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The Honourable Schoolboy [Paperback]

John Le Carré
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

26 Nov 2009

It is a beleaguered and betrayed Secret Service that has been put in the care of George Smiley. A mole has been uncovered at the organisation's highest levels - and its agents across the world put in grave danger. But untangling the traitor's web gives Smiley a chance to attack his Russian counterpart, Karla. And part-time spy Jerry Westerby is the weapon at Smiley's disposal.

The Honourable Schoolboy is remarkable and thrilling, one of three books (together with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People) to feature the legendary clash between Smiley and Karla, two brilliant spymasters on opposite sides of the Cold War.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (26 Nov 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0340993774
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340993774
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,481 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


'His command of detail is staggering, his straightforward, unaffected prose is superb. In short, wonderful value.' (Sunday Times)

'Simply the world's greatest fictional spymaster.' (Newsweek)

'Energy, compassion, rich and overwhelming sweep of character and action . . . one of the finest English novels of the seventies' (The Times)

Book Description

A wonderful, classic le Carré now reissued in a stunning new package.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Masterful Story 30 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the second of Le Carre's Smiley trilogy. Following the Secret Services uncovering of a Russian mole Smiley is put in charge to rebuild the battered and demoralised service.

We follow the exploits of Gerald Westerbury as he sets out to uncover the destination of $500,000 of funds transferred to a trust account in Hong Kong by the Russians. Jerry has to discover what this money is for.

There is cross and double cross by the main protaginists as there are several stories running in tandem. As Smiley plots he is under pressure from the Americans and the machinations of his own political masters. Does anyone know what is happening or who is planning what?

What is Drake Ho, the Chinese industrialist, up to? Who is Liese Worth? Did Ricardo, a drug running CIA pilot, die in Laos? What is the role of drake's dead brother in everything?

In typical Carre fashion the story is told in the third person, as though reminising after the fact. We are led through the events after they happened. We know that something major is waiting but not what exactly.

The hero of the piece is Westerbury. He is the old school spy, sent in as a journalist and left to run with little support. We see the efforts of a demoralised agency trying to rebuild and inject a new pride.

Another great story from the master of Cold War spying.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a Cold, Grey Day 15 Feb 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am working my way through the new BBC John LeCarre series and loving every minute of them. The production is crisp and clear, the acting exemplary and the adaptations convey all the drama and tension you want from a cold war thriller.

At three hours long this is perfect for a long car journey or, as I did, a long afternoon sitting in the chair as the cold grey skies rolled past outside the window. As they say, radio has the best pictures and these are better than most movies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The Honourable Schoolboy 8 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first book I have purchased for my new Kindle. I found the book was OK except for one major problem. It is quite common for two, or even three, words to be run together because the spaces between words are missing. This really slows down reading the book while you try to figure out what these words are supposed to be. If I'd found this problem with a paper book I would have taken it back to the retailer and asked for a refund on the grounds of poor quality. But this option does not seem to be available with Amazon. I have heard from other Kindle users that they too have encountered this problem, so it is clear that Amazon is not into quality control. Very disappointing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. 26 July 2011
By Bill Kelly VINE VOICE
I have read this novel several times over the years and it never pales. It is ahrd to ad anything to most of the reviews here, but i do agree with J Byrne that the book carries echoes of Conrad, particulalry "Heart of Darkness"-certainly Jerry's journey to see Ricardo through splendidly described war torn scenes of Laos and Cambodia reminds one of Marlow's quest for Kurtz.

The darkness side is also perhaps more evident here than in the earlier Smiley novels, particulalry in the character of Fawn the psychotic bodyguard for George, and the callous reflections on the deaths of "dispensable" characters. It is left to Westerby, rather than George to carry the flag for some approach at morality in what the Circus does.

