Thursday, March 31, 2022

#10: Agent Running in the Field by John le Carré

A British spy being brought back to London to oversee a failing, marginalized branch of the secret service contends with an idealistic young second in command, a few eccentric double agents, and an odd new badminton partner at his local club in John le Carre's Agent Running in the Field.

This is the last of le Carre's books published in his lifetime; he was 89 when he passed away.  But this novel is just as urgent and energized as any of his earlier work. 

The novel is written in terms of a report, as the returning agent talks about everything that led to a calamitous denouement which unfolds slowly over time, and envelopes his lawyer wife, his slick boss, and several other characters.  It just ratchets and ratchets tension to a satisfying close.

Le Carre felt strongly about Brexit, and despite the trappings of the spy world the novel is ultimately about that subject, which may have driven the author to produce this timely, highly enjoyable work.

Recommended for spy novel fans in general and early le Carre fans in particular.

I listened to an audiobook version on loan from the Morrisson-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana, read by the author.

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