Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:
"[Le Carré's] novels are so brilliant because they're emotionally and psychologically absolutely true, but of course they're novels." -- New York Times Book Review <br> <br> A new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author John le Carré. <br> <br> Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.<br> <br> Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age.
"A new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author John le Carré Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie. Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age"-- Provided by publisher.
Excerpt provided by Syndetics
<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">Chapter I Our meeting was not contrived. Not by me, not by Ed, not by any of the hidden hands supposedly pulling at his strings. I was not targeted. Ed was not put up to it. We were neither covertly nor aggressively observed. He issued a sporting challenge. I accepted it. We played. There was no contrivance, no conspiracy, no collusion. There are events in my life - only a few these days, it's rue - that admit of one version only. Our meeting is such an event. My telling of it never wavered in all the times they made me repeat it. It is a Saturday evening. I am sitting in the Athleticus Club in Battersea, of which I am Honorary Secretary, a largely meaningless title, in an upholstered deckchair beside the indoor swimming pool. The clubroom is cavernous and high-raftered, part of a converted brewery, with the pool at one end and a bar at the other, and a passageway between the two that leads to the segregated changing rooms and shower areas. In facing the pool I am at an oblique angle to the bar. Beyond the bar lies the entrance to the clubroom, then the lobby, then the doorway to the street. I am thus not in a position to see who is entering the clubroom or who is hanging around in the lobby reading notices, booking courts or putting their names on the Club ladder. The bar is doing brisk trade. Young girls and their swains splash and chatter. I am wearing my badminton kit: shorts, sweatshirt and a new pair of ankle-friendly trainers. I bought them to fend off a niggling pain in my left ankle incurred on a ramble in the forests of Estonia a month previously. After prolonged back-to-back stints overseas I am savouring a well-deserved spell of home leave. A cloud looms over my professional life that I am doing my best to ignore. On Monday I expect to be declared redundant. Well, so be it, I keep telling myself. I am entering my forty-seventh year, I have had a good run, this was always going to be the deal, so no complaints. All the greater therefore the consolation of knowing that, despite the advance of age and a troublesome ankle, I continue to reign supreme as Club champion, having only last Saturday secured the singles title against a talented younger field. Singles are generally regarded as the exclusive preserve of fleet-footed twenty-somethings, but thus far I have managed to hold my own. Today, in accordance with Club tradition, as newly crowned champion I have successfully acquitted myself in a friendly match against the champion of our rival club across the river in Chelsea. And here he is sitting beside me now in the afterglow of our combat, pint in hand, an aspiring and sportsmanlike young Indian barrister. I was hard pressed till the last few points, when experience and a bit of luck turned the tables in my favour. Perhaps these simple facts will go some way to explaining my charitable disposition at the moment when Ed threw down his challenge, and my feeling, however temporary, that there was life after redundancy. My vanquished opponent and I are chatting amiably together. The topic, I remember as if it were yesterday, was our fathers. Both, it turned out, had been enthusiastic badminton players. His had been All-India runner-up. Mine for one halcyon season had been British Army champion in Singapore. As we compare notes in this amusing way I become aware of Alice, our Caribbean-born receptionist and bookkeeper, advancing on me in the company of a very tall and as yet indistinct young man. Alice is sixty years old, whimsical, portly and always a little out of wind. We are two of the longest-standing members of the Club, I as player, she as mainstay. Wherever I was stationed in the world, we never failed to send each other Christmas cards. Mine were saucy, hers were holy. When I say advancing on me, I mean that, since the two of them were attacking me from the rear with Alice leading the march, they had first to advance, then turn to face me, which comically they achieved in unison. 'Mister Sir Nat, sir,' Alice announces with an air of high ceremony. More often I am Lord Nat to her, but this evening I am a common knight. 'This very handsome and polite young man needs to talk to you most privately. But he don't want to disturb you in your moment of glory. His name is Ed . Ed , say hullo to Nat .' For a long moment in my memory Ed remains standing a couple of paces behind her, this six-foot-something, gawky, bespectacled young man with a sense of solitude about him and an embarrassed half-smile. I remember how two competing sources of light converged on him: the orange strip light from the bar, which endowed him with a celestial glow, and behind him the down lights from the swimming pool, which cast him in oversized silhouette. Excerpted from Agent Running in the Field: A Novel by John le Carré All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
Kirkus Book Review
Now that he's revisited and deepened the tissue of double-crosses that put him on the map with George Smiley, le Carr (A Legacy of Spies, 2017, etc.), evergreen at 87, turns to an equally hapless new hero in the age of Trump and Brexit."I'm a field man," says Nat, a Secret Intelligence Service agent, "not a desk jockey, not a social carer." Convinced at 47 that his years running spies throughout Europe are over, he accepts one last assignment as the only alternative to being put out to pasture for good: assuming command of Haven, the London substation he describes to his unenthusiastic wife, human rights lawyer Prudence, as "a Mickey Mouse outfit" where his job will be "either to get it on its feet or speed it on its way to the graveyard." No sooner has Nat sunk into this forgettable ambit than three disquieting developments arise. Florence, a probationer who's his nominal second-in-command, angrily quits over the unexplained cancellation of a project she's designed, spearheaded, and pitched to the powers that be. Sergei Kusnetsev, a Russian defector who's become a sleeper agent for Her Majesty's Government, is contacted by Anastasia, a Russian agent who presumably either wants to put him to work, if she trusts him, or to expose him, if she doesn't. And Ed Shannon, the much-younger researcher who joined Nat's athletic club in order to play badminton with him and vent about the folly of Brexit and the rise of neo-Nazism in the States, suddenly appears in an alarming new role. Seeing the world as he knows itnot the new world order or the special relationship, but his own faded patch of itthreatened from every corner, Nat, determined to assert himself one last time, hatches a rickety plan to keep the pot from boiling over.A tragicomic salute to both the recuperative powers of its has-been hero and the remarkable career of its nonpareil author. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.