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Agent Running in the Field

Narrated by: John le Carré
Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (132 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Narrated by John le Carre.

The Sunday Times best seller.

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.

Times Books of the Year

New Statesman Book of the Year

Guardian Books of the Year

Sunday Times Books of the Year

TLS Books of the Year

Daily Mail Books of the Year

Mail on Sunday's Best Books of the Year

Apple Best books of 2019

©2019 John le Carré (P)2019 Penguin Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times." (The Guardian)

"John le Carré is as recognisable a writer as Dickens or Austen." (Financial Times)

"No writer has ever been better at turning the act of two people talking politely to each other across a desk into a blood sport." (Telegraph)

What listeners say about Agent Running in the Field

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It's a Cracking Yarn

Despite making his views known about Brexit and the current leaders of superpowers, this is a much more benign John Le Carre than in many of his other works. He seems to actually like his main characters and makes us really feel for them, and enjoy their journey as the story grows, rather than pitying them. I have read in some newspaper reviews that Ed really annoys people, but I know some Eds and he is drawn realistically but sympathetically for the most. The work feels slighter than others but despite the state of the nation, the story around the characters and where they end up was pretty positive, unlike in quite a few of his other works. As to the reading, while being a complete fan of Michael Jayston, yes, he is younger than the author at 83 but this is the second he hasn't narrated so perhaps he is no longer available. To start with I was concerned that maybe Mr Le Carre has emphysema or similar as he did seem breathless, but either I got used to it, or it lessened. Loved the book and have listened to it three times already.

2 people found this helpful

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Good

I was initially disappointed that Tom Hollander didn’t narrate this one, but JLC did a great job. Story lacked suspense but the characters were great. Recommend.

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Absorbing

It took a while for the different threads to come together but, when they did, it made for a very satisfying conclusion. Really enjoyed Le Carre’s narration.

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great reading

interesting modern spy story, great take on Brexit, amazing to hear John Le Carre's reading voice.

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Le Carre still delivers the goods

I very much enjoyed this novel, particularly John Le Carre as narrator. His rendition of the world-weary agent runner was superb. The plot was excellent though if there is any flaw it was the speed of the dénouement.

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  • JT
  • 26-01-2020

A beautifully read and written story

A surprising story given today's junk. This is a story using good English and creative twists and turns all through. Compared to the USA crap THIS worth reading.

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Absolutely excellent.

One of the best Le Caree novels ever, and the audio performance was brilliant. Highly recommended.

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Smashing serve of great storytelling.

How mightily pleasing to listen to wonderful “old school” language but with such panache that you thrill to each scene as it is set and played out. The gifted ways the author transmits the flavour/character/place whilst dealing with dialogue or narrative transitions is so effortless that I found myself almost actually clapping. Yes, there was proselytizing, but hey, it’s those kind of times we are living through. Hope life goes on in safety for all.

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Vintage Le Carre tale & narration

Familiar territory for the author and although not amongst his best perhaps, his narration brought this book alive for me in a way just not possible by reading oneself.......hugely enthralling and recommended.

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wonderful, a real treat

le Carre's narration imbues a depth that an actor would find difficult. Dark, deep and full of monsters. really entertaining.

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  • Peter Hungerford
  • 08-11-2019

oh how I wish John le carre had read all his books

I loved it. I don't know if it is because as one ages one appreciate the beauty of a human story, as this is not early le carre, but the pleasure in the development of it is whatis exceptional Possibly warmer and more hopeful than his early works, the joy I found strongest however, was the pleasure of hearing the master read his own work himself. I dearly wish we had had that pleasure earlier on.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-11-2019

fantastic to here was a Reading

he was almost perfect. he rendered the different voices with great dexterity and excellent timing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mike Williamson
  • 15-01-2020

Luxury

Le Carré never ever ever fails to deliver and never ever disappoints. As usual an excellently written and narrated story. As topical, believable and meaningful as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was in 1963.

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  • Mark
  • 30-12-2019

Good narration by author John Le Carre

John Le Carre's easy listening narration was well suited to the tempo of this book. His articulate, evenly toned voice provided a relaxed, laid back feel to the book while providing full and colourful descriptions of characters and scenarios. I found this book entertaining but not really brimming with the levels of mystery and suspense he has previously produced. This book went into the second tier in my library.

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  • Brian Stokker
  • 15-12-2019

10/10

In a class of its own, superb storyteller. Brilliant narration, the best I've yet heard.

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  • P. Savage
  • 25-01-2020

Dire

Le Carre’s downhill spiral continues. Once a writer who dealt in complex characters and moral and emotional ambiguity he now serves up childish caricatures. The book can be summed up as Brexit bad, EU good, Trump evil Merkel good, without any examination of the ideas or issues at all. The literary equivalent of a Hampstead dinner party with London’s sanctimonious liberal (an abuse of the term) elite. I continued listening to the end in the hope that Le Carre would reveal the twist that the characters were not really self righteous cardboard cut outs but were only acting. No such luck. It is sad that a great writer had come to this, his talent drowned in undergraduate politics.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruth Harris
  • 17-10-2019

Absolutely Bloody Marvellous

What a revelation it is to hear JLC read his own work. A great p!easure, and a wonderful story.

9 people found this helpful

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  • D K Hierlehy
  • 20-10-2019

Bad choice

Even though I quite liked the story, they shouldn't have made an octogenarian read the entire thing. John le carre is a great writer but he is not an actor and making him read it all seemed somehow cruel. He was breathy to begin with and got better as he found his stride but it still didn't make for the best listening experience.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-10-2019

Dear Mr. Le Carré, Brilliant work, not so reading

Dear Mr. Le Carré, Brilliant work, not so good reading. Please bring back Michael Jayston.

31 people found this helpful

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  • Crawford jamieson
  • 26-10-2019

Betrayal and loyalty in our time, a classic modern Le Carre novel

An elegant novel, beautifully read by the author. One or two old characters reappear later in their careers and as ever Le Carre is at his very best when describing human relationships through snippets of conversation, whether gathered over supper or in parked cars. A fundamentally humane story, dealing with the difficulties of a reasonable and decent man navigating a complicated and sometimes immoral world. It’s a pleasure to behold an author who has lost none of his very considerable powers and who become more radical and playfully disruptive in his character and story development as the years have passed. This is not one of his epic works but is beautifully formed and satisfying in every way. I enjoyed it enormously and as Connie Sachs once said of the Polyakov tapes , I shall replay it to enjoy your voice!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 27-10-2019

Any chance of a sequel?

An intriguing and plausible plot with very sympathetic characters. I didn't want it to end!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Victoria Sheppard
  • 21-10-2019

brilliant writing, wrong narration.

As ever, fantastic writing, but should have Gone fro Michael Jayson as with others. JLC isn’t a narrator and it spoils it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Resonate
  • 21-10-2019

Loved this book

Loved this book , loved his voice and they way he delivered his reading it. Really sorry when I came to the end . Will probably listen to straight away again. What a brilliant man and writer.

4 people found this helpful

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  • nehru_torpedo
  • 21-10-2019

Great Book Read by Amateur

Of typical high standard literary wise, but what hubris leads JLC to believe he can match a professional’s performance when it comes to reading his own work. The designer of an F1 car doesn’t race it professionally. Disappointing.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Peter Green
  • 22-03-2020

Not his best.

The tale ended and I thought we would move on to another chapter. Very much a damp squib ending to a pretty tedious book. I felt the narration was a little plodding and the author should leave the job to a pro. A very disappointed Le Carre fan!

2 people found this helpful