Tuesday, December 17, 2019

John Le Carre Gets Political in AGENT RUNNING

Agent Running in the Field is the latest novel by John Le Carre, the renown master of the international espionage novel. This new book is a smaller scale picture of a backwater British spy sub-agency called The Haven that deals with minor intelligence nuisances.

The story is narrated by Nat, a veteran agent network runner now close to being put out to pasture by his agency. Nat's cynical voice allows John Le Carre to show his own dry wit with much inside baseball description of the mundane daily workings of The Haven. The actual plot of the novel is very thin, with Nat reconnecting with a former agent asset, who has urgent new information about a Russian undercover operation inside Britain. A surprising revelation puts Nat under suspicion at his own agency.

Unfortunately, the novel goes off the track as author Le Carre uses the story to vent his own strident political biases against Brexit, the Tory Party, and the American Trump administration. Le Carre has often shown open anti-American disdain in previous novels (see A Most Wanted Man ) and he continues that nasty streak here.

 Agent Running in the Field  is almost a droll satire of spy agencies, but the novel is mainly a diversion for die-hard John Le Carre fans who share his leftist politics.

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