Nat awaits assignment from the British Secret Intelligence Service as part of middle age phase-down or work-up in the summer of 2019, when young Ed takes him up for a badminton match. No sooner does the Service deploy him to the Haven with a cancelled operation, is he diverted to a more intriguing one, where he has to be his own man, full of personal dilemma, wit notched up, imagination to write his rules. More character driven than cold war Le Carré, the new era found its star.

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