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4.3 out of 5 stars
215
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 11 April 2010
At just under 700pp this book might be a labour of love for anyone reading this author for the first time. The Honourable Schoolboy is part of the 'Karla trilogy' - a series which pits the great George Smiley against his Russian rival of that name.

I'm giving this book the five-star-treatment, for, as always, le Carre has excelled himself with his prose style and eloquent dialogue, interwoven with a captivating plot. Further, this particular book has much in common with Joseph Conrad and is far less Greene-like than his previous works.

In any event, is this book worth reading? In all honesty, this book is not my favourite of the trilogy, though I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the c.1,600 pages, and recommend to anyone who finishes Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, to pick this one up and read it - you'll certainly enjoy it.

A couple of things to watch out for: watch how le Carre uses different techniques to develop the plot. At times through letters, at times through glimpses toward some point future in time from where he retreats, at times through direct dialogue, though, most commonly, through indirect, often obscure conversations which wander, and wander, until, suddenly, the golden-nugget of intelligence is gained and the plot pushes forward.

Another fascinating thing about this particular book is the performance in the field of the principal protagonist of the novel, the Honourable Schoolboy, Jerry Westerby, who attempts to carry out the instructions under extreme pressure of his superior Smiley; who is himself under fire from all sides!

A great read!
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Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Compared to the limited field of action of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, this novel is more ambitious in its locations, taking in London, Cambodia and Laos, with most of the events taking place in Hong Kong. That's where the eponymous Jerry Westerby is the central player in a labyrinthine scheme of George Smiley's which is aimed at regaining some of the ground lost in the first part of The Quest For Karla. Such expanse (and expense) is one of the reasons why this story was passed over by the BBC in their TV adaptions, but it's well-suited for a radio dramatization (where exotic locales can be suggested by a few well-chosen sound affects) and, as in the case of "Tinker, Tailor", this is the second time the BBC has adapted it for radio.

In spite of the complexity of the plot, things move along fairly briskly, and it's a good story which is (in my opinion) let down by a dramatic ending that I find somewhat contrived and implausible. Characters from the earlier story ably reprise their roles here - including Maggie Steed, who's excellent as the eccentric, fussy, obsessive Connie Sachs. The only voices which didn't ring true (spectacularly so) for me were those of Martello and Murphy, whose actors seemed unable to maintain believable American accents. This wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't reminded me of what an excellent mimic le Carre himself is: along with his gift for writing memorably characteristic dialogue, he's able to call upon a whole menagerie of voices when reading his work aloud, and it's a pity he wasn't on hand to play these roles.
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on 24 November 2013
What can be said except that this is yet another winner by the Master spy author. Full of very believable plot and keeps you guessing.
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on 22 December 2014
Brilliant, starts slowly but before long you cannot put it down and just when you think you've got it worked out a new twist appears
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on 23 April 2013
I found this a difficult book because of the many trails to follow. However, if you are a le Carre fan you will cope and enjoy.
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on 9 September 2013
Outstanding book; first class service. This is the best of the Smiley canon in my opinion - brilliant style and suspense.
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on 29 March 2015
No one sets scene or describes character or place more perfectly. He makes the mundane so real it is simply stupendous
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on 14 April 2013
Because you need to read this to make sense of the trilogy. It is excellent and you won't regret it

R.
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on 25 April 2013
Again anyone who is interested in and enjoys the works of John le Carre really does need to buy this book.
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on 31 December 2014
Fantastic, what a pity the BBC never made a series of it to complete this trilogy by John Le Carre
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