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Smiley's People (BBC Audiobooks) [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

John Le Carre , Michael Jayston
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2011 BBC Audiobooks
On 12 CD's. When a Russian emigre is found murdered on Hampstead Heath, Smiley is called out of retirement to exorcise some Cold War ghosts from his clandestine past. What follows is Smiley the human being at his most vulnerable and Smiley the case officer at his most brilliant; and it takes to a thrilling conclusion his career-long, serpentine battle with the enigmatic and ruthless Russian spymaster Karla...Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Anna Chancellor, Lindsay Duncan, Maggie Steed, Alex Jennings and Kenneth Cranham, this enthralling dramatisation captures every nuance of le Carre's complex and compelling novel - the final book in John le Carre's Karla trilogy. 'a radio triumph...Simon Russell Beale's pitch-perfect master spy' - "Financial Times".

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd (6 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445875853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445875859
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 13.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John le Carré was born in 1931. His third novel, THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, secured him a wide reputation which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY, THE HONOURABLE SCHOOLBOY and SMILEY'S PEOPLE. His other novels include THE CONSTANT GARDENER, A MOST WANTED MAN and OUR KIND OF TRAITOR.

Product Description


'Smiley's People has all the le Carré touches` (Sunday Telegraph)

'An enormously skilled and satisfying work' (Newsweek)

'An achievement of subtlety and power of which few novelists would be capable. It is the best single thing le Carr has done' (Financial Times) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The enduring le Carré novel available on audio CD for the first time. Read by the author. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
Two seemingly unconnected events heralded the summons of Mr. George Smiley from his dubious retirement. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
For readers new to le Carre(and there can't be many)this is the third of what has become known as the "karla series".The previous two being "tinker,tailor,soldier, spy" and the herioc and romantic "honorable schoolboy"(highly reccomended too).The third sees much of the same cast collected again.You meet clever and dodgy Toby Esterhazy,the valient and niave Peter Guillam,a forgoten Russian General, an intelligence pimp,a collection of 2 dimensional whitehall twits as a foil,and as always a most humane cast of extras.The most humane being the conscience wracked George Smiley himself.As for villians you have the afformentioned whitehall boys, a convincing KGB thug and a villian of Moriaty proportion in Karla;Smileys foe for many years.The plot?Smiley is brought back once again from retirement to fight against his old enemy.A fight both personal and patriotic.It is the height of the cold war,his brief is strictly unofficial and he calls in favours and friends as his allies(thus the title).The locations?Paris,the bleakest Germany you have ever met,a sumptious Switzerland and of course grey,beaurocratic London.The drama?Betrayal.Le Carre's constant theme.Of wives,country,friendships and finally of the morality that has sustained Smiley through the long years of the cold war. Its a great read.Le Carre at his peak(though the semi autobiographical "a perfect spy" deserves a mention).If you haven't read the two others you can read this one alone. Wonder aloud afterwards how Deighton and co. can hold their head up in public.Le Carre is another world of thriller writers.I recomend you read all three but this one is one of the best you will ever read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Set in the murky world of cold war spies, this brings the duel between George Smiley and 'Karla', his Russian nemesis and alter ego, to a suitably ambivalent ending.

If you've never read Le Carre before then it's worth being aware that he creates a deeply atmospheric but fundamentally bureacratic world for his spies, with none of the glamour some other books create. His stories are always intricate and detailed but there is little backstory or exposition, and hardly any explanation or introduction to the people who live in these pages. I know some people have struggled with that aspect of Le Carre's style but it is worth persevering as these are deeply emotional books, all the better for the restraint with which they are written.

As always, in this book the past interpenetrates the present in all kinds of ways, and the parallels between Smiley himself and Karla are drawn tighter than in the earlier volumes.

One of the qualities which lifts Le Carre out of the genre spy-thriller category is the tightness of his writing, the lack of self-indulgence and the deep humanity of the characters he creates, on both side of the Communist divide. In line with the murkiness of the world he depicts is a distinct lack of moral or ideological superiority on the part of the 'west', a trait of which no-one is more (self)-aware than Smiley himself.

