Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Coronet Books) Paperback – 5 May 1994
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A great thriller, the best le Carré has written (Spectator)
John le Carré is the great master of the spy story . . . the constant flow of emotion lifts him above most novelists now practising (Financial Times)
A stunning story (Wall Street Journal )
Many readers obviously love reading their work. At a public appearance earlier this year, John le Carre confessed that he so loved doing the voices of certain characters that he had to stop himself writing them excessive parts. When you hear le Carre read, you realise how much all of his books are of a piece, all part of his creation of a consistent fictional world, with the same rhythms and ventriloquisms , sometimes almost croonings . . . great stuff. (Evening Standard) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'A great thriller, the best le Carré has written'
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Top Customer Reviews
We follow the expolits of George Smiley, one of the Cold War's heroes, as he is tasked with finding a Soviet mole imbedded within MI6. He was ousted in a shake-up following the overthrow, and demise, of the previous "Control" of MI6 - another name for James Bond's M.
He is outside the current regime that the mole is part of and his search is therefore reliant on old fashioned techniques of infiltarion and intelligence gathering.
I hadn't read this in about 20 years but was swept back into Smiley's world. Le Carre has a reputation for outstanding work and this is one of his best.
I won't give the game away as I hate plot spoilers. If you want to read an authentic Cold War spy story then this is for you.
And yet it is a book in which very little happens - it feels like a collection of dusty papers, assiduously compiled reports found in a filing cabinet in the corner of a room in Whitehall two decades after the fact... The ponderously procedural and bureaucratic nature of intelligence work, and the consequent difficulty of accessing "truth" are very well manipulated by LeCarre who develops the plot as a series of episodic vignettes, hazily recollected by some unseen witness.
The characters, their conversations and innermost thoughts, the themes and the all-too real denouement are utterly convincing, precisely because Le Carre is able to portray the mundane, humdrum nature of intelligence work and, above all, the plain, bitter-sweet patriotism of his hero, George Smiley.
And then there is the setting - Britain in all its drab, mundane 1960's/70's glory. Drab colours, poor food, rain soaked days, steamed up car windows, snobbery and poverty. And the dialogue is second to none. So world weary, so wise. And the intelligence world rings true in this book too, it feels realistic, it feels about right. The moral ambiguity is embraced by Le Carre. Though there are heroes and villians in this book, the boundaries are fairly blurred.
Written in 1974, this novel draws on the real life LeCarre (real name David Cornwell) and many of his associates who were unmasked by Philby and the "Cambridge Five." Here LeCarre creates a vivid and morally sensitive story in which his hero, George Smiley, is called out of his enforced retirement to unmask a Soviet "mole" high in the British secret service, referred to as "the circus." Five men (as in the real betrayal) have been suspected. Drawing on his friendships with some of the agents who were dismissed when he was, Smiley investigates the security leaks which have led to humiliation for British intelligence and real danger for some of its agents. As he tries to identify the mole, he receives peripheral help from Sir Oliver Lacon of the British Foreign Office.
Written in formal and polished prose, the novel is full of Cold War complexities. Karla, the legendary head of Soviet intelligence, continues to control a small group of Soviet "defectors" and disillusioned Communists, whom the British mistakenly regard as double agents providing them with secret information. At the same time, British Control (who is never identified by name) is trying to uncover the Soviet mole (nicknamed "Gerald") within their own agency.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a classic novel. Stick with the more descriptive be chapters and you'll be rewarded with a great insight at the end....your now who it is before the end.... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tony Stephens
I got the book after seeing it being extolled in various reviews
The 1st chapter drew me in, Jim prideuxs start at the private boarding school. Read more