Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself are to be scrutinised under disturbing criteria by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications.
Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own intense story, John le Carré has spun a single plot as ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which it looks back: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By nicole on 10-09-17
New life into a favourite series
There's a reason you won't find many spy thrillers in my reading list and it's this simple, I started reading John le Carré in my teens and where as in other genres or cross genres, I could usually at least give you a top ten, in plain unadulterated spy thrillers, no one else has ever measured up. This is up there with this author's best. Not only a new tale but one that weaves around so much of what has been left out of the earlier Smiley adventures. Despite being completely gripped by the story, I wanted to cheer when I heard more information on this character or that characters adventures and perspective. This book breaths new life into one of my favourite series.
There's an amazing performance by the narrator too and with all the different accents and locations that's no small feet.
I do recommend listening to this series in order but you have a choice here between the brilliantly narrated separate books or the alternative of purchasing the collection of really great radio adaptations by the BBC. (The Complete George Smiley Radio Dramas: BBC Radio 4 Full-Cast Dramatization which, at the time of writing this review, is also available to purchase on Audible UK.) I honestly don't think there's a wrong answer here, with the exception of a Murder Of Quality, which I stuck to the radio play for,as it's not the strongest of the series, I went for both.
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Ajay on 01-10-17
A foot note to a legacy
The entire novel reads like a wrapping up of a legacy, whether it's John lecarre's or George smiley's is not a mutually exclusive question. A legacy of spies is at stake and Tom Hollander performs rather than just narrate this book as the fans can reminiscence all that has went before.
I would recommend reading 'The spy who came in from the cold' and 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' before reading this book. It's not a necessity but you will be missing the gravity and depth of the story.
By David W on 11-09-17
Circus Aficionados Will Love It
Spans the whole life of the Circus, from wartime SOE to the present day. At his literary best, Le Carre recalls his cast of characters, telling new stories and filling in the gaps between the familiar tales. Thrilled me, but only leaves me yearning for more.