George Smiley to return in new John le Carre spy novel

Duarte Garrido, Entertainment Reporter

After a 25-year hiatus, writer John le Carre is bringing back one of the world's most famous fictional spies.

A Legacy Of Spies will be le Carre's 24th novel and the ninth featuring George Smiley, who made his last appearance in 1991 novel The Secret Pilgrim.

According to the writer's website, it will focus on Peter Guillam, Smiley's "trusted lieutenant", who is "being called to account".

"Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany," it reads.

"A letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him."

The plot sees Smiley and Guillam struggling to adapt to a new generation of spies "with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justification".

John le Carre is the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell, a former intelligence officer who started using an alias to write espionage novels.

During the 1950s and the 1960s, Cornwell worked for MI5 and MI6.

Smiley's character is often presented as an anti-Bond - brilliant but inadequate, betrayed by his wife but smarter than his peers.

His first on-screen depiction was by Sir Alec Guinness in 1979 miniseries Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

In 2011, director Tomas Alfredson won the BAFTA for best British film for his movie adaptation of the same novel, starring Gary Oldman as Smiley and Benedict Cumberbatch as Guillam.

The novel will be released on 6 September.

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