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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le…
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (original 1974; edition 1974)

by John Le Carre

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,976141919 (4.03)345
Member:klobrien2
Title:Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Authors:John Le Carre
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (1974), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 355 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****1/2
Tags:thrillers, espionage

Work details

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré (1974)

  1. 30
    The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carré (longway)
  2. 00
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (tandah)
    tandah: A different era, but similar pacing and sense of foreboding.
  3. 00
    Declare by Tim Powers (LamontCranston)
  4. 11
    The Odessa File by Frederick Forsyth (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: More perfect atmosphere.
  5. 11
    Game, Set & Match (Berlin Game ; Mexico Set ; London Match) by Len Deighton (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Another great trilogy.
  6. 11
    The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carré (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: Setting the oeuvre.
  7. 12
    The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross (wvlibrarydude)
  8. 18
    Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy (Hedgepeth)
    Hedgepeth: Red Rabbit is any early case in Jack Ryans career that is not as action driven as some of the other novels. It moves a little faster than Tinker, Tailor but should still appeal to those who appreciate a more methodical pace.
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» See also 345 mentions

English (130)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (139)
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
Read this after watching the Alec Guinness BBC bit. Woweeee. How is this the first thing I've ever read by this man? ( )
  BooksForDinner | Apr 15, 2016 |
I had to put this one down. I couldn't keep going with this one. I read a third of the book and HAD to put it down. It wasn't keeping my interest and with the flashback in the beginning and then going back to the present. I couldn't keep track of who was who in the story. I may eventually come back to this one but for now I have to put it down.

This makes me a little nervous when I get to his other works that are on the list. :/ ( )
  welkeral | Mar 20, 2016 |
I have a confession. Sometimes I watch the movie before I read the book. I know! That's crazy talk!! However, in my defense, I don't always realize that there was a book before the movie. This is one of those times. In celebration of finishing my Young Adult Literature class, I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré. Of course, since I had watched the film I knew the bare bones of the narrative and because of this there should be no surprises. Right? WRONG! This book was so compellingly written, so sprinkled with intrigue and suspicion, that it was impossible not to think of the two stories as separate (but both magnificent). The story revolves around the British Secret Service and those at the very top of the ladder. There is a double agent among them. The entire story is the search for this elusive mole. If you love mystery and spy stories, this is just the book for you. I can't wait to get my hands on more of his works! ( )
  AliceaP | Jan 20, 2016 |
After finishing this novel, I would have to say that John LeCarre is the master of spy thriller mysteries. His writing is superb and a pleasure to read. The plot was very intriguing and the characters were plentiful. LeCarre kept me guessing who the mole was right until the very end. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys spy thrillers and great writing. ( )
  eadieburke | Jan 19, 2016 |
The first in the Karla trilogy but about book 7 in the Smiley series, having read this out of order I feel I may have missed certain things not sure if it is intended to be read without the background of the other books.

Set during the cold war the story deals with a mole withing MI6 and how that mole is eventually found and dealt with.

It starts in the middle of the story so the first part of the book is very confusing and you will need to pay attention to who is who and what they have been doing. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 130 (next | show all)
10 of the Greatest Cold War Spy Novels
“Like Fleming, Le Carré (real name: David John Moore Cornwall) worked for British intelligence. But where Fleming used his WW 2 experiences as a springboard for fantasy, Le Carre turned his Cold War service into grimly realistic novels. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963) trumped Deighton as a response to James Bond’s glamourous world of espionage, and he continues to turn out fine work to this day. Tinker charts the search for a Soviet mole in the upper echelons of British intelligence, providing Le Carré’s signature character – the low-key professional George Smiley – with a late-in-the-game chance to reclaim his standing in the Circus (MI6), made bittersweet by betrayal. A fine BBC serialization in 1974 was followed by an equally well-received feature-film version in 2011.”
 
Karla is finally lured across a Berlin bridge and into the West. But, again, what figure is cut by the evil mastermind when he appears? “He wore a grimy shirt and a black tie: he looked like a poor man going to the funeral of a friend.” Le Carré has never written a better sentence, one so impatient of ideology and so attentive to what he, following W. H. Auden, describes plainly as “the human situation.” The television series of “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” has lost none of its grip, and the new film will recruit new friends to the cause; but if we seek George Smiley and his people, with their full complement of terrors, illusions, and shames, we should follow the example of the ever-retiring Smiley, and go back to our books. That’s the truth
added by John_Vaughan | editNew Yorker, Anthony Lane (Dec 14, 2011)
 
The power of the novel is that le Carré transfigured espionage – its techniques, failures and deceptions – into a rich metaphor combining national decay, the disintegration of certainties with advancing age, the impossibility of knowing another human being's mind, the fragility of all trust and loyalty.
added by thorold | editThe Observer, Neal Ascherson (Sep 11, 2011)
 
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is fluently written; it is full of vivid character sketches of secret agents and bureaucrats from all levels of British society , and the dialogue catches their voices well. The social and physical details of English life and the day to day activities of the intelligence service at home and abroad are convincing. Unlike many writers Le Carré is at his best showing men hard at work; he is fascinated by the office politics of the agency since the war.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, Richard Locke (Jul 20, 1974)
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John le Carréprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Le Carre, Johnmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Greenburger, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jayston, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Laing, TimIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soellner, HeddaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Soellner, RolfTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woolfitt, AdamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important events
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Epigraph
Tinker,
Tailor,
Soldier,
Sailor,
Rich Man,
Poor Man,
Beggarman,
Thief.

Small children's fortune-telling rhyme used when counting cherry stones, waistcoat buttons, daisy petals, or the seeds of the Timothy grass.
- from the Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes
Dedication
For James Bennett and Dusty Rhodes in memory.
First words
The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn't dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood's at all.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Haiku summary
Is he friend or foe?
Spying is no nurs'ry rhyme
Control suspects all
(pickupsticks)
Smiley and Control
Team up to capture the mole
Deep must they burrow
(pickupsticks)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743457900, Paperback)

John le Carre's classic novels deftly navigate readers through the intricate shadow worlds of international espionage with unsurpassed skill and knowledge and have earned him -- and his hero, British Secret Service agent George Smiley -- unprecedented worldwide acclaim.

A modern masterpiece in which le Carre expertly creates a total vision of a secret world, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" begins George Smiley's chess match of wills and wits with Karla, his Soviet counterpart.

It is now beyond doubt that a mole, implanted decades ago by Moscow Centre, has burrowed his way into the highest echelons of British Intelligence. His treachery has already blown some of its most vital operations and its best networks. It is clear that the double agent is one of its own kind. But which one? George Smiley is assigned to identify him. And once identified, the traitor must be destroyed.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:53 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

British agent George Smiley hunts for a mole in the Secret Service and begins his epic game of international chess with his Soviet counterpart, an agent named Karla.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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