Trump’s meeting with Putin he compares to that of Molotov and Ribbentrop. Agent Running in the Field is published by Viking at £20. Before turning to What Happens Next, a word about le Carré's prose: Not only does it hold the coiled energy of a much younger writer, it fits the bitter, angry narrator's voice exceptionally well. What’s most remarkable is the way in which le Carré can still produce set-pieces of a type that he more or less invented 50 years ago and, at the age of 87, do them better than his scores of imitators. Like its bestselling predecessor, A Legacy of Spies, this new book demands the tribute of a rereading as much as a reading. His second language, and third (Madame Galina taught him to "speak Russian with a French intonation, French with a Russian intonation, and such German as I have with a mixture of both.". In Agent Running in the Field, John le Carré , who celebrates his 88th birthday this weekend, has integrated the subject and his anger about it into fiction much more thoroughly and seductively. It's lying wait to unleash your ambush, while the shuttle describes its leisurely arc." Agent Running in the Field, his 26th, opens cheekily with a badminton challenge: Nat, close to retirement and even closer to redundancy due to his inability to accept authority, is obsessed with this racquet sport. In many ways, the intrigue of Agent Running in the Field is secondary to its function as a renowned author’s scathing indictment of a country selling itself out.

Agent Running in the Field is le Carré's 25th novel Credit: Rex/Viking A s the novel progresses, Ed’s fervent views lead him to take a course of action that lands both him and Nat in …

With Trump in the Whitehouse and Britain having left the EU, we can laugh at the overindulged adolescent in the author, rather than let it spoil our reading. Also in the firing line, is the un-named Foreign Secretary who, at the time of writing, will have been Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. Russia, in Nat’s description of Vladimir Putin’s presidency, is “not going forward to a bright future, but backwards into her dark, delusional past.” And Britain, with its “minority Tory cabinet of tenth-raters” and “a pig-ignorant foreign secretary” (who, in the world outside the book, recently became prime minister), seems to be following a short way behind. Free UK p&p over £15, online orders only. Is the critical mass of Channel Four News viewers sufficient to allow such a thing to happen? To order a copy go to or call 020-3176 3837.

A European by birth and by loyalty, he’s quietly appalled by Britain’s ongoing capitulation to financial interests, and alarmed by the resurgence of Russian power. Nat, the narrator of Agent Running in the Field, le Carré’s latest, is chided by his superiors when he expenses a taxi to interview a former source at a Czech resort town popular among Russian organized criminals. We want to hear what you think about this article. True, the language, though charming and fluent, feels like a burnished antique, never that of man in his forties now, belonging rather to an earlier era. Too clever for the rest of us. This novel, however, is neither a hissy fit nor a high-noon shootout, but an autumnal threnody that reconciles rage to storytelling.

It suggests that Britain, in desperate pursuit of trade deals, is about to become Trump’s lap-dog – the same Trump who is complicit in his pal Putin’s plot to destabilise and conquer poor, decent, defenceless Europe – and asks how many good people working for the intelligence services will be able to avoid betraying them in such circumstances. “He is so corrosive in his view of MI6 that most professional SIS [Secret Intelligence Service] officers are pretty angry with him,” Dearlove declared during an event at the Cliveden Literary Festival. If you are disappointed, it is because he has set his bar high, we expect better from him. What he can’t see—whether due to his own blind spots or his creator’s—is where he’s part of the problem. With imported bespoke Hoxton breakfast cereals? The novel is narrated by Nat, a brilliant agent runner for MI6 who, at nearly 47, is told he cannot compete with the “DPhils, fresh minds and advanced computer skills” of the younger generation and is reduced to running a crummy substation in Camden – “The Haven” – dealing with some of the less fruitful Russian double agents.