Mr George Smiley is small, podgy, and at best, middle-aged. He is disillusioned, wrestles with idleness, and has been deserted by his beautiful wife. He is also compassionate, ruthless, and a senior British intelligence officer in short-lived retirement from the Circus - the British Secret Service organisation situated in London. But Moscow centre has infiltrated a mole into the Circus and it's more than likely that the perpetrator is Karla Smiley's old adversary and his opposite number in Moscow.
And when, at the dead of night, a member of the Cabinet offers Smiley the job to 'clean the stables, do whatever is necessary', it becomes a long and bitter battle of wits between Smiley, the master of deceit, and the enigmatic Karla.
©2009 David Cornwell (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
"The Hottest Cold War Novel Ever Written"
“So I can tell him you’ll do it, can I?.. You’ll take the job, clean the stables?” So begins the finest cold-war novel ever written. Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy chronicles the investigations of a self-effacing, middle aged, myopic hero - George Smiley who is dragged out of forced-retirement to investigate rumours of a Russian mole in the heart of the Circus (MI6). The story is mesmeric, drawing you into the secret world of espionage and the machinations that occur behind closed doors at top levels of government. Death is inevitable in a spy story however if you are looking for a “shoot-em-up” novel full of graphic, gratuitous violence look elsewhere. This is a tight psychological thriller that is full of suspenseful twists and turns and is never disappointing. LeCarr?’s prose is beautiful, the plot impeccable and, even if you read it more than once, you always find yourself surprised at the outcome.
The story is read by the acclaimed actor, Michael Jayston and his mastery of voice and accent is both skillful and entertaining. Interestingly enough in 1971 Jayston played Peter Guillam (Smiley's sidekick) opposite Alec Guinness in the iconic BBC adaptation of the novel. One listen and you’ll be hooked and want to continue with the next book in the trilogy, The Honourable Schoolboy, happily available on Audible with Jayston narrating again. With any luck the final book, Smiley’s People, will appear on Audible’s new release list soon.
Can only really repeat what the previous reviewer said- a paced, methodical and superbly detailed look at the shadow world of spies. Le Carre expertly explores themes of honour, revenge and betrayal and leaves the reader a little wiser and perhaps a little darker of heart.
Michael Jayston reading really brings this story to life, deftly catching the light and shade of both character and story arcs.
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"
This is not only an excellent book, it is extremely well read by the narrator. It isn't fast moving, and it requires some concentration, but it is rewarding and I'd recommend it to anyone. I'm now in the process of looking for the other two in the trilogy and I'm hoping the same chap reads it.
Completely absorbing and atmospheric. Smiley is portrayed exactly as I imagined him when I read the book. Totally recommended
"Brilliant spy thriller"
First published in 1974 this great thriller has certainly stood the test of time. I rate this one of the very best of the John le Carre novels to date; a masterpiece of the spy story genre. Briefly the story is about the discovery of a double agent at the highest level of the British Intelligence bureaucracy and how he is gradually flushed out into the open. The plot is tight, tangled and full of suspense keeping you guessing right until the end. George Smiley is le Carre?s finest creation, a brilliant spy master but a totally inadequate man. The king pin of the plot, Smiley gradually unravels the secrets that are contained within the circus - codename for the headquarters of the Secret Intelligence Service. Eventually the mole who not only reports to the Russians but manipulates British Intelligence, is unmasked by a quietly spoken, taciturn, plump middle-aged man in one of the most exciting endings I have ever read. Le Carre supposedly based the character of the double agent on Kim Philby who defected to the USSR in 1963.
This recording is excellently narrated by Michal Jayston who incidentally played ?young Peter Guillam? in the BBC 1979 television series.
"You're on a d**n long road, George..."
Le Carre's spy stories are so good they transcend their genre. Tinker... is one of his best. I've read the book many times, but I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Michael Jayston's rendering.
I've a couple of reservations, though, which I wasn't expecting: I find Jayston's delivery, although appropriate in mood to the story, a bit wearying in long spells. And more surprisingly, John Le Carre's dialogue and observation of minutiae, which work so well on paper, seem also a little too lavish when spoken.
It's still a great listen, but I'd be interested to know if anyone else felt the same.
"As good as it gets in this genre"
Convoluted, understated, atmospheric. This is typical Le Carre and I would guess is literary Marmite - you'll either love it or hate it. It requires concentration and a questioning mind but the characters are beautifully drawn and the plot complex enough to keep one (or at least me) guessing to the end. The narration is good and the whole thing a classic example of a cold war espionage thriller.
"So much more than I expected"
This is my first leCarre, and I bought it to read before seeing the new film. It isn't what I expected at all. It's oh so much better. So gripping. So gritty. So English. It's a slow burn, so stick with it. Michael Jayston's reading is so good I enjoyed it even before I was clear what was going on. I like mysteries and this is a mystery set in the fascinating world of cold war espionage. Have now downloaded the rest of the Smiley trilogy to enjoy.
"Le Carré classic"
Superbly written and having read the book and seen the television series, a pleasure to listen to (at great length!) and chose this as I really like Michel Jayston's voice.
"A brilliant sleeping pill"
There are so many interwoven stories that i have forgotten what the book was about. I'm afraid I've abandoned it, it's just too dull to be bothered with.
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