At their headquarters in London, English spies are alerted to an information leak. Their investigations lead them to an English seaside town where a young man called Julian has just opened a bookshop. Strangely, Julian has been sought out by an older man called Edward, who lives in the area, and he is puzzled by the interest in his bookshop and his family.
There is no shortage of praise for the novels by John le Carre, and this one is no exception: “a minor masterpiece” (The Evening Standard); “crisp prose, a precision-tooled plot, the heady sense of an inside track on a shadowy world” (The Guardian); “a gift to scholars, aficionados of the genre, and readers at large eager for one last look at the creative mind of an acknowledged master of his field” (New York Journal of Books). Although the plot is reasonably simple (as compared to many of le Carre’s early novels), it requires the reader to pay attention to details. “Le Carré was always a superb plotter, and here he deftly arranges a mosaic of seemingly unrelated events and conversations that cohere into a full picture only as the book comes to an end. The narrative rewards yet demands close attention; unless you happen to note the make of a car driven by a mysterious unnamed woman introduced fairly early on, for example, events toward the book’s end might prompt some head-scratching.” (Time Magazine)
“He was learning to see the entire Avon clan and its offshoots as being united, not in the secrets they shared, but in the secrets they kept from one another: a concept that rang bells from his own childhood.”
“between ourselves – don’t tell your trainees or you’ll lose your pension – we didn’t do much to alter the course of human history, did we? As one old spy to another, I reckon I’d have been more use running a boys’ club. Don’t know what you feel…”
Author: John le Carre