Highly recommended if you like thoughtful espionage, history or just good, literate novels.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely magnificent. 24 April 2000
This book, the second in the so-called "Smiley versus Karla" trilogy, is bar none, Le Carre's best novel. It is about a complicated ploy by George Smiley, now re-instated in the circus and it's new head, to gain revenge on Karla and Moscow Centre over it's decades long humiliation by the hands of a British spy. The novel is primarily based in the far east, mainly in Hong Kong and reaching out to war-torn Cambodia. The man on the scene, set to land the coup, is Jerry Westerby, a sometime news Reporter, a some time spy for the circus. Unfortunately for him, the cards are stacked against him from the outset. I would read Tinker Tailor before reading this novel, so as to have much of the background knowledge needed. But in my mind this is LeCarre's finest work. Pity the excellent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Smiley's People didn't have this gem filmed along with them as well.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a most likable hero 26 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This remains my favorite le Carre novel.It has everything you expect from him, being beautifully written,well paced and with a great feeling for the locations and people.But with this book le Carre has created a most likable hero in Jerry Westerby.Tough,romantic but essentially niave he is a perfect foil to the the fantastically corrupt asia of the last days of the Vietnam war. .The novel builds beautifully having introduced and combined plots,sub plots and a great cast of weird and wonderful bit players rouges, cynics and soldiers as Jerry faithfully follows the orders of his mentor George and plans to betray him.Great stuff.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'm pretty new to Le Carre. I read 'The Spy Who Came in from The Cold' and was blown away. It's dark, it's realistic - it's the dirty, unglamorous world of what you'd imagine spying must really be like.

I read 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' and though it was a bit slow at times, I loved it. Great story - makes you really work at it but it's really rewarding too.

When I realised 'Tinker Tailor' was part of a trilogy, I thought I must read the rest.

'The Honorable Schoolboy' is the second in the trilogy and you must read 'Tinker Tailor' first. It's a good story, a good development of 'Tinker Tailor' showing how Smiley tries to rebuild a shattered service with little support or thanks from the political masters.

However.... it's 686 pages long. You're 80 pages in before the intrigue first starts to get opened up. You're 150 pages in before there's anything very exciting. It's split into two halves, the second of which is paced much better but he really drags his heals. I would love to edit this book - at 450 pages, it could be a very worthy sequel to 'Tinker Tailor'. As it stands, it takes an effort of will - or good skimming skills - to stay with it.

I bought the final one - 'Smiley's People' - and note it's only 450 pages long. Perhaps he had more confidence in himself by this stage to just get down to the meat and potatoes and cut the waffle. Fingers crossed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read
This is the third le Carre novel I've read and it didn't disappoint. A real page turner, with fantastic characterisation as before. Just as good as Tinker, Tailor...
Published 7 hours ago by Dr Ruth M Barnard
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I wanted to hear this again - it is very good
Published 4 days ago by BARNABY
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Bought this for my husband,he was very pleased with the purchase found it to be a really good read he has enjoyed it. Read more
Published 26 days ago by jill smyth
5.0 out of 5 stars John le carre book
All Le carre books are worth reading. I bought this book as part of a birthday present for my husband.
Published 1 month ago by Eryrys
4.0 out of 5 stars Read this book over 20 years ago.
I remember loving this book when I first read it, so I've bought it again in anticipation of it having the same impact. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Mac the Bassman
5.0 out of 5 stars Typical John Le Carre
I would recommend this to anyone who like Le Carre's work especially Tinker Tailor. It makes a thrilling sequel in a new part of the world. Excellent thriller.
Published 2 months ago by Gareth Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Great follow-up to Tinker Tailor, concentrating on Smiley's on going obsession with Karla. The story gradually gathers pace as we follow Westerby's trail, before building to a... Read more
Published 3 months ago by bluedave 73
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for Karla
Despite this being included in the omnibus 'The Search for Karla', along with 'Smiley's People' and 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', the aforementioned Russian spy master and nemesis... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story
Full on mystery in the Smiley's People trilogy. Have just finished all three and couldn't put any of them down.
Published 4 months ago by No Stoppin'
3.0 out of 5 stars Compelling - But Unrewarding
I really wanted to know what the story is here - but that's such hard work to keep track of. This feels like an early draft of the Great Novel. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Allan Kelly
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