John Le Carre announces his 25th novel Agent Running In The FieldDecember 11, 2018
John Le Carre announces his 25th novel Agent Running In The Field will ‘confront division and rage at heart of our modern world’
- British author’s publishers Viking Books say his new novel will be out in October
- It will tell the story of a ‘solitary figure’ who goes down a ‘very dangerous path’
- Uses working title of le Carre’s 1986 semi-autobiographic work, A Perfect Spy
John Le Carre’s new novel, A Perfect Spy, will be out in October. The author is pictured here at the premier of the BBC’s adaptation of Little Drummer Girl at the London Film Festival on October 14, 2018
John le Carre has announced his 25th novel Agent Running In The Field will be tackling the ‘division and rage at the heart of our modern world’.
It tells the story of a 26-year-old solitary figure who, ‘in a desperate attempt to resist the new political turbulence swirling around him, makes connections that will take him down a very dangerous path,’ according to publisher Viking Books.
The novel will be out in October, and uses the original working title for le Carre’s 1986 work, A Perfect Spy.
Mary Mount, from Viking, said: ‘In his plot and characterisation, le Carre is as thrilling as ever and in the way he writes about our times he proves himself, once again, to be the greatest chronicler of our age. At a moment like this we need writers like him.’
Le Carre published his first novel, The Call Of The Dead, in 1961, and remains popular today. His public profile has been further boosted by successful BBC TV adaptations of his books, including The Night Manager and, more recently, Little Drummer Girl.
The author, 87, was born David Cornwell, in 1931 in Poole, Dorset, but by the time he published The Call Of The Dead, aged 30, he’d been working for British intelligence for seven years, ostensibly with the Foreign Service.
His controllers did not like to see their agents writing books – he once revealed, ‘Even if it were about butterflies, they said, I’d have to choose a pseudonym.’
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Cornwell claimed he chose le Carre because he saw the name over a tailor’s shop and liked it – then admitted, in the same breath, that this was a lie he tells to satisfy nosy parkers.
His father Ronnie was a small-time fraudster and serial philanderer who liked to boast he was friendly with the Kray twins. When David was two years old, his father was sent to prison; when he was five, his mother Olive walked out on the family.
After a series of brutal boarding schools, he went to university in Bern, Switzerland, where he was recruited in 1950 by the British Army Intelligence Corps.
Le Carre published his first novel, The Call Of The Dead, in 1961, and remains popular today. His public profile has been further boosted by successful BBC TV adaptations of his books, including The Night Manager (left, the Tom Hiddleston sex scene in the fourth episode on March 13, 2016) and, more recently, Little Drummer Girl (right, undated publicity photo of the main characters Charlie (Florence Pugh) and Gadi Becker (Alexander Skarsgård)
‘One of my jobs was trawling through displaced-persons camps in Austria, looking for people who were fake refugees,’ he has said. They were actually Communist spies, and the Army sent some back behind the Iron Curtain as double agents.
This notion of recruiting and inverted loyalties would become a constant theme of his novels.
Cornwell switched to MI5 while studying at Oxford, where he mingled with Communist activists and reported what he heard.
After a stint teaching German at Millfield and Eton public schools, he returned to ‘diplomatic duty’, first with MI5 and then MI6 – a period that he now dismisses disingenuously as ‘a few years spooking around’.
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