This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Secret Pilgrim by John le Carré

The Secret Pilgrim (original 1991; edition 2009)

by John le Carré

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,798175,605 (3.59)34
Title:The Secret Pilgrim
Authors:John le Carré
Info:Sceptre (2009), Paperback, 416 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:fiction, espionage, Rprior, released, cold war

Work details

The Secret Pilgrim by John le Carré (1991)

Recently added byMartyne, JMK2020, weemadarthur, G_Riv, private library, alo1224, Embarquer

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 34 mentions

English (13)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Le Carre is truly the spymaster. ( )
  phillipfrey | Nov 8, 2017 |
Well written and thoughtful a always. And, as always with Le Carre, enough moral ambiguity to go around for everyone! This I think can only very loosely called a novel really, it's more like a collection of short stories held together by the narrator as central character. Not to say they weren't fantastic short stories, all! Smiley too, but his character plays more of a functional role here. Interesting idea, and you get a nice feel of Ned, the main character through the stories. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Nov 3, 2017 |
The Secret Pilgrim is a novel told in the format of a collection of stories told by an ageing spy to students. I found the main character Ned a little hard to connect with and didn't really enjoy it that much. ( )
  HenriMoreaux | Feb 21, 2017 |
Solid le Carré spy thriller focused on reminiscing about interrogations. ( )
  brakketh | Aug 11, 2016 |
"" ( )
  rouzejp | Sep 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
There is a valedictory tone in this book that is not wholly caused by Ned's approaching retirement. The cold war is over, the old enemies have been replaced by glasnost and perestroika, and for Mr. le Carré himself it must have been a bizarre experience to see the raw material of his art disintegrate over the last few years. But the spies, we can be sure, will never be made redundant. At the end of the novel, decent, honorable Ned encounters a particularly nasty specimen of the new antagonists -- an utterly cynical and amoral British millionaire entrepreneur and arms dealer, and a knight, to boot. He is a perfect embodiment of the so-called market forces dogma of the Thatcher years in its most brutish form. "Now we had defeated Communism, we were going to have to set about defeating capitalism," Ned reflects. One senses a new foe emerging, new battles for the Circus to fight.
added by John_Vaughan | editNY Times, William Boyd (Jul 20, 1991)
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Norwegian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Alec Guinness with affection and thanks
First words
Let me confess to you at once that if I had not, on the spur of the moment, picked up the pen and scribbled a note to George Smiley inviting him to address my passing-out class on the closing evening of their entry course-and had Smiley not, against all my expectations, consented-I would not be making so free to you with my heart.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
It's the story of the cuff links that makes this my single favorite Le Carre book.
Nothing is as it was. Old enemies embrace. The dark staging grounds of the Cold War - whose shadows barely obscured the endless games of espionage - are flooded with filth; the rules are rewritten, the stakes changed, teh future unfathomable. John Le Carre has seized this momentous turning point in history to give us the most disturbing experience we have yet had of the frail and brutal world of spydom.
the man called Ned speaks to us. All his adult life he has been in British Intelligence - the Circus - a loyal, shrewd, wily officer of the Cold War. Now, approaching the end of his career, he revisits his own past - an intricate weave of suspicion, danger boredom and exhilaration that is the essence of espionage and of his own sentimental education.

He invites us on a tour of his three decades in the Circus, burrowing deep into the twilight world where he ran spies - "Joes" - from Poland, Estonia, Hungary, men and women to whom he gave his most profound love and hate. Along the way we meed a host of splendid new characters and reacquaint ourselves with the legendary old knights of the Circus and the notorious traitor, Bill Haydon.
telling the story of hos own life's secret pilgrimage, Ned illuminates the brave pastg and the even braver present of George Smiley - reluctant keeper of the flame - who combines within himself the ideal and the reality of the Circus. Smiely, Ned's mentor and hero, now gives back to him the "dangerous edge" of memory which empowers him to frame the questions that have haunted him - and the world - for thirty years, and that haunt us still.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394588428, Hardcover)

Ned is the Secret Pilgrim, a loyal soldier of the Cold War, who has been in British Intelligence all his adult life. Now, just as retirement is within his grasp, he is forced by the explosions of change to revisit his secret years and face the questions that have haunted him for thirty years.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:34 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Ned considered delivering his own speech to the new "Joes" at Saratt, but in the end, he called on George Smiley, the legendary officer who had retired to Cornwall. Smiley's "fireside chat" gives the dangerous edge back to Ned's memory, transporting him to his own beginnings as an agent in the 60s when the Red Peril was everywhere.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (3.59)
1 3
1.5 2
2 12
2.5 2
3 60
3.5 22
4 89
4.5 6
5 21

Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014119636X, 0241962196

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 128,838,027 books! | Top bar: Always visible