John le Carre to bring George Smiley in from the cold in a new novel

British thriller writer and former secret agent John le Carre.
British thriller writer and former secret agent John le Carre. PHOTO: PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE

LONDON - John le Carre is bringing spymaster George Smiley in from the cold.

The British writer will revisit his most iconic character for the first time in more than 25 years in a new novel, A Legacy Of Spies, due to be published on Sept 7, say British reports.

The new book will feature Smiley's colleague Peter Guillam, who is summoned back to London from his retirement in Brittany for a probe into past misdemeanours, says the BBC.

Explaining the story, publisher Viking says: "Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinised under disturbing criteria by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications."

Le Carre, 85, wrote the novel in "a fever" over the past year, his agent, Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown, is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Geller declines to disclose details of the plot but says it will "close George Smiley's story", which has been told in novels including Call For The Dead, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Secret Pilgrim.

The mild-mannered, steely spymaster has also appeared on screen and was played by Gary Oldman in the 2011 film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Geller says: "When I received the draft I had to keep starting it again and pinching myself that I was in the company of all these great characters from the Circus. It really is going to be one of his finest, if not his finest, novel."

Le Carre has written more than 20 spy novels over 50 years. His books are partly based on his own experiences as a British intelligence officer in Cold War Europe, although he has sought to play down his previous life.