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A Legacy of Spies Audiobook

A Legacy of Spies: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

The undisputed master returns with a riveting new book - his first Smiley novel in more than 25 years.

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the 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, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley, and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.

Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own intense story, John le Carré has spun 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. In a story resonating with tension, humor, and moral ambivalence, le Carré and his narrator, Peter Guillam, present the listener with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new.

©2017 John le Carré (P)2017 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (571 )
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4.7 (520 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 09-12-17
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 09-12-17 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "All for England"

    "We don't pay a lot, and careers tend to be interrupted. But we do feel it is an important job, as long as one cares about the end, and not too much about the means."
    - John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies

    Le Carré's fiction career can be roughly be divided into two broad, angry worlds (if we ignore his brief, early attempt at crime fiction): Cold War espionage novels and post-Cold War espionage novels. 'A Legacy of Spies' bridges this gulf with one of the great characters from le Carré's early works (let's call them his Broadway House books) by placing one of the best characters from the Cold War, Peter Guillam, George Smiley's right-hand man, into his post-Cold War period (let's call these books his Vauxhall Trollop books). By doing this, le Carré essentially sets up a novel where the retired "heroes" of the Cold-War "Circus" are judged by the lawyers of Whitehall/Legoland/Vauxhall Trollop.

    If you didn't think a fictionalized account of a bureaucratic, HR nightmare could be sexy, well, think again. Le Carré's cold genius is found in his ability to show the moral contradictions involved in espionage work and also place that into context to the modern world. This book allows le Carré to juggle both the moral difficulties of the past (Ends>Means) and contrast that with the current state of Mi6 in the UK (Means>Ends). In his struggle to discover if the means of the past were worth the moral costs, while illuminating if the bureaucratic efficiency of the now is effective or even moral, le Carré discovers one core truth of the Modern World: the lawyers and the bureaucrats have won.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eclectic reader Fort Myers, FL USA 09-17-17
    eclectic reader Fort Myers, FL USA 09-17-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Reacquainted with old friends"

    It is fun to meet many of the characters from former LeCarre books. As always he excels at character development. Always an eye for detail - things like how a passing character puts on her reading glasses. The resolution of the plot is less definitive, but in many ways fits with Smilie's character.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coach Mark Walnut Creek CA 09-12-17
    Coach Mark Walnut Creek CA 09-12-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Great read!!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A wonderful story about some of JLC's characters. All the old circus is back and boy did
    I miss them.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    yes


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Miner Rochester, Michigan 09-15-17
    J. Miner Rochester, Michigan 09-15-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Regrets"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Legacy of Spies to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    What other book might you compare A Legacy of Spies to and why?

    the spy who came in from the cold


    Have you listened to any of Tom Hollander’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Regrets in most of those five star reviews I have given for far lesser works. This, if not a masterwork, is very close and I will re listen many times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Kirby 09-13-17
    David Kirby 09-13-17 Member Since 2010
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    "Worthy addition to the Smiley canon."

    It certainly does not hurt being intimately familiar with the world of George Smiley, the circus and Carla, but this provides a lot of closure for those who have been immersed. Wonderfully written, splendidly read, a typical LeCarre gem.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tomez Desilva Ph.d 09-11-17
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    "Like fine wine."

    I enjoyed Legacy Of Spies. Well written the plot lines are woven intricately and pulls all the blank pieces together. It puts you there in the mix of it all.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Friede 09-14-17 Member Since 2015
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    "The master at the height of his powers"

    Great performance of a terrific book. Best Le Carre in years. No one else comes close.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Jarvis 09-11-17
    Jeff Jarvis 09-11-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent performance of a wonderful valedictory"

    Really the best audiobook performance I have ever enjoyed. A great Le Carré work tying together loose ends I never thought would be tied. A stirring commentary on honor, patriotism, and even Europe. And a superb narration -- no, performance -- that for once enhanced the work. Unconditionally recommended.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Westley R Logan 10-18-17 Member Since 2017
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    "le Carre's goodby?"

    A gripping tale with a fittingly melancholy ending. Was le Carre' saying his own farwell?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bluestramp 10-17-17
    Bluestramp 10-17-17
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    "GREAT!"

    My eyes popped out when I found Carre’s latest novel.
    I am glad he is writing again.....remember his grand goodbyes last year or so?
    Melancholy weaves the memories of the narrative. It’s a bitter sweet story but so masterfully crafted.
    Tom Hollander is brilliant bringing the story to life.
    This is a terrific, a delightful piece of art from the master of intrigue....kudos from Rex the Reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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