond their imagining.

'Superbly constructed, with an atmosphere of chilly hell' J.B. Priestley

'The best spy story I have ever read' Graham Greene

'The master storyteller ... has lost none of his cunning' A. N. Wilson

'I have re-read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold over and over again since I first encountered it in my teens, just to remind myself how extraordinary a work of fiction can be' Malcolm Gladwell

'One of those very rare novels that changes the way you look at the world. Unflinching, highly sophisticated, superb' William Boyd

The Night Manager (TV Tie-in)

John le Carré

At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.

In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carré creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.

The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas

John le Carré (and others)

The complete collection of acclaimed BBC Radio dramas based on John le Carre's bestselling novels, starring Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley.

With a star cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron, Brian Cox, Ian MacDiarmid, Anna Chancellor, Hugh Bonneville and Lindsay Duncan, these enthralling dramatisations perfectly capture the atmosphere of le Carre's taut, thrilling spy novels.

Call for the Dead is the first Smiley novel, which sees him looking into an apparent suicide only to uncover a murderous conspiracy;

A Murder of Quality finds Smiley investigating a murder in a private school;

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold introduces Alec Leamas, a British intelligence officer whose East Berlin network is in tatters;

The Looking Glass War features former spy Fred Leiser, lured back from retirement to investigate a claim that Soviet missiles are being installed close to the West German border;

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the first book in the Karla trilogy, and sees Smiley searching for a mole who has infiltrated the Circus;

The Honourable Schoolboy sees Smiley determined to destroy his nemesis, Karla, and his spy networks;

Smiley's People finds George Smiley called out of retirement to exorcise some Cold War ghosts from his clandestine past;

The Secret Pilgrim sees Smiley invited to dine with the eager new recruits at the Circus. He offers them his thoughts on espionage and, in doing so, prompts a former colleague to re-examine his own eventful secret life.

'A radio triumph...Simon Russell Beale's pitch-perfect master spy' - "Financial Times".

Duration: 19 hours.

Our Kind of Traitor

John le Carré

An English couple, Perry and Gail, are taking an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis.

What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain's Intelligence Establishment.

Our Game

John le Carré

Le Carré's post-Cold War masterpiece, filled with suspense, betrayal, desire and drama

The Cold War is over and retired secret servant Tim Cranmer has been put out to pasture, spending his days making wine on his Somerset estate. But then he discovers that his former double agent Larry ­- dreamer, dissolute, philanderer and disloyal friend - has vanished, along with Tim's mistress. As their trail takes him to the lawless wilds of Russia and the North Caucasus, he is forced to question everything he stood for.

Set in a fragmented, uncertain post-Soviet world, le Carré's brutal story of falsehoods and betrayal shows men playing dangerous games beyond their control.

John le Carré

One of the greatest spy novelists of our time, John le Carré has penned some of the most famous novels in the genre including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Biography

John le Carré was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton and served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For more than fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.