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John Le Carré: Three Complete Novels [Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / The Honourable Schoolboy / Smiley's People]
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John Le Carré: Three Complete Novels [Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy / The Honourable Schoolboy / Smiley's People] (The Karla Trilogy #1-3)

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  847 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Three complete, previously-issued novels, each a thrilling tale of espionage from the bestselling author of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

Considered the father of the spy thriller, bestselling author John le Carré brings the daring deeds and intricate details of international espionage to center stage. His leading man is George Smiley, sometime acting chief of the Cir
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Hardcover, 952 pages
Published May 8th 1995 by Wings (first published 1982)
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Karl Nehring
Aug 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Read the three novels in this collection a few decades ago and really loved them. But if anything, reading all three in quick succession this past week has been even more enjoyable. Today I ordered the "Tinker, Tailor" DVD. I enjoyed the BBC productions when PBS showed them back in the day. Nostalgia time, I guess, but really, these books are MOST enjoyable!
April
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The absolute best of the espionage genre. Le Carre is a keen observer of human behavior, and often reveals insights even into the human heart. The good guys aren't that good. The bad guys - maybe not much worse. You never know where his stories will take you - and the ride is always worth it.
Viktor Bach
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮
The Honorable Schoolboy ✮ ✮ ✮
Smiley's People ✮ ✮ ✮ ✮
Barbara Kass
Sep 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Nobody does it like John LeCarré, absolutely the best of the genre. And the BBC dramatizations did him justice.
Noel Hynd
Dec 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the best modern spy story ever, based loosely upon the Kim Philby scandal that rocked British and US intelligence in the early 1960's. Brilliant, complex and moody.....
Ejkrane
Sep 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
These are the classic and perhaps the best novels about spycraft and the Cold War to be published by a masterful author.
Colin
I read Tinker, Tailor a few years ago, so was just reading Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley’s People in this volume. I found the climax of the Honorable Schoolboy a little hard to follow, though the book has its moments. Smiley’s People is definitely the strongest in the series, both in its depictions of spycraft and in the character work.
Espen
Jan 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I just reread this collection of the three "Smiley" novels (in a Norwegian, which isn't quite the same thing, though the translator is good). The arena John le Carré creates here (or, rather, reports from, since he was a part of the real thing for a while) is the stealthy and paranoid world of Cold War espionage and counter-espionage, with the physically unimpressive spy-hunter George Smiley as the absent-minded and socially inept anti-hero.

The three books follow each other, not unlike the three
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Pa
Jul 15, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The plot surrounds the discovery of a double agent at the highest level of the British Intelligency agency but the novel goes, at great length and in great detail, to describe the social and physical life of British espionage agents and their day-to-day activities. As usual, Le Carre's hero, Mr. George Smiley, seems extraordinarily ordinary in an anti-James Bond kind of way: he's a pudgy, middle-aged, quiet, bespectacled Oxford man whose beautiful wife has just run off with one of his colleagues ...more
Leah
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, mystery, spy
It took me way longer than I expected to read all three of these classic spy novels by Le Carré. I read T,T,S,S last year, but ended up reading it again, just so I remembered the back story for the second and third novels.

The good news is that these are great books, full of fascinating detail about the Cold War spy world. The characters, especially the secondary characters, are subtly drawn, but they're memorable for sure. Le Carré doesn't spend a lot of time on straight-up description, but eac
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Reuben Alcatraz
Aug 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An omnibus of three character driven and highly cerebral cold war spy novels starring George Smiley of British intelligence. I found George Smiley to be a pleasantly anti-heroic hero. He is old, dumpy, frequently cuckolded, and the closest he gets to an "action sequence" is pulling flashback-ridden all-nighters sifting through old MI6 case files to catch a soviet mole.

The novels have a distinctly dim moral outlook. Essentially all personal relationships, be they friendship or marriage, seem to b
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Endre Barath
Sep 14, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
In fairness to disclosure, I have almost every John le Carre's books. This one, I read when it came out and the impetus was to re-read it, since the movie is coming out soon and I had virtually no recollection of the story. Well I am glad I re-read it. This book is the first of a trilogy that le Carre' has written. ( I suspect had I not re-read the book I would have challenges following the movie)
This is not a spoiler alert, because the story is simple, but you will be wondering who is the mole
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Bettie☯
Jan 25, 2010 marked it as to-read
The Complete Smiley - The Karla Trilogy-
Book 2: The Honourable Schoolboy - Part 1

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Dramatisation of John le Carre's classic novel featuring intelligence officer George Smiley.

Set against the backdrop of the war in Indochina in 1975, spymaster George Smiley uncovers a trail of Russian money leading to a prominent Hong Kong citizen. But what is the money for?

George Smiley ...... Simon Russell Beale
Jerry Westerby ...... Hugh Bonneville
Peter Guillam ...... Richard Dillane
Connie Sach
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Betta
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This omnibus as a whole was a slow read for me, but that is probably mostly due to The Honourable Schoolboy, which seemed a bit ponderous. Both Tinker Tailor... and Smiley's People were tight and economically told, but "Schoolboy" seemed more like an adventure tale without a true center. I did enjoy the scenes especially of the bitter end of the Vietnam War as told from the ground (and in the air). Jerry Westerby is kind of a throwback "hero" of sorts, and George Smiley (and Karla for that matte ...more
Steve Burch
May 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
These three novels are perhaps the closest we have to Dickens. The cast of characters is enormous and every character, from the major players to those who have maybe one scene, are both complex and memorable. LeCarre's themes of the various levels of betrayal are handled with surety and wit. Smiley may be one the greatest characters of the twentieth century, to misquote Chesterton on another fictional figure Smiley is the very bloodhound of heaven. and for those who care the two filmed adaptatio ...more
Frank Pinelander
Jan 20, 2013 rated it liked it
The reason I read this series, was after an 18F associate, in dialogue with someone associated with Anonymous, was asked questions who's answers were NOFORN.

