If pressed by the inquisitors at Sarratt I'd have to own up to some disappointment with this novel. As other critics have noted here it is too long and the showily redundant central Heart of Darkness-style section where Westerby (the honourable schoolboy) meets Ricardo should have been excised. I was also left pondering Westerby's motivation in the final sub-James Bond sequences. Was he propelled by love for Liese? If so, a judicious editor would have realised JLC simply cannot do real emotion. He is unparalleled at procedure, interrogation and hard fact but, ironically, emotion stumps his intelligence and intuition. It's no wonder Smiley is a cold fish with a failed marriage because the author isn't capable of describing anything more complex than this sad state of affairs. Moroseness is the keynote of JLC's attempts to deal with emotion and that simply ain't good enough, John. Finally, what was the significance of the Soviet "goldseam"? This all got a bit lost for me in the end, though Karla will probably congratulate himself that he's foxed this reader for one. So is it worth the effort to read this long novel? Of course! Reservations (above) aside it's a corking book and some of the scenes at the Circus are brilliant, the final betrayal perpetrated by people closer to George Smiley than he may have realised. Aren't they always?