Customer Review

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars There's a really good book hiding within the padding, 3 Jan 2012
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This review is from: The Honourable Schoolboy (Paperback)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Jan 2012 16:53:17 GMT
I agree that 'The Spy Who Came in from The Cold' is an incredible novel; I would even say perfect, and pretty hard to follow. I remember reading an introduction written by le Carré in a new edition, in which he said that Spy was the last book he wrote entirely on his own terms; after its success he came under more pressure from his publisher to write longer and more complicated stories. I think this is perhaps why some of his susequent novels are a bit too 'padded out'.

Posted on 4 Feb 2014 02:24:43 GMT
This was my experience exactly. I am very surprised by the high rating for this by others. Le Carre can render anything with his gift. But this was all research and no action. I found it pretty unbearable having read his early works too. The neverending search for Ricardo- which ends in a totally forgettable conversation. Can see why it has been missed off the "covert to film" list unlike TTSS and Smiley's People.
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