Nat is put out to pasture in a local London spy centre (The Haven – a complete misnomer) by his “friends” in Head Office much to his chagrin. Spies, like author John le Carré, refuse to grow old gracefully! This is John le Carré at the top of his game.
Nat has many connections, friends and associates in the spy world; some are established and friendly who owe him! However, in London British HQ is a nest of back-stabbers and climbers. Is there a mole in a minor department who is leaking data to Russia? The Russians think they are onto a great source and one of Nat’s senior protagonists from Moscow is sent to extract information.
It is not what is being said but the sub-plot that festers under the main storyline that is so intriguing. Ed befriends Nat through a shared interest in Badminton. Florence is a wild associate at the Haven who is in fact clever and ingenious. Does Nat have designs on her as he is having problems at home with his wife Prue? Le Carré weaves his magic as events unfold and the relationships become clearer.
Great storytelling and one of Le Carré’s best novels. Perhaps not the ending you expect but Nat seems to have the last laugh!
John le Carré Bio
During the 1950s and 1960s, he worked for both the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963), became an international best-seller and remains one of his best-known works. Following the success of this novel, he left MI6 to become a full-time author. His books include The Looking Glass War (1965), Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1974), Smiley’s People (1979), The Little Drummer Girl (1983), The Night Manager (1993), The Tailor of Panama (1996), The Constant Gardener (2001), A Most Wanted Man (2008) and Our Kind of Traitor (2010), all of which have been adapted for film or television.