Top critical review
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There's a really good book hiding within the padding
on 3 January 2012
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.