In the third year of perestroika, London publisher Barley Blair is sent a manuscript from Moscow. Exposing Russian nuclear threats as a sham, the information - if it’s genuine - could shatter East-West relations. Jazz-loving, hard-drinking Blair is hardly the spymasters’ idea of the perfect agent, yet they are forced to send him to Moscow to make contact. But the Cold War thaws when Barley meets Katya, the beautiful Russian intermediary who is equally sceptical of state ideology. Mere pawns in a deadly game of international espionage, they nevertheless represent the breakdown of hostilities and a future which poses a huge threat to the entrenched professionals on both sides... Both a gripping spy saga and a poignant love story, The Russia House delivers all the excitement and tension expected from the master of espionage fiction. This BBC Radio 4 adaptation was dramatised by René Basilico.
His death this week marked the end of a career which produced internationally acclaimed novels in every decade from the 1960s onwards. Le Carré’s work was enjoyed by readers and critics alike and adapted multiple times for film and television, making him one of the most celebrated and influential authors of modern times. But where to start if you’re new to this work? Here is our starter for ten.
Alongside Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon, Florence Pugh stars in The Little Drummer Girl, the latest adaptation of John le Carré’s thrilling novel of espionage and betrayal. Here she reads le Carré’s description of the character that she herself plays in the BBC series.