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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Narrated by John le Carre.

The Sunday Times best seller.

Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie.

Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age.

Times Books of the Year

New Statesman Book of the Year

Guardian Books of the Year

Sunday Times Books of the Year

TLS Books of the Year

Daily Mail Books of the Year

Mail on Sunday's Best Books of the Year

Apple Best books of 2019

©2019 John le Carré (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic reviews

"No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times." (The Guardian)

"John le Carré is as recognisable a writer as Dickens or Austen." (Financial Times)

"No writer has ever been better at turning the act of two people talking politely to each other across a desk into a blood sport." (Telegraph)

What listeners say about Agent Running in the Field

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Dire

Le Carre’s downhill spiral continues. Once a writer who dealt in complex characters and moral and emotional ambiguity he now serves up childish caricatures. The book can be summed up as Brexit bad, EU good, Trump evil Merkel good, without any examination of the ideas or issues at all. The literary equivalent of a Hampstead dinner party with London’s sanctimonious liberal (an abuse of the term) elite. I continued listening to the end in the hope that Le Carre would reveal the twist that the characters were not really self righteous cardboard cut outs but were only acting. No such luck. It is sad that a great writer had come to this, his talent drowned in undergraduate politics.

21 people found this helpful

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Bad choice

Even though I quite liked the story, they shouldn't have made an octogenarian read the entire thing. John le carre is a great writer but he is not an actor and making him read it all seemed somehow cruel. He was breathy to begin with and got better as he found his stride but it still didn't make for the best listening experience.

13 people found this helpful

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Absolutely Bloody Marvellous

What a revelation it is to hear JLC read his own work.
A great p!easure, and a wonderful story.

13 people found this helpful

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Dear Mr. Le Carré, Brilliant work, not so reading

Dear Mr. Le Carré, Brilliant work, not so good reading. Please bring back Michael Jayston.

36 people found this helpful

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brilliant writing, wrong narration.

As ever, fantastic writing, but should have Gone fro Michael Jayson as with others. JLC isn’t a narrator and it spoils it.

8 people found this helpful

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Betrayal and loyalty in our time, a classic modern Le Carre novel

An elegant novel, beautifully read by the author. One or two old characters reappear later in their careers and as ever Le Carre is at his very best when describing human relationships through snippets of conversation, whether gathered over supper or in parked cars. A fundamentally humane story, dealing with the difficulties of a reasonable and decent man navigating a complicated and sometimes immoral world. It’s a pleasure to behold an author who has lost none of his very considerable powers and who become more radical and playfully disruptive in his character and story development as the years have passed. This is not one of his epic works but is beautifully formed and satisfying in every way. I enjoyed it enormously and as Connie Sachs once said of the Polyakov tapes , I shall replay it to enjoy your voice!

6 people found this helpful

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Loved this book

Loved this book , loved his voice and they way he delivered his reading it. Really sorry when I came to the end . Will probably listen to straight away again. What a brilliant man and writer.

5 people found this helpful

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Great Book Read by Amateur

Of typical high standard literary wise, but what hubris leads JLC to believe he can match a professional’s performance when it comes to reading his own work. The designer of an F1 car doesn’t race it professionally. Disappointing.

11 people found this helpful

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Not his best.

The tale ended and I thought we would move on to another chapter. Very much a damp squib ending to a pretty tedious book. I felt the narration was a little plodding and the author should leave the job to a pro. A very disappointed Le Carre fan!

4 people found this helpful

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Any chance of a sequel?

An intriguing and plausible plot with very sympathetic characters. I didn't want it to end!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Hungerford
  • 08-11-19

oh how I wish John le carre had read all his books

I loved it. I don't know if it is because as one ages one appreciate the beauty of a human story, as this is not early le carre, but the pleasure in the development of it is whatis exceptional

Possibly warmer and more hopeful than his early works, the joy I found strongest however, was the pleasure of hearing the master read his own work himself. I dearly wish we had had that pleasure earlier on.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Brian Stokker
  • 15-12-19

10/10

In a class of its own, superb storyteller. Brilliant narration, the best I've yet heard.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-19

fantastic to here was a Reading

he was almost perfect. he rendered the different voices with great dexterity and excellent timing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 23-03-21

Outstanding performance on every level.

This is John le Carré at the peak of his powers (mind you he has been at the peak of his powers since he wrote “A perfect spy” 33 years ago).

The only thing better than the writing (which is magnificent), and the story (which is totally engrossing) is the narration, which John le Carré does himself, and in the process he makes you wish he’d narrated every book he’d ever written. He is completely marvellous at it, the accents, the nuances, the charm.
Do yourself a favour- listen to this book, and enjoy a master at work.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Random Selection
  • 21-02-21

Beyond Smiley

Recently passed away author John le Carré is best known for his spy stories in a Cold War context. In this, his last novel, he combines the familiar strengths of his stories, the realistic approach to espionage, well-developed characters and stylisticly sparse, but accurate observations, with the contemporary setting of the Trump and (Post-)Brexit era. And while nthe plot might be a tad conventional, it is also interesting and takes at bleast one surprising turn. I usually do not much like first-person narration, but Le Carré's protagonist is sufficiently complex and observant to justify this choice of perspective. Books read by their authors can go either way: sometimes it is great to have a Narrator read their own words, sometimes it is atrocious. Thankfully, this audiobook is firmly a case of the former. I have listened to other of Le Carré's works, read by professional narrators, and I honestly wish Le Carré would have read them all … In conclusion: enjoyable and gripping, and definitely worth a listen!

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  • Mrs J P van der Byl
  • 28-11-20

Why on earth did John le Carre read this

le Carre, while a brilliant writer, should never have read his book. He sounded every one of his 89 years ( the protagonist he is meant to be is 47), breathy and very hard to listen to without thoughts of the need for supplemental oxygen constantly crossing ones mind. In the end I abandoned the audible version and downloaded it on my Kindle. A big fat rotten tomato to Penguin for this audible version.

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  • Mike Williamson
  • 15-01-20

Luxury

Le Carré never ever ever fails to deliver and never ever disappoints.

As usual an excellently written and narrated story. As topical, believable and meaningful as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was in 1963.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 30-12-19

Good narration by author John Le Carre

John Le Carre's easy listening narration was well suited to the tempo of this book. His articulate, evenly toned voice provided a relaxed, laid back feel to the book while providing full and colourful descriptions of characters and scenarios. I found this book entertaining but not really brimming with the levels of mystery and suspense he has previously produced. This book went into the second tier in my library.

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  • Chad Morrison
  • 17-04-21

John Le Carre narration was exceptional

Easily my book of the year thus far. The story was enjoyable but the Author reliving his own words made it a joy to listen to. Viewing the events of the story as passenger to the main character Nat, made the journey all the more pleasurable, with his dry traditional English wit.

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  • Ioana
  • 01-01-21

As Always

John Le Carre gives his readers a great story - a compelling description of the life in the secret services, a good mystery with a twist and a love story or two. All inconspicuous, natural, believable. He takes Brexit and makes a plot of it, focuses on the dilemmas of the remainers, and casts a very sharp light on the ruling elites and their agenda in this new world.