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Summary

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 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 stable, do whatever is necessary', it becomes a long and bitter battle of wits between Smiley, the master of deceit, and the enigmatic Karla.

©2014 Michael Jayston (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Absolutely fantastic - loved it!

A wonderful tangled Web-skillfully and delicately wrought. Kept me enthralled from start to finish. Michael Jayston gets every voice to a tee, building a full and mysterious picture for the reader- especially Smiley. I am sure to listen to this again - goes straight to the top of my tree and will take an awful lot of beating.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Best Spy Thriller

Where does Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

John Le Carre is the undisputed master of the genre and Tinker tailor is his masterpiece. Every Character in the book, from the slow-burning, quiet Protagonist Smiley to the Rakish Guillam are wonderfully fleshed out and memorable. John le Carre is excellent in evoking the 70s of the cold war, a time of general paranoia and institutional green paint on linoleum walls. The plot may be a little hard to follow but it is a nice change from your usual espionage thriller where intelligence involves shooting up a large number of foreign cars.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?

The opening chapter that partially reveals Jim Prideaux's identity, half-seen through the eyes of the Bill Roach is one of the most nuanced sketches ever written

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favourite?

All of the characters were wonderfully performed, but especially the continental . Unlike certain other audiobooks who shall not be named, he goes easy on the accents and avoids giving esterhazy or max ludicrous james-bond style voices.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Classic

The wonder of this novel is that it always seems fresh, fascinating and engrossing. After the TV series, the film and, of course, the book, one might assume the story has become stale. Not a bit of it. It's a wonderful tale which, by leaving much unsaid or implied, allows the audience to take something new from every visit.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A totally British spy story!

Exactly how I imagine the world of Cold War spies was run. Le Carre writes with understated perfection of Smiley's slow, careful, precise search to uncover the story of betrayals, lies, and courageous loyalty that had almost destroyed his life in the London Circus. Only behind his words, spoken by the main characters, can one feel the fear, loneliness and pain of the life of the spy.

The narrator, Michael Jayston is perfect here, through his voice he adds to the various characters in the book without drawing attention to himself. This book, although written a while ago is very relevant today.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Superb Performance from Mr Jayston

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes - absolutely. I have to admit that I have tried to read the novel and watch the BBC series, and the first defeated me and the second completely baffled me. This is the first version of 'Tinker Tailor' I've actually got through and completely understood.

Who was your favorite character and why?

George Smiley is one of the great characters in fiction, and the tension of the relationship with his wife (who only appears fleetingly at the end of the novel) adds another dimension to an already complex and beautifully drawn character. However, this is a novel of great characters, so Tarr, Prideaux and the marvellous Connie also need an honourable mention, and the 'absent' characters (Anne and Karla) are as well drawn through the main characters' commentary as the characters who are present.

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favourite?

Smiley, without a doubt. In s subtle way, Jayston channels the spirit of Alec Guiness in his performance, which is both appropriate to the character and makes it easier to distinguish Smiley's voice from the other characters.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It may have been better, as one tends to lose track if there are gaps between listening to parts of the novel.

Any additional comments?

As Jayston played Guillam in the original BBC series, he has an understanding of all of the dynamics and allows the listener to readily make sense of the complex plot - highly recommended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Genius

Wonderfully bleak and grey, perfectly reflecting the sad sense of greatness lost and misplaced loyalty. Read the book, saw the BBC series and this is equal in experience.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Even better on audible than when first read.

I believe this is Le Carre's best novel, having now read them all. I would thoroughly recommend it narrated - Jayston does a top job and ensures you are totally immersed in this gripping tale.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Clasic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

yes I would indeed I have. Great story very well written

What did you like best about this story?

The calm undertone to a very edge of your seat story

Have you listened to any of Michael Jayston’s other performances? How does this one compare?

He is just a fantastic narrator. He is always fantastic.

Any additional comments?

Your library is incomplete without this book

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A classic Tale

Simply stated a must read, must listen to classic brought to life by Michael Jayston's beautiful narration.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great book best read without seeing the film

If you have seen the film recently, I would advise waiting a year or so before listening to or reading the book. In my head Smiley is completely different to the film version and the story is as complex as the organisations that it describes. John Le Carre is brilliant as usual giving the stories and events behind the stories of intrigue, betrayal and loyalty. Michael Jayston is probably one of the best narrators of his books. 5 stars all round for me.

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  • Canarylampshade
  • 10-02-17

Best espionage novel I've ever read and heard.

Great story, great writing, and the perfect narrator.
It is phenomenal. And, piqued my interest in the real world Cold War spy scandals.