Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged, and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’.
This novel, set in London in the late 1950s, finds Smiley engaged in the humdrum job of security vetting. But when a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide after an apparently unproblematic interview, Smiley is baffled. Refusing to believe that Fennan shot himself soon after making a cup of cocoa and asking the exchange to telephone him in the morning, Smiley decides to investigate – only to uncover a murderous conspiracy with its roots in his own secret wartime past.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By eatough1999 on 27-01-15
A refreshing change
First venture into the world of George Smiley, good to start at the very inception of his character.
The 4 * is because despite the narrator being amiable there was at times difficulty in distinguishing which character was speaking. You have to really 'listen' intently to the narrative to follow the plot. Perhaps because of the style of narration I found myself rewinding the story quite a bit on numerous occasions. This said, I did enjoy the story and am happily listening to the next installment read by the same chap. I've tuned into him now!
George Smiley - not quite sure what to make of him yet, he reminds me a bit of C J Sansoms Shardlake character; beguiling but with an underlying intrigue, I like him, I hope that he develops as a character throughout the books, that we get to know more about him.
The length of the story is just right, I generally enjoy 20hr plus novels but it has been quite refreshing to partake of this short book.
Recommended - yes
An easy listen - not necessarily and certainly not for when you are tired.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
By Terence on 03-02-15
Engrossing from beginning to end
Meeting George Smiley again after a number of years is like running into a dear old friend. A friend who you take at face value with all his foibles because time has taught you he will not let you down. Le Carre draws you into the tale from the very beginning and then there's no stopping .
4 of 4 people found this review helpful