Julian Lawndsley has renounced his high-flying job in the city for a simpler life of running a bookshop in a small English seaside town. But only a couple of months into his new career, Julian’s evening is disrupted by a visitor. Edward, a Polish emigre living in Silverview, the big house on the edge of town, seems to know a lot about Julian’s family and is rather too interested in the inner workings of his modest new enterprise.

When a letter turns up at the door of a spy chief in London warning him of a dangerous leak, the investigations lead him to this quiet town by the sea.

“Silverview” (Penguin) is the mesmerising story of an encounter between innocence and experience and between public duty and private morals. In this last complete masterwork from one of the greatest chroniclers of our age, John le Carre asks what you owe to your country when you no longer recognise it.

John le Carre was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6).

He published his debut novel, “Call for the Dead”, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, “The Honourable Schoolboy” and “Smiley’s People”.

At the end of the Cold War, Le Carre widened his scope to explore an international landscape, including the arms trade and the war on terror. His memoir, “The Pigeon Tunnel”, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, “A Legacy of Spies”, appeared in 2017. He died on December 12, 2020.

–IANS

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