George Smiley Returns: Nick Harkaway Revives le Carré’s Master Spy in Karla’s Choice

In a move that has spy fiction enthusiasts on the edge of their seats, the legendary George Smiley, a creation of the acclaimed author John le Carré, is poised for a thrilling return in a new novel penned by le Carré's son, Nick Harkaway. The forthcoming book, titled Karla's Choice, promises to reacquaint readers with the intricate world of espionage that has captivated millions worldwide.

“When I read the opening chapters of Nick’s story, I had this uncanny feeling David (John le Carré) had just delivered his new work to me,” said Curtis Brown CEO Geller. “I heard David’s voice lift off the page. Not only has Nick caught his father’s idiom, but he has also inhabited the world of the Circus and Tinker Tailor to create a completely new story, set in the period just after the end of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. This will be the literary event of 2024.”

Jonny Geller

Set in the spring of 1963, the narrative picks up with George Smiley, the British intelligence officer known for his wits and unassuming demeanor, has walked away from the covert operations of the British Secret Service, famously referred to as the Circus. Smiley yearns for a tranquil life, far removed from the clandestine battles between the West and the Soviets. With his marital life finally finding steady ground, whispers of Smiley's newfound contentment begin to circulate within the corridors of power in Whitehall.

However, the peace is short-lived. Control, the enigmatic head of the Circus, draws Smiley back into the fold with a seemingly innocuous mission: to interview Szusanna, a Hungarian émigré entangled in the affairs of a defected Russian agent and a missing London target. What starts as a straightforward task quickly spirals into a perilous journey, leading Smiley back to East Berlin and into the heart of a conspiracy tied to his most formidable adversary.

Set in the missing decade between two iconic installments in the George Smiley saga, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Nick Harkaway’s Karla’s Choice promises to be an extraordinary, thrilling return to the world of spy fiction’s greatest writer, John le Carré.

‘Smiley is woven into my life,” said Harkaway. “Tinker Tailor was written in the two years after I was born and I grew up with the evolution of the Circus, so this is a deeply personal journey for me, and of course it’s a journey which has to feel right to the le Carré audience. It also seems as if we need the Smiley stories back now because they ask us the questions of the moment: what compassion do we owe to one another as human beings, and at what point does that compassion become more important than nation, law or duty?”

Nick Harkaway's foray into the espionage world created by his father signals a remarkable moment in spy fiction. With Karla's Choice, Harkaway embarks on a daring venture to expand the legacy of George Smiley.

According to Deadline, Penguin Random House’s label Viking will publish the new, currently unnamed book in the UK, U.S. and Canada after acquiring global English-language rights from Curtis Brown boss Jonny Geller. International language deals are being negotiated.

The Spybrary Take

Shane Whaley
Shane Whaley, host of the Spybrary Podcast


Fans of John le Carré should look forward to a novel that we hope pays homage to the master of spy literature and also stands as a compelling addition to the genre in its own right. As the October release date approaches, the anticipation surrounding Karla's Choice serves as a testament to the enduring appeal of George Smiley and the indelible mark left by the late John le Carré on the world of literary espionage.

Pre-order your copy of Karla's Choice. Release date Tuesday, October 22, 2024

Are you new to the work of John le Carré? – Check out our guide to the books of John le Carré

Which John le Carre first?
Ian Fleming's Goldfinger

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