Friday, November 10, 2023

Smiley to Rise Again Next Fall

For spy-fiction lovers, this is nothing short of huge news:
Fans of thriller writer David Cornwell—better known by his pen name John le Carré—may have thought they had seen the last of recurring protagonist George Smiley when the author died in 2020. Yet the beloved spy is set to return next autumn—this time penned by Cornwell’s son.

Publisher Penguin Random House (PRH) has announced a currently untitled novel by Nicholas Cornwell, who writes as Nick Harkaway, set during the decade that passes between the end of le Carré’s
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the beginning of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

As a lifelong fan of the incredible world that John le Carré created, these missing years in Smiley’s career have always intrigued me,” said Harriet Bourton, publishing director at Viking, the imprint of PRH that will publish this new title. “Nobody is better placed to capture the spirit and voice of John le Carré than Nick Harkaway. I was absolutely blown away by Nick’s storytelling.”

Smiley, a career intelligence officer with the British overseas intelligence agency, nicknamed “the Circus”, was created by le Carré as an intentional antithesis to James Bond, a character whom the author
who had worked for both MI5 and MI6 himself—believed to be an inaccurate depiction of espionage life. Quiet, polite Smiley appears in nine of le Carré’s novels, from the author’s debut Call for the Dead in 1961 to the 2017 A Legacy of Spies. Margaret Atwood has called the Smiley novels “key to understanding the 20th century”, and the character has been portrayed on screen by actors including Alec Guinness and Gary Oldman.

“Smiley is woven into my life,” Harkaway said. “
Tinker Tailor was written in the two years after I was born and I grew up with the evolution of the Circus, so this is a deeply personal journey for me, and of course it’s a journey which has to feel right to the le Carré audience.”
You’ll find the full report in today’s edition of The Guardian.

(Hat tip to Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine.)

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