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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels Book 5) [Kindle Edition]

John le Carre
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (372 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.81
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

Featuring George Smiley, this New York Times bestseller is the first installment in John le Carré’s acclaimed Karla Trilogy. From the author of A Delicate Truth and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.



The man he knew as "Control" is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn't quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor.



The Oscar-nominated feature film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) and features Gary Oldman as Smiley, Academy Award winner Colin Firth (The King's Speech), and Tom Hardy (Inception).



With an introduction by the author.



Editorial Reviews

Review

'A great thriller, the best le Carre has written.' Spectator 'A stunning story' Wall Street Journal 'John le Carre is the great master of the spy story ... the constant flow of emotion lifts him above most novelists now practising.' Financial Times

Review

'A great thriller, the best le Carre has written.' -- Spectator 'A stunning story' -- Wall Street Journal 'John le Carre is the great master of the spy story ... the constant flow of emotion lifts him above most novelists now practising.' -- Financial Times

Product Details

  • File Size: 546 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004RKXNDU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,130 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
272 of 281 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" has been called the best espionage novel ever written. John Le Carre's cynical and spellbinding spy thrillers are so unique because they are based on a wide knowledge of international espionage. Le Carre, (pen name for David John Moore Cornwell), acquired this knowledge firsthand during his years as an operations agent for the British M15. Kim Philby, the infamous mole, actually gave Le Carre's name to the Soviets long before he defected. The author's professional experience and his tremendous talent as a master storyteller and superb writer make this book one of the best novels I have read in the genre.
"Tinker, Tailor..." is the first in what has come to be called LeCarré's "Karla (or Smiley) Trilogy", in which English spy George Smiley is pitted against the Soviet spymaster Karla. Written during the Cold War, it is a portrait of that time, with its paranoid and morally ambiguous view of global politics.
A botched espionage operation in Czechoslovakia causes "Control," (Head of British Intelligence), and his associates to be discredited. "Control," already ill and aging quickly, dies soon after this debacle. George Smiley, his able lieutenant, is retired in disgrace. The two are succeeded by four "young turks," all highly ambitious men from Intelligence who had been trained by "Control" and Smiley. Months later, a maverick Far Eastern agent turns up in London with a story suggesting there is a mole (a deeply concealed double agent) in the Circus (Intelligence HQ). Smiley is called out of retirement to investigate the possibility that a Soviet mole has penetrated the very top levels of the British Secret Service. The "Tinker, Tailor...
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145 of 153 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
Here's one attempt at a book review of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I consider is a classic in its own way.
The arrival of a schoolmaster at a remote English boarding school is the unlikely beginning of a master spy-story. If the reader has perused the dust jacket, he is left wondering where the connection is. A bit boring in the beginning, the start of the novel is far from spectacular. Characters unfold almost as an aside. Connections are not evident. When the hero of the novel, George Smiley makes his entrance it is almost as an afterthought.
Far unlike Ian Flemming with his techno-laden James Bond licensed to kill, Le Carre's George Smiley is a prosaic, pedantic, lugubrious, painstaking, ordinary mortal with an orderly mind. He is a hero like no other. Not for him the flashy glamour of the spy world popularized by Alistair McLean, Ian Flemming, and others of their ilk. Smiley's heroism lies in this mediocre methodic brilliance. And in his prodigious memory.
Cast away from the "circus", he is called in from retirement to trap a mole high up in the secret service. His fall from grace is more a reflection of the times than his inherent worth. As the bureaucratic battles yield new order in the ranks of service, Smiley, of the old order, is viewed with suspicion and forced into retirement. But much as the irrepressible James Bond could not be done away by his numerous enemies, Smiley's brilliance cannot be dispensed with by the Service. At a time when no one in the service can be trusted, when it is painfully obvious that one amongst the trusted four is a mole, Smiley is called in for his analysis. Nowhere is it stated that Smiley is brilliant. Nor does he appear to have any special skills.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Carré can't be beat! July 14, 2002
Format:Hardcover
I'm a longtime Le Carré fan, but I realized recently that it had been nearly two decades since I read what is undoubtedly his best work -- the Smiley trilogy. Based loosely on the Kim Philby debacle, this one is about the realization that a Soviet mole has been busy for many years in the Circus -- the headquarters of the British espionage service -- and the recently sacked George Smiley, a victim himself of the mole's machinations, is secretly brought in by a reluctant Whitehall to identify the culprit and clean house. It's the old problem: Who will spy on the spies? Le Carré is a master of the telling detail, even with minor supporting characters, and all the inhabitants of this novel are vividly realized. This isn't a James Bond yarn, either, as the "action" is mostly in the form of reading files, interviewing agents, and hard thinking. And Smiley, fat, middleaged, and in secret agonies over his wife's habitual infidelity, turns out to possess unexpectedly heroic stature. This novel, and the two that follow, make up the best spy story ever written in English.
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155 of 182 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a tough read.... December 17, 2007
By Chem
Format:Paperback
For a good positive summary of the book, see the review by Jana Perskie.

Now here's my thoughts: LeCarre's book isn't "bad" per se, but it is definitely a different style from most other spy genre novels. Remember, it was written in the 1970s - so forget the 'techno-thriller' books that Clancey made famous in the late 80s. LeCarre's books - this one included - were however an intellectual step up from the earlier spy/action thrillers...
The problem most readers will have is that there is almost NO action. Roughly speaking, its about Geo.Smiley trying to solve a problem (a mole) in the "Circus" using clues from the past. So a lot of it is contemplative and revolves around the "old boys" of the organization talking in circles at times about their experiences (reminds me of Kerouac and "On the Road"). The writing is very circumspect - and introspective - in that regard.
There are no Jack Ryans here, no cowboy heroes. The characters are all upper class (or have the pretensions, if not the birthright), understated Englishmen, and working in a decidedly bleak period. In fact, LeCarre's style seems to reflect the malaise of England and the west in general of the early 70s. That is due mostly to LeCarre's focus on the mental maze Smiley must navigate which leaves little room for descriptive settings or surroundings. Colors, seasons, etc (or rather, the lack) all seem to suggest a perpetually gray, damp late autumn day at 5 PM...

This is NOT an easy read - one must concentrate, just like Smiley. Don't expect to be able to put it down and pick back up repeatedly without losing the plot. This is a wintertime book, one to read when its rainy and you have nothing pressing to do (and nothing on your mind).

Its worth reading as an example of a more mature spy (or even drama) genre. But it is easy to see how the modern spy novel (techno-thriller) has supplanted the Karla-trilogy style for most readers...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The first book that made me a big le Carre fan.
The first of the Smiley trilogy. It is still relevant in a post cold war era. It holds your interest from the beginning and the final denouncement.
Published 1 day ago by Keith S Massey
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a bit like reading a manual about being a spy
Overall an interesting story but very slow going. The writing style takes some of the interest out of the story. It's a bit like reading a manual about being a spy.
Published 2 days ago by MCP
5.0 out of 5 stars SIMPLER MINDS WILL NOT ENJOY THIS BOOK.
As clearly stated by the 1 and 2 star reviews, it is clear they don't have a clue about the narrative genius that is Le Carre, and will be lost or bored simply by not being able to... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Hector D. Iglesias
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Beautiful prose, complex story, vintage Le Carré
Published 22 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of his best. Great, great writer.
Published 27 days ago by Robert W. Parker
5.0 out of 5 stars good story and interesting characters
Well written, very clever, good story and interesting characters.
Published 27 days ago by monica
5.0 out of 5 stars My first Le Carre novel. What was I waiting ...
My first Le Carre novel. What was I waiting for. Just the right amount of detail. Well done.I will be reading more no doubt.
Published 29 days ago by JMDGT
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic spy novel with suspense to the end. Known ...
Classic spy novel with suspense to the end. Known parallel to actual historical case of a mole high in the British spy world, Kim Philby.
Published 1 month ago by Dorr Dearborn
4.0 out of 5 stars Deserves its status as a classic spy story
A great spy thriller. The clues are all there, but it's still a surprise in the end. Nothing is just black-and-white, there are plenty of greys. Read more
Published 1 month ago by sudeshna
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone raves about this book and I loved it as well
Everyone raves about this book and I loved it as well. Great plot and I love his use of the English language. That is the main reason I buy his books. Read more
Published 1 month ago by L. Pease
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More About the Author

John le Carre was born in 1931. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy: Tinke, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People. His novels include The Little Drummer Girl, A Perfect Spy, The Russia House, Our Game, The Taileor of Panama, and Single & Single. John le Carre lives in Cornwall.


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