Agent Running in the Field

Agent Running in the Field

A BBC 2 Between the Covers Book Club Pick

Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Narrated by John le Carre.


THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER


'Le Carré delivers a tale for our times . . . a demonstration of the British spy thriller at its unputdownable best' Robert McCrum, Observer
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Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.

Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age.
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'A rich, beautifully written book studded with surprises. Narrative is a black art, and Le Carré is its grandmaster' Andrew Taylor, Spectator

'Blisteringly contemporary . . . Each new book from le Carré is refreshingly different and uniquely compelling' Economist

'Astute state-of-the-nation commentary'
Guardian

'Subtle, wry and seamless, it's an utter joy, from first page to last' Daily Mail

'The master espionage novelist takes on Brexit and Trump in this tense and chilling portrait of today' Evening Standard

Times
Books of the Year
New Statesman Book of the Year
Guardian Books of the Year
Sunday Times Books of the Year
TLS Books of the Year
Daily Mail Books of the Year
Mail on Sunday's Best Books of the Year
Apple Best books of 2019

© John le Carre 2019 (P) Penguin Audio 2019

Reviews

  • A fine piece of storytelling. It is a neat, compact, slow-burning tale with just the right amount of twisting and turning and misdirection. Divided loyalties, uncertain motives, Russian agents, bureaucratic infighting, jaded spies, tatty offices - all of the things you want and expect from a high-quality le Carré thriller are here
    The Times

About the author

John le Carré

John le Carré was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. At the end of the Cold War, le Carré widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020. His posthumous novel Silverview was published in 2021.
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