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Smiley's People (BBC Audiobooks) Audio CD – Audiobook, 6 Oct 2011


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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: 13.8 x 2.4 x 13.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 777,605 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.

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Review

'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

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Jun. 2001
Format: Paperback
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 on 2 May 2010
Format: Paperback
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 24 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George Smiley is called out of retirement when an old operative called the General is murdered on Hampstead Heath. Initially requested to make sure that there is nothing that could tie the death to the Circus (which now finds itself prone to government whims), Smiley discovers that the General had claimed to have intelligence that could change the game between the west and the Soviet Union and enable him to finally defeat his old enemy, Karla. What follows is Smiley's delicate unravelling of the information that the General had obtained, a journey that will take him from Britain to West Germany, France and Switzerland and which will see him reunite with old colleagues, including Toby Esterhase, Peter Guillam and Saul Enderby.

One of the all-time great spy thrillers, Le Carre effortlessly weaves his storylines together, switching between Smiley's investigations and Madame Ostrakova's innocent trigger of the unfolding events. Smiley is a brilliant character - devoted to the Circus and loyal to the people who worked for him and yet not blind to their faults - a man in control of his emotions and yet unable to control his feelings about his wife Anne and her innumerable affairs. Indeed, Anne's affair with Bill Haydon lingers like a spectre over the events of the book with Smiley remaining unable to forgive her and seeking revenge for Karla's instigation of it.

Written in 1980 and set in the same period, it's fascinating to read of a time before mobile phones and computer technology were prevalent. The spies here rely on their memories and their instincts and luck plays as much a part as hard work.

There are some wonderful scenes in the book as Smiley follows up on old colleagues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 13 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
First published in 1979, this is the ninth book from the pen of Le Carre, and the eighth to feature his most famous creation George Smiley. It was written as Alec Guinness was appearing as Smiley on television in the BBC's epic `Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', and Le Carre was so impressed with the performance that he here subtly changes certain aspects of his own depiction of Smiley to better reflect Guinness' TV persona.

Following form Tinker and the Honourable schoolboy, this is the triumphant conclusion to the Karla trilogy. The second book in the trilogy, the overbloated and at times tedious Honourable Schoolboy was a bit of a let down, but I am pleased to report that this book finds Le Carre on his top form, with a gripping tale and tight plot that really nethralls.

Smiley is summoned out of retirement to rake over the traces when an old Circus contact is found dead. The powers that be are concerned that there is no scandal attached to the Circus, and ask Smiley, as the last of his generation, to tidy up the legacy of that generation. Smiley starts to look over the last days of the General, and soon finds a trail that leads to very dark places. Does he quietly tidy up as he has been asked, or does he use the knowledge gathered to settle some long standing scores and lay many old ghosts to rest?

It's a brilliantly constructed and told tale. Smiley is aided and abetted by many old faces from his past, as he tries to resolve the big unresolved question from his time at the Circus. Le Carre draws each of them beautifully, and I often felt that these were real people and that I was in the room with them. Toby Esterhase in particular makes a great impression in this book.
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