A Legacy of Spies by John Le Carre (Viking)

Spy novel supremo John Le Carre returns to some of his best-known characters in this terrific new book.

Peter Guillam, formerly of the British Secret Service, has retired to a farmstead in France but is called back to London when accusations are made by children of people who died during a Cold War operation back in the 1960s.

Guillam is at first defiant but is soon forced to accept that he must trawl through ancient documents to try to marshal a defence that he and former colleagues acted recklessly and illegally.

The early scenes in which Guillam tries to brazen it out but current Secret Service officers chillingly refuse to allow him to muddy the waters are chilling and beautifully-written.

The action weaves between modern times and the events surrounding one of Le Carre's earlier novels The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

Le Carre fans will revel in the fact that A Legacy Of Spies includes fresh scenes involving characters like George Smiley, Bill Haydon, Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, Inspector Mendel and Smiley henchman Fawn.

Le Carre is one of the best writers around and this new book is a marvellous addition to his canon of spy novels.