My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve always loved the Cold War stories written by John le Carré. Especially the Cambridge Circus related ones. This particular novel – A Legacy of Spies was set in modern times with the new Secret Service building looking out over the River Thames. The old Soviet v West conflict is over. However, there are two people who want to sue the British security service for past deeds. The story needs to go back to the late 50s and early sixties. Everyone involved in the espionage of this day is dead. All except for Peter Guillam. He is living out his retirement in Brittany France. On the family farm that he has inherited from his Breton Mother’s side of the family.
Guillam is summoned politely to return to the new modern spy HQ. The secret service is in a fluster over the two people bringing charges and a parliamentary investigation over the mishandling of the mission where agent Alec Lemus was killed in 1962. One of the people causing problems is Alec Lemus' German-born, son. The other is the illegitimate daughter of Elizabeth Gold.
John le Carré fans will know of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold title. Well, fasten your seatbelts and enjoy as Peter Guillam is forced to delve into old files and reports. Some tape recordings of Alec Lemus telling his unique story of a 1959 mission. In many ways, this is like a prequel and the reader sees Alec Lemus trying to smuggle an East German Lady out of the Communist bloc just before the Berlin Wall goes up. This was a real peach of a read. All the old favourites are resurrected. We see how Hans Dieter Mundt is recruited and learn of so many other consequences that would lead us to future Smiley stories of Karla etc. It is a fabulous blast from the past. Most enjoyable.