Who can spy on the spies ?
We are at the heart of British Secret Intelligence Service , commonly known as MI6 . For the initiated the Circus . Tinker , tailor, soldier, spy
it’s the look at the firm from the inside . Author himself worked there for many years and thanks to it I have no problems with his credibility . We get to know world of intelligence , its structure , jargon . Babysitters , lamplighters , ferrets , shoemakers , scalphunters
. Sounds really crazy .
Intelligence work it is not guns and fast cars and agents themselves look more like tired office workers . It is tedious , painstaking and endless digging in the archives , reading hundreds of reports to pick out this only one information , it’s patiently investigation of every new lead . It’s an experience of solidarity and friendship but also the bitterness of defeat and betrayal .
We are in the middle of cold war and here nothing is what it seems . And people from MI6 have to struggle not only with threat from the outside but most off all with enemy in own ranks . Because in the Circus there is a mole spying for Russian.
LeCarre has populated agency with well drawn , diverse characters . George Smiley , apparently slowcoach but in fact fiendishly intelligent and patient , charming Haydon , Prideux - a patriot and a soldier , Toby Esterhaze - a toady , Percy Alleline - fishy careerist , Tarr – young tearaway , loyal Guillam and the boss , Control.
Don’t listen if others say that it was boring or unattractive . Believe me , there was more action than in any thriller and observing the investigation and set a trap was more exciting than any pursuit . Well , I’ve always preferred brainy guys than muscleman with a gun .
And don’t feel yourself too comfortably . Though cold war had ended , though we were witnesses how Berlin Wall collapsed world didn’t change too much . There is a really thin line between us
. Don’t get me wrong , I’m not saying that LeCarre is a philosopher or something . But after reading some disquieting thoughts hatching up in your head . So , welcome to the Circus .