Tim Cranmer is a self retired British civil servant (and a covert intelligence operative) living in the country with his young mistress Emma, tending to his vine orchard, trying hard to believe that world will allow him to have the middle class existence that he desperately want to sink to. But the nemesis for his escapist life comes in the form of Larry, his idealistic protégé who refuses to share his cynicism about the world. Larry sets into motion a chain of events which consumes Tim and his girl friend and propels him from the sterile suburbs of England to the conflict torn regions of Russia.
I like the world of espionage that appears in the novels of John Le Carre. You get whif fof a brutual ground reality in there. There are no heroes here. It is all about cynicism or greed or hot headed idealism. Spying is not about beautiful beaches, sexy girls, preposterous gadgets or one to one physical engagement with adversaries. But it is something that happens during the meaningful pauses of diplomatic conversations or empty chitchats in the corridors of beaurocracy. After John Le Carre, it is very difficult to ignore the juvenile nature of the world of James Bond.