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

John Le Carre
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)

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Book Description

10 Aug 2010 BBC Radio

'It's an emergency, George. You remember Vladimir? George, are you awake? You remember the old General?'

The phone call that dragged George Smiley, acting Chief of the Circus, from his bed was a plea to return to active service. But only to bury the case, not to solve it.

'An old acquaintance shot dead on Hampstead Heath, an old woman in Paris promised the return of a daughter she'll never see, a photograph taken in a Hamburg brothel - and George Smiley is called out of retirement ... SMILEY'S PEOPLE has all the le Carré touches'

Sunday Telegraph

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Audiogo (10 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160283864X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602838642
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 15 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,895,164 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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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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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24 of 27 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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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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 day ago by simon robert ormerod
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
Draws you in from the start, requires your full attention in the middle with a dramatic and even emotional ending.
Published 18 days ago by Bruce Forshaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Smileys People.
Good read, very enjoyable. Like his other books you have to concentrate and make sure you understand what is going on.
Published 1 month ago by James Dixey
5.0 out of 5 stars Seen it.
I've admired the BBC version and enjoyed it on screen so it was time to read the book. This is superbly crafted and written so that even I could follow the ins and outs of the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vynor Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Loved this book and would encourage anyone to read it. Mr Smiley is perhaps the best catcher ever.Any book by JLC is always a great read but this is one of the best.
Published 3 months ago by Pauline
5.0 out of 5 stars Consummate professional
Surely Le Carre’s magnum opus – the final book in the George Smiley/Karla chess-game trilogy begun by Tinker, Tailor…and The Honourable Schoolboy, is absolutely a master class in... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth
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 4 months 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 4 months 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 5 months 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 5 months ago by No Stoppin'
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