A Legacy of Spies

Book review by Deane Barker
tags: fiction, spies
2017
John le Carré
264
6/10

Fifty pages into this, I was thinking “Man, I should never buy John Le Carre…” His novels are so…administrative; so hard to follow.

The book recovers a bit, though. It turns into a tragic love story, told in flashback. The book zips back and forth between the 60s and present day, telling a story of a spy network and the attempt to get an asset out of Germany to freedom.

However, it bogs down hard in the last third, and – and this is important – you should probably read “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold” right before you read this novel. I had read it years ago, and this book is basically (literally, actually) an investigation into the events of that story. In fact, I’m not 100% sure, but I think it actually re-interprets or reveals new secrets about that story at the end. Without knowing that story, this would be tough to follow, I think.

So, while there were flashes of greatness in this book, it was ultimately unsatisfying.

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