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Agent Running in the Field

A Novel
Written by: John le Carré
Narrated by: John le Carré
Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"[Le Carré’s] novels are so brilliant because they’re emotionally and psychologically absolutely true, but of course they’re novels." (New York Times Book Review)

A new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author John le Carré

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.

©2019 John le Carré (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"John le Carré, as author and narrator of this stand-alone spy thriller, serves up a wholly engaging audio experience.... It's a privilege to listen to this master author deliver his work." (AudioFile Magazine)

"Le Carré is one of the best novelists - of any kind - we have." (Vanity Fair

"Le Carré remains a master at showing us what spies do, wily spiders to the unsuspecting flies they entrap." (Booklist starred review) 

"[Agent Running in the Field is] a tragicomic salute to both the recuperative powers of its has-been hero and the remarkable career of its nonpareil author." (Kirkus

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars

Not his best.

Not hs best, right down there with the Night Manager in coincidence & believability. Story became farciial towards the end. He fails in his defence of badminton vs Squash when compared to McEwan’s squash description in “Saturday”

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Wonderful.

A modern spy story by the best of the best authors of the genre. For me it was made even better for his reading of it. BRAVO!

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What a Ride

Le Carré does it again - he chose the right person to present the story. For those who live for a good spy yarn, get this one.

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Good story teller

and loved the political rage that the characters get to express. Good book. also really liked that le carre himself is reading the book

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  • Carlos
  • 2019-10-30

Still has that magic touch.

As a long time Le Carre fan. I'm very pleased at this book. I can count it amongst his finest. Thank you.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rod Hemsell
  • 2019-10-30

Excellent

Unlike most such performances, this one stands out because it is by the author who gets every phrase and intonation just as it should be.

13 people found this helpful

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  • nancy
  • 2019-10-29

Agent Running

It was a wonderful listen. Le Carré’ is a master of his art. A great reader of his book. I hated it to end.

11 people found this helpful

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  • George MP
  • 2019-11-12

LeCarré at his best!

Agent running in the field is a brilliant study of the human intelligence community as it grapples with the reshuffling of the world order pre-Brexit. LeCarré’s characters are complicated and deliciously ambiguous. The plot twists are brilliant. This is LeCarré at his best!

9 people found this helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 2019-11-02

Who writes “unlistenable etc. “

To the whiney reviewers below I say: Show some respect. Don’t you know who is reading and writing here? He is an old Cold War Warrier. He is an outside of America observer, of the first water, who warned us very accurately, before we went into Iraq, and Afghanistan. And again in the run-up to the 2016 election about Donald Trump. He is “an old spy taking his time” . He is not swayed by American propaganda, as so many, flag wavers.

30 people found this helpful

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  • ArrdubbSmith
  • 2019-11-12

Couldn't turn it off.

Le Carre's delivery is spellbinding. No surprise the story is top-notch.; but in a contemporary setting that feels like non-fiction.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Barbara
  • 2019-10-31

Brilliant in every way

Having been a fan of the authors for many years it was Especially. satisfying to hear him read his most parents and revealing tome.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is politically aware, interested in modern history, or lovers of mystery

12 people found this helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 2020-01-25

OK Boomer.

"Nothing endures that is not fought for."
- John le Carré , Agent Running in the Field

First, amazement. I can't believe JlC is still writing great fiction at 88. There are several writers who I feel the weight of time heavy on (John le Carré, John McPhee, and Robert Caro). They all happen to be some of my favorite writers ever, so anytime one of them writes something new it is like oxygen on my reading fire.

This novel feels a bit like the 3rd* major interation of le Carré. His first novels were Cold War espionage (Smiley novels, etc), his second were post-Cold War, late stage Capitalism. This book, published when he was 88, is a hard screed against the Nationalisms of Russian, Britain, and especially Trump's America. He is angry and he writes beautiful angry prose.

Here are some of my favorite lines about Brexit and Trump:

"Do you or do you not regard Trump, which I do, as a threat and incitement to the entire civilized world, plus he is presiding over the systematic no-holds-barred Nazificaiton of the United States?"

"He's Putin's sh!thouse cleaner. He does everything for little Vladi that little Vladi can't do for himself; pisses on European unity, pisses on human rights, pisses on Nato. Assures us that Crimea and Ukraine belong to the Holy Russian Empire, the Middle East belongs to the Jew and the Saudis, and to hell with the world Order."

"Brexit is self-immolation. The British public is being marched over a cliff by a bunch of rich elitist carpetbaggers posing as men of the people."

The ending is a bit too clean and a bit too hopeful? I dunno. I still have to untangle it a bit. Not top-shelf le Carré, but good and solid spy fiction from the MASTER of spy fiction.

* Fourth if you count his brief flirtation with crime fiction.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Stephen
  • 2019-10-31

One Of His Best

I am in awe of this book and that the author is at the height of his powers. First rate Le Carre. I hope he is with us and still writing for many more years. I can not recommend this book (and Le Carre’s own narration) highly enough.

7 people found this helpful

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  • R Ayers
  • 2019-10-24

Bravo!

This was a John Le Carre novel with an up-to-date perspective. I loved every minute of it and the author was the perfect narrator.

10 people found this helpful