Friday, June 11, 2010

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy John Le Carre

There's been a shake-up at the Circus (which is what British intelligence calls itself.) Control is out (and dead). Percy's in charge and swept out a lot of Control's men, including George Smiley.

Smiley's wife has left him for good and he's wondering what to do with his life when he gets sucked back in. There's a mole at the Circus, and they want Smiley to find him, but no one at Circus can know what he's up to.

Smiley doesn't look like much of spy, but he's one of the best, and he's about to blow the Circus wide open.

You know what I loved most about this? That it wasn't all international danger and action. While it did look back at past operations by different characters, all the present action mostly consisted of Smiley sitting in a hotel room, reading stolen files, trying to piece together a story.

And you may not think that makes a very thrilling novel, but it does. The reader gets bits of files, bits of Smiley's memories as they're triggered, and tries to put it together, to get the story of Control's downfall and Percy's ascent, and to figure out who's been passing information to the Soviets...

The tension builds slowly, and different mysteries pile on top of each other, we try to tease out the answers, to see if they're related or not. There's a reason this is considered a masterpiece of the genre!

Book Provided by... my local library

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DougWheeler said...

One of my favorites. Any of author's books with George Smiley is worth th eread. I may have to go back and re-read these...

Fiona said...

Really need to make an effort to read another le Carre after loving The Constant Gardener. I've never read a spy novel and always wanted to.

Is this the first one, or is it The Spy Who Came in from the Cold?