One of the best,
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This review is from: The Honourable Schoolboy (Paperback)
I took Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with me on holidays to Leipzig, and as it blew my socks of I eagerly began 'The Honourable Schoolboy', part 2 of Smiley vs. Karla. Same opponents, lots of characters from 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' reappear, but the setting's different: this time the action shuttles back and forth between London and the Far East, where British Intelligence has unearthed evidence that Moscow Centre has been paying very large amounts into an anonymous bank account.
Smiley is as formidable as in 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy': physically unprepossessing (the kind of man you might cross every day of your life and never once notice) but with all his impressive mental faculties focused day and night on being one step ahead of Karla and his agents. And though it's more than 260 pages longer than 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy', there isn't a page or word too much in this splendid spy novel. It's spooky also how Le Carré succeeds in writing an entire novel where Karla's presence is constantly felt although he doesn't make a single appearance or utter a single word.
So why only 4 stars instead of the 5 I gave 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'? Well, for one thing: Smiley's less present in this novel, roughly half of the action being set in the Far East where Smiley has sent his agent Jerry Westerby, and though he is a very likeable character and there's plenty of suspense in those chapters as well, I somehow missed Smiley being there. Also, and I guess that is different for people unlike me who were born and bred in England: to me Hong Kong is just one of many cities in the Far East, and since there never was (thankfully) a 'Belgian empire' I can well imagine the action being largely set in the Far East resonates more with British people than it did with me. However, those are just minor quips, and they will not stop me from eagerly diving into Smiley's People!