George Smiley to return in new le Carré novelGeorge Smiley, John le Carré’s iconic cold war spymaster, is to return for the first time in 25 years in a new novel by the beloved spy-turned-author.
George Smiley, John le Carré’s iconic cold war spymaster, is to return for the first time in 25 years in a new novel by the beloved spy-turned-author.
A Legacy of Spies, due to be published on September 7, will also see the return of Smiley’s colleagues from the British secret service—or the Circus, as they were known in Le Carré’s original books. The bestselling novels famously drew on the author’s own experience of working for British intelligence in the 1950s and 60s.
Though scant details have been released by publisher Viking, a division of Penguin Random House, the new novel will feature Smiley protege Peter Guillam, who in his old age has retired from the world of spooks to a farm in southern Brittany.
According to Le Carré’s agent, Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown, the book was written in “a fever” over the past 12 months. Though Geller refused to reveal details of the plot, he said that it would “close George Smiley’s story”, which began in 1961 with Le Carré’s debut novel, Call for the Dead.
In its announcement, Viking said A Legacy of Spies would interweave past and present into a single plot as “ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which it looks back: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”.
The lugubrious spymaster is most famous for his appearances in the 1970s Karla Trilogy, which includes Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People. Those novels concluded with Smiley confronting his nemesis Karla, the Soviet spy chief.
It is believed that the author was inspired to revisit his old characters because of the current political situation, although Geller said drawing the conclusion that he will address Moscow’s alleged interference in international elections and alleged ties with Donald Trump’s US administration was “far too simplistic”.