Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A legacy of spies

Taking advantage of a viral infection (headache, sneezing, sore throat and weakness), I had the time to read the new John le Carré book, "A legacy of spies", today. I will have to read it again in order to more fully appreciate it, but already there are several items which make reading it difficult. The book is presented as a prequel to 'The spy who came in from the cold', and also 'Tinker, tailor, soldier, spy'. This book is definitely a prequel to the earlier book, basically examining the decision process in launching Alex Leamas' attempt to discredit Mundt (you'll have to read the book to find out who these people are), but connections to the later book are tenuous. I reread 'The spy who came in from the cold' earlier today, as I don't know this too well.

As a dedicated Le Carré watcher, there are several points which differ between the original book and this one:
  • The time scale: 'The Spy' is set in 1962 whereas 'Tinker Tailor is set in 1973. I very much doubt that Control et al. had their doubts about a traitor in 1961, before the events of 'The Spy'.
  • Karl Riemack in 'The Spy' is secretary of the GDP Secretariat; here he is a medical doctor. This is a very important plot point.
  • The butcher which Alec Leamas attacks in 'The Spy' has now become a grocer.
  • Jim Prideaux (and Bill Haydon) went to Oxford University, not Cambridge.
I am sure that there are a few more things, but they don't stick out. The second point above is the most important, but it shows that no copy editor performed due diligence on the book. 

Now to bed to rest for a few hours.

No comments: