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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 (406 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
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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.

Books In This Series (6 Books)
Complete Series


  • 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: 881 KB
    • Print Length: 452 pages
    • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0671042734
    • Publisher: Penguin Books (June 7, 2011)
    • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
    • Language: English
    • ASIN: B004RKXNDU
    • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Not Enabled
    • Lending: Not Enabled
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,167 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    279 of 289 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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    148 of 156 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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    47 of 52 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.
    Was this review helpful to you?
    162 of 191 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 Great
    Perhaps the best George Smiley novel.
    Published 7 days ago by Shlomo Zehavi
    5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic spy story
    Wonderfully entertaining story about government intelligence agents. It's well written and recalls histories of living double agents in the West, whether England or the USA.
    Published 7 days ago by Miriam K. Campbell
    5.0 out of 5 stars Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    Thought this was excellent and had everything that I look for in a "thriller." Can't add anything really to the reviews already written but for a tautly woven plot, with... Read more
    Published 9 days ago by Cphe
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book. Read before watching the 2011 movie and ...
    Excellent book. Read before watching the 2011 movie and things make more sense. highly recommended.
    Published 24 days ago by A. Nonymous
    5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend.
    Compulsively readable fictionalized account of the Kim Philby decades-long infiltration of the British spy services. Nuanced, layered, suspenseful. Read more
    Published 28 days ago by familymut
    5.0 out of 5 stars " I would say that John Le Carré is a great writer who has...
    I began recently with "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold," moved quickly to "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy," and have just finished "The Honourable... Read more
    Published 29 days ago by Cole E Harrop
    2.0 out of 5 stars Tinker Tailor Soldier Bored
    Read it years ago and loved it. This time around I grew weary of the endless, endless flapping of the lips, the absence of real suspense, the over-the-top convoluted twists that at... Read more
    Published 1 month ago by Conan
    1.0 out of 5 stars I don't get it'
    Read the book and saw the movie and still don't get it.
    Published 1 month ago by Robert A. Busillo
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Wonderfully written and keeps you guessing throughout the book
    Published 1 month ago by Melody Zambriski
    3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
    A classic spy novel, where reality clashes with idealism
    Published 1 month ago by S. Albrecht
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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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