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The legendary espionage writer John Le Carre dies at the age of 89


The literary world paid tribute to John Le Carré after the legendary spy writer died after a brief battle with pneumonia.

The literary agent Jonny Geller shared the news of Le Carré's death on Sunday evening, saying, "His kind will never be seen again."

When he confirmed that the death was not related to Covid-19, Mr. Geller said: “Our hearts go out to his four sons, their families and to his dear wife Jane.

"For six decades, John le Carré dominated the bestseller lists and review pages with his monumental work."

Former British spy, born David Cornwell, switched from espionage to one of the most critically acclaimed British writers.

He had written 25 books under the pseudonym John le Carré, including Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener and The Night Manager.

His work dates from 1961 – with his third novel, The Spy Who Came from the Cold, he catapulted him into worldwide recognition in 1963.

John Le Carré, 89, died on Saturday in Cornwall after a brief battle with pneumonia

David Cornwell worked as a British spy until his name was passed on to Soviet Russia by a member of the Cambridge Five - a spy ring that was used to relay information to the USSR in 1963

David Cornwell worked as a British spy until his name was passed on to Soviet Russia by a member of the Cambridge Five – a spy ring that was used to relay information to the USSR in 1963

Born in Poole and trained at the Sherborne School, the author worked for both MI5 and MI6 in the 1950s and 1960s.

After joining the British Army's Intelligence Corps in 1950, he later worked undercover for MI5, spying on left-wing groups at Lincoln College, Oxford to discover potential Soviet agents.

He graduated from Oxford in 1956 with a first-class degree in modern languages ​​and began teaching at Eton College

In 1958, he became an officer at MI5, where he conducted interrogations and more covert activities such as wiretapping and break-ins.

Le Carre was drawn to an upbringing that was superficially conventional but secretly turbulent.

Le Carre's third novel, The Spy Who Came in the Cold, became an acclaimed film starring Richard Burton. The actor and writer are pictured together above

Le Carre's third novel, The Spy Who Came in the Cold, became an acclaimed film starring Richard Burton. The actor and writer are pictured together above

The 89-year-old has written hugely successful novels, including The Spy Who Came from Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which was filmed in a film with Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth (pictured together at the premiere in 2011).

The 89-year-old has written hugely successful novels, including The Spy Who Came from Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which was filmed in a film with Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth (pictured together at the premiere in 2011).

The novelist Robert Harris called le Carre "one of those writers who were not only a brilliant writer but also penetrated popular culture - and that is a great rarity".

The novelist Robert Harris called le Carre "one of those writers who were not only a brilliant writer but also penetrated popular culture – and that is a great rarity".

His father, Ronnie Cornwell, was a gangster tied scammer who spent time in jail for insurance fraud. His mother left the family when David was 5 years old; he didn't meet her again until he was 21.

It was a childhood full of uncertainty and extremes: a minute of limo and champagne, the next eviction from the family's newest accommodation.

"These were actually very early experiences of secret survival," Le Carre said in 1996.

"The whole world was hostile territory."

As a British spy, David Cornwell worked for both MI5 and MI6, and even conducted interrogations and tapped telephone lines as a surveillance tool

As a British spy, David Cornwell worked for both MI5 and MI6, and even conducted interrogations and tapped telephone lines as a surveillance tool

David Cornwell (awarded the Olof Palme Prize in January 2020), who received great recognition under the pseudonym Le Carré, began writing novels as a British spy

David Cornwell (awarded the Olof Palme Prize in January 2020), who received great recognition under the pseudonym Le Carré, began writing novels as a British spy

The pseudonym John Le Carre was created when his first book "Call for the Dead" was published to circumvent a ban on the publication of works by foreign officers under their own names.

His spy career ended when it became known that Kim Philby, one of the infamous Cambridge Five, had shared his true identity with Soviet Russia.

Le Carre's work has often been praised for taking away the glamorous life of a spy, often depicted in James Bond's novel, and instead focusing on the sharper, darker aspects of the job.

Mr. Geller said: “His like will never be seen again, and his loss will be felt by every book lover, anyone interested in the human condition. We have lost a great figure in English literature, a man of great wit, kindness, and humor and intelligence.

"I've lost a friend, a mentor, and an inspiration."

The author felt a special connection with the character of George Smiley, who was first featured in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

He later reappeared in his Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley & # 39; s People trilogy.

According to the BBC, Cornwell once said of the character, “The moment I had Smiley as a character, with this past, this memory, this awkward personal life and this excellent job, I knew I had something to live with and work with. & # 39;

The late author's family said tonight: “David is survived by his beloved wife of nearly fifty, Jane, and his sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon. We all deeply mourn him.

& # 39; Our thanks go to the wonderful NHS team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for the care and compassion shown throughout his stay. We know they share our sadness. & # 39;

The writer Robert Harris called le Carre "one of those writers who were not only a brilliant writer but also invaded popular culture – and that is a great rarity".

Harris told Sky News that Le Carre was a "brilliant writer" and "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" was a "masterpiece".

& # 39; It's an incredibly compelling story, and very deep, and it changed the way spy fiction is written. It was a brilliant, psychological portrait of espionage and betrayal, and the decline of British power. & # 39;

The 89-year-old had been banned in Cornwall and had been extremely critical of the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. He described Boris Johnson as a "pig ignorant".

The 89-year-old had been banned in Cornwall and had been extremely critical of the government's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. He described Boris Johnson as a "pig ignorant".

David Cornwell is survived by his nearly fifty-year-old wife Jane and sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon. His family said they are deeply mourning his death.

David Cornwell is survived by his nearly fifty-year-old wife Jane and sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon. His family said they are deeply mourning his death.

Le Carre was a pseudonym created by Cornwell to circumvent a ban on the publication of works by Foreign Office employees in their own name. His books have gained worldwide recognition and have been translated into various languages. Cornwel is pictured with a French edition of his 1965 novel The Looking Glass War

Le Carre was a pseudonym created by Cornwell to circumvent a ban on the publication of works by Foreign Office employees in their own name. His books have gained worldwide recognition and have been translated into various languages. Cornwel is pictured with a French edition of his 1965 novel The Looking Glass War

The acclaimed writer spent the lockdown at his Cornwall home and was open about the government's handling of the pandemic.

In May he said: "There are signs of a tragic national collapse everywhere, but there is actually a history of at least 10 years of austerity behind it, during which the national health service has come down."

Regarding Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he added: “A man can be pig-savvy and very well educated. There is a line of this through politics. & # 39;

The father of four also said he hoped the pandemic would lead to a "fairer society" with a "more even distribution of wealth".

He had a house in Hampstead, north London, and a cliff-top house in St. Buryan, Cornwall, where he settled with Mrs. Jane before the coronavirus lockdown.

Mr Geller said Le Carre defined the Cold War era: “With the help of his character, George Smiley shone a harsh light on the injustices of our world through his complex actions and beautiful prose.

& # 39; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy came out in the 1970s and the accompanying landmark TV series starring Alec Guinness.

& # 39; The 1980s brought the novel that is often heralded as his masterpiece: A Perfect Spy.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, David's focus expanded beyond relations between the Soviet Union, Britain and the US to include weapons related to The Night Manager.

& # 39; The first decade of the new millennium brought us The Constant Gardener, a passionate review of Big Pharma, and this current decade brought back his favorite creation, George Smiley in A Legacy of Spies.

"His most recent novel, Agent Running in the Field, was published in October 2019. David wrote 25 novels and a volume of memoirs, The Pigeon Tunnel (2016), and has sold more than 60 million copies of his work worldwide."

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