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John le Carré brings back George Smiley in ‘Legacy of Spies’

John le Carré, shown at the premiere of

John le Carré, shown at the premiere of "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" in London in 2011, will release a new George Smiley novel on Sept. 5, 2017. Credit: AP / Sang Tan

Welcome back, George Smiley.

After a hiatus of more than 25 years, John le Carré is again writing about one of the world’s most famous fictional spies. Viking told The Associated Press on Tuesday that le Carré’s “A Legacy of Spies” will come out Sept. 5. According to the publisher, the novel is narrated by Smiley’s trusted ally, Peter Guillam, who has been summoned to London out of his retirement.

“His Cold War past has come back to claim him,” Viking announced. “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 under disturbing criteria by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.”

The novel also will refer to the le Carré classics “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.” Viking declined to say whether Smiley, who apparently was born at least 100 years ago, is still alive or remembered only in flashback. Le Carré, 85, last wrote about Smiley in the 1991 novel, “The Secret Pilgrim,” which came out as the Cold War was ending. His other Smiley books include “The Honourable Schoolboy” and “The Looking Glass War.” On-screen, Smiley has been played by Alec Guinness and Gary Oldman, among others.


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