The recommendation to "Maxim" was to read this series, not for the storyline, but what was between the lines of the story itself.

The stories themselves I found mediocre, but the details about Tradecraft are somewhat shocking, especially given the era in which the books were written.

But then, that part of it would've gone way over most peopl
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Russell
"The Quest for Karla" is three of John le Carré's novels collected into one volume, "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", "The Honourable Schoolboy", and "Smiley's People." I admit I found the first volume slow going, as he introduces lots of spy agency jargon with no explanation, but the plot and descriptiveness of the prose kept me at it. By the third volume, I was okay with the technical terms, and found that by far the most enjoyable of the three. I might have made a mistake tackling these before ...more
Cormac Farrell
This is the definitive Cold War espionage masterpiece. There is no glamour, no money no beautiful girls. The backdrop is bleak, the murky intentions of the agents even bleaker. Behind it all I would argue that Smiley is the most perfectly drawn character in modern English literature. The quality of the plotting, the realism of the characters, and the accuracy of the trade craft elevate this collection to the very pinnacle of the genre. Work of art.
Christian
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
A well written Anthology of classic spy novels. Reading some earlier reviews I can't sign up witht he general opinion that Smiley's peaple is the let down in the series. I personally find the Honorable Schoolboy rather tiresome, while I enjoyed Smiley's people a lot more. In my opinion the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's peaople are excellent books well in LeCarre's other excellent Smiley Novel A Death of Quality.
Allison Sandve
Dec 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The masterpiece of the Cold War.

There's not much I can say about the Karla Trilogy that hasn't been said before. One interesting note: When the original "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" was being cast -- with Alec Guinness as George Smiley -- the interest among actors was huge. I've read that the casting of TTSS wreaked havoc on the theater scene of London's West End. All the good actors wanted to be in TTSS. They were.
Richard Epstein
Nov 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rumpole, Paul Christopher, Christopher Tietjens, George Smiley -- not too many supermen in my list of favorite fictional heroes. I guess Paul Christopher comes closest. But you can't go wrong with Smiley. Before le Carré was overtaken by ideology, he wrote these, and they are as good as the genre gets.
Linda
Jun 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
Ok, I did not finish this book. I plodded through it and put it down. I didn't like the main characters, and the ones that I got into, were taken away. I was reading it on a kindle and was busy so I kept putting it down which made it even harder to stick with.
I think it had to be 'me' not the book, and maybe we just weren't compatible.
Mary Mcknight
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read all these books several times nearly 20 years ago. Lately, I've been missing Smiley and thought I would visit him again. So far, it's even better than the first couple of times!

4/15 Plowing through The Honorable Schoolboy. Makes much more sense this time around. Am enjoying it, but prefer Tinker Tailor.
Kate
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
While not a big fan of biographies, this author has chosen a believable balance between man and myth. Definitely well written and researched and absent totally of the meaningless psychologizing perpetrated by most biographers.
Good enough to make me decide to re-read le Carre including the few novels I had missed.
Rachael
Jun 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I loved these books - they brought me up and made me (in part) who I am today and why I think the way I do. Maybe I was reading them a little too early but I don't think I turned out that bad. The BBC production with Alec Guinness is phenomenal, too.
Mom
Jun 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone that appreciates the 'game' that the 'gray men' and women play
Shelves: fred
Why has this not been a major motion picture? Probably no major actors that are valid enough to play Smiley. One of the best surgical excavations (after a mole) ever written. I love this guy. Former careerist at MI-5 who writes under the 'nomme de plume' of LeCarre.
Moran
Dec 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: spy novel afficianados
This brilliant trilogy of spy novels unspools slowly, building up tension not just over one book (though each stands on its own), but through all three books.
The thrill is all psychological and painstakingly laid out.
Amazing
Ariella
I started this book on my kindle, but could not get into it. Maybe the subject matter was just too outdated to be reading on a kindle? ... Or it's just me. Or maybe I just didn't have enough time in one go to read enough to make it understandable/enjoyable. But I put it down for maybe later....
Monica
May 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Le Carré’s employment of language is sooo elegant. I’m a fan of Stephen King’s writing also, which is rooted in the vernacular and has a grittier poeticism. That stated, I think le Carré’s writing is definitive. I don’t think it too bold to name him a writer’s writer.
Jack Thomas
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I had read Tinker Tailor ... and Smiley's People before. This was a good way to spend some time while I didn't really feel too good. They are well written, keep your interest, and it's not easy to see the finish from the course.
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John le Carré, the pseudonym of David John Moore Cornwell (born 19 October 1931 in Poole, Dorset, England), is an English author of espionage novels. Le Carré has resided in St Buryan, Cornwall, Great Britain, for more than 40 years, where he owns a mile of cliff close to Land's End.

See also: John le Carré - Wikipedia
More about John le Carré...

Other Books in the Series

The Karla Trilogy (3 books)
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
  • The Honourable Schoolboy
  • Smiley's People

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“There are always a dozen reasons for doing nothing,” Ann liked to say—it was a favourite apologia, indeed, for many of her misdemeanours—“There is only one reason for doing something. And that’s because you want to.” Or have to? Ann would furiously deny it: coercion, she would say, is just another word for doing what you want; or for not doing what you are afraid of.” 1 likes
“Dealing with beautiful women, Your Grace, Craw had warned, is like dealing with known criminals, and the lady you are about to solicit undoubtedly falls within that category.” 0 likes
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