Like another reviewer here I loved Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but found The Honourable Schoolboy not quite as good. You could probably skip that and go straight to Smiley's People for a really taut read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By N. Webb
In retrospect it seems odd that I'd never read this book before since I've always been a big fan of Le Carre & especially his earlier Smiley books - Call for the Dead, A murder of Quality & , of course, Tinker Tailor. I think I was slightly put off by the TV adaptation, which I found slightly disappointing compared to the TV version of Tinker Tailor (which is in my top 3 TV series of all time). Another reason may have been that when I read The Honourable Schoolboy (some 20 years ago) I found it rather hard work & again slightly disappointing after Tinker Tailor (the book), & assumed that Smiley's People would be more of the same.
All the recent publicity about Le Carre made me think I really ought to give it a go now & as a prelude I re-read The Honourable Schoolboy, which I enjoyed immensely 2nd time around. Then I opened Smiley's People & had one of the most pleasurable surprises of my literary life - it was absolutely rivetting ! The first 100 odd pages had me completely mesmerised & I just wanted the story to go on & on & never stop. This is writing of the highest order, dialogue, characters & plot all blending in a seamless & seemingly effortless yet tantalizing fashion. It is without doubt & comfortably the best of his works that I have read & goes easily in to my list of all time favourite books by any author.
It seems pointless trying to describe what the book is actually about since all you really need to know is that, as the title suggests, it involves George Smiley & some of his old Circus chums having their last hoorah. If you want to know more then just read the book.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The British spy novel at it's very best. 18 Mar 2001
By A Customer
To my mind "Smiley's people" is the quint-essentially English spy novel. It has a fascinating many-stranded story that slowly builds into something special.
The story focuses on George Smiley (The main character from "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy") as he tries to track down his old nemesis - the Russian spy-master Karla. But we meet many interesting characters, and visit many diverse locations on the way.
In this book, we are as far removed from James Bond fantasy as it's possible to get. (Think of be-spectacled men in grey suits drinking tea and pouring over dusty old Whitehall files - and you'll have more of the right idea).
Does this mean that it's dull and boring then? Far from it:-
It is a brilliantly written mixture of detective investigation, espionage, and character study which builds slowly but surely to a wonderfully understated yet perfect conclusion.
If you're a fan of the genre (or even just of a good book) - don't miss it.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
I bought this for my husband he likes all the John le Carre books.
He enjoyed this was a excellent read.
Good site to use no problems thank you.
Published 1 month ago by jill smyth
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Carré the master
A brilliant end to the Tinker, Tailor series. The Cold War is brought to life again and the tension never lets up.
Published 1 month ago by M.R. Grubb
4.0 out of 5 stars A master at his best.
The atmoshere ot the seventies Cold War pervades this work. Rich in characterisation and suspenseful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dave Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous writing, great for supense
Probably the best of Le Carre's (i've read so far). Moves very quickly and keeps the suspense going all the time. There is no real clue to the outcome until the very end.
Published 2 months ago by No Stoppin'
1.0 out of 5 stars Zzzzzzz
I made the mistake of re-reading the Smiley trilogy all at once. By the time I got to Smiley's People I could see that this is merely a repetition of all that had gone before. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Michael Bolton
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling
A wonderful plot that flows gently and builds to a tense ending. The characters are so well developed you empathise with them and worry for them.
Published 2 months ago by Esperera
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly great writer
Brilliantly written, truly believable characters and story. Start with his first one, Call for the Dead and read all his books.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The master of spy fiction
As with all these books you need to be fully awake to appreciate them, not really for reading before sleep. But when fully awake they are great.
Published 3 months ago by S. Laverack
5.0 out of 5 stars It will keep you turning the pages to see what is going to occur next!
The Cold War at its best with intrigue and mystery until the the truth unravels to be seen. It is truly a master of story telling with out the need for gore or grisly details to... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Teflon Thommo
5.0 out of 5 stars Good old George
Le Carre at his precise imaginative best, especially strong with methods of post war spycraft. Can't help wondering if dear old Karla gad a bad press from the Western reader's... Read more
Published 4 months ago by George Davies
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