The Godfather of Cold War thrillers, John Le Carre, has not put out to pasture but is instead still running in the field.
Readers are reminded of this mightily on devouring his latest book, AGENT RUNNING IN THE FIELD, his twenty-sixth novel.
Le Carre proves categorically that he still has it, if anything he has more wisdom and wit, his narrative style and substance straddles the stream of espionage thriller on the pillars of literary fiction.
AGENT RUNNING IN THE FIELD central character and narrator is Nat, a 47 year old secret servant of Her Majesty, veteran of the Eastern Bloc, now returned to England and facing retirement. He is married to Prue, ex security service spouse now a high flyer lawyer prosecuting Big Pharma. Ask her her favourite novel and she might just say The Constant Gardener.
As well as being a star at running agents in the field, Nat is a champion badminton player and his prowess brings him into the orbit of Ed, an earnest Englishman and pro European Unionist appalled at Brexit, the British Government and the buffoon in the White House.
From such disenchantment the seeds of sedition are sown. Notions of for Queen and Country clash with for Clear and Conscience.
The Iron Curtain has rusted, the Berlin Wall has been dismantled, but old enmities prevail, and archaic crafts continue to be employed against current anarchies.
Traditional spy trade is all part of the sizzle in AGENT RUNNING IN THE FIELD, as Nat retires retirement and becomes his own agent running in the field, taking him from London to Karlovy and back again, navigating the smoke and mirrors of espionage, the double and triple loyalties, aliases, operation code names and subterfuge.
AGENT RUNNING IN THE FIELD is contemporarily momentous and surges and seethes with a momentum that compels the reader to race through the narrative to its thrilling conclusion. And then, by way of debriefing, to start reading, from the beginning, all over again.
AGENT RUNNING IN THE FIELD by John Le Carre is published by Penguin Viking