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Smiley's People Hardcover – 5 Apr 2001

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (5 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340733756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340733752
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,163,159 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)

Book Description

A classic le Carré novel, now repackaged in hardcover

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 74 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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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 Amazon Customer on 15 Feb 2010
Format: Paperback
One day in the 1950s, when Moscow Centre's spies defected in droves following purges at home, George Smiley (GS) unwittingly came face to face with Karla in New Delhi. Karla's newly-installed networks on the US West Coast had been rolled up hours after Karla left. GS flew to India to assess his value, telling him he could help himself escape certain death, if only he talked. Karla remains silent and is deported to Russia. Somehow he manages to shift the blame for his failure and is given a new chance as a spymaster operating outside the mainstream KGB organisation.
In "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy", Part 1 of the "Karla Trilogy", GS painstakingly roots out the mole, the insider turned traitor, whom Karla is servicing inside the Circus. In "The Honourable Schoolboy", Part 2, GS as caretaker Chief of the Circus, still much in disarray from the damage inflicted by Karla's mole, succeeds--with help from the CIA--in frustrating what would have been an immense victory for Karla in the Far East. Ultimately, GS is double-crossed by some of his most senior British collaborators and the CIA runs off with the main prize, a highly-placed Chinese defector. But the operation has put the Circus on the map again. GS's two shifty, pro-US former helpers have become the new Circus chief and Head of Operations.
At the start this volume, Part 3, GS is once more brought out of retirement following the murder in London of a defector, an elderly former Soviet general. What happens next is a formidable act of will, full of deceit and deception, memorable characters and dramatic scenes, with one purpose, to sting Karla and blackmail him into defecting to the West.
GS and Karla will meet again, face to face, one yard between them, much as they did 25 years earlier. And GS bows out and retires, finally, after 50 years (1928-1978) of serving his country unnoticed by all but a few. But by millions of readers.
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