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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: A George Smiley Novel Paperback – October 5, 2011
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“The premier spy novelist of his time. Perhaps of all time.”—Time
“A rattling good novel.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“John le Carré is the great master of the spy story…the constant flow of emotion lifts him not only above all modern suspense novelists, but above most novelists now practicing.”—Financial Times
“Stunning.”—Wall Street Journal
From the Publisher
John Le Carre's internationally famous hero, British Secret Service Agent George Smiley, has a world-class problem. He has discovered a mole--a Soviet double agent who has managed to burrow his way up to the highest level of British Intelligence. Under the direction of Karla, Smiley's equivelent in the Soviet Union, the agent has already blown some of the most vital secret operations and most productive networks. Now-how can Smiley use a lifetime's worth of espionage skills to ferret out a spy who posseses them as well?
"A stunning story of espionage."--The Wall Street Journal.
"Le Carre is simply the world's greatest fictional spymaster."--Newsweek --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's much debate about whether Le Carré (né David Cornwell) is a literary writer or just at the top of spy novelists. I believe he's both. This novel, in particular, has a lot of biographical material, thinly disguised. I read a biography of Le Carré at the same time as the course. There are many parallels to Philby's life, and much is taken from David Cornwell's experience as a member of the two British Secret Service organizations, MI5 and MI6. You can easily see where some of the characters were drawn from. Not necessarily so blatant as to be actual profiles, but the similarities are obvious. Reportedly, Le Carré"s friends liked the idea of their names being used in his novels, or their serving as inspiration for a character.
Highly recommended for those who like spy fiction and appreciate good writing.
The portions of the book revealing Jim Prideaux's life teaching at a private school and his interactions with the students were rather entertaining. Seeing Jim through the eyes of students was a good contrast to the heavy intrigue of the rest. I think if I had been more accustomed to the spy jargon used - lamplighters, scalphunters, etc. - I might've enjoyed the book a bit more but I still would've found it lacking. While there was plenty of intrigue and investigations throughout, there were few, if any, really tense moments and little action. The ending felt like a foregone conclusion. The past detailing Control's downfall was interesting although it might've been better with additional dialogue with Control or more background for his character. Besides Smiley and Prideaux, none of the other characters really struck a chord with me.