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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (George Smiley, #5; Karla Trilogy, #1)
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August 2018: Espionage > Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre 4.5 stars

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message 1: by DianeMP (last edited Aug 20, 2018 04:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

DianeMP | 454 comments Wow! It took a little doing, but I actually finally understand all the plot twists and turns, character actions and motivations and developed an understanding of time and place since the story is not told sequentially. There is a lot of flashback which makes for confusing reading.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre is a book written by a writer at the top of his game. The story strikes at the very heart of British Intelligence during the 70's Cold War Era.
A mole is discovered to exsist and the head man known as Control is determined to ferret him out. He designates each of his suspects a monkier after the childrens' sing song nursery rhyme butcher, baker, beggarman, thief. He changes the names to reflect the distinquishing nature of the spy business. All of the usual suspects are identified by a title which reflects their current position in British Intelligence.

Although finding the mole would be easier from the inside, but Control finds he along with his second George Smiley, outsted with forced retirement. Due to all the stress associated with his untimely departure, Control has a massive heart attack and dies. George Smiley decides to take up the challenge and reveal the identity of the mole. George enlists the help of two subordinates: Peter Guillam and a scalp hunter by the name of Ricki Tarr. Guillam acts as Smileys inside man obtaining documents and classified information as needed. Tarr works in the field doing "wet work" for the powers that be. Tarr appears at Smileys home residence with an incredible story concerning a female Soviet spy who is willing to give the British Secret Service the name of the mole within their ranks. To complicate matters, Tarr has fallen in love with the Russian spy Irina.

As the story develops Smiley uncovers the sorted details of the lives of the inner most circle: Adultry, murder, betrayal, torture, treason and still the mole eludes him. Smiley works the case with the help of Guillam and Tarr eventually uncovers the identity of the mole.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is the spy novel at its highest achievement. Smart, puzzling, intriguing, and suspenseful. I highly recommend this novel and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Michael (mike999) | 569 comments Glad to hear your praise and see the special features you appreciated. Good movie version of it as well. The Cold War and the lengths to which spying went is pretty depressin (as well as to live through). Yet Smiley working do creatively to ferret out a mole seems admirably heroic all the same.


message 3: by Ann☕ (new)

Ann☕ (ann_reads) | 176 comments This sounds like the perfect book for the espionage tag.


message 4: by Jgrace (new) - added it

Jgrace | 3112 comments I'm still hoping to get to it this month.


DianeMP | 454 comments Ann R wrote: "This sounds like the perfect book for the espionage tag."
Another excellent espionage read are the Jason Bourne novels. Only the first three are the original books by Robert Ludlum. Novels four through whatever are written by someone else who took over the series. I stopped with the first three. I highly recommend.


Karin | 7477 comments DianeMP wrote: "Ann R wrote: "This sounds like the perfect book for the espionage tag."
Another excellent espionage read are the Jason Bourne novels. Only the first three are the original books by Robert Ludlum. N..."


Yes, these are three good spy novels. Avoid all "Ludlum" novels co-written with others because they are not as good as his best. Although the rating is lower in GR, my dad also thought The Parsifal Mosaic excellent and I remember liking it as well. he would tell me which of his Ludlum novels were better, back in the days when he read this sort of novel. He reads far more nonfiction now and virtually no fiction.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

I have not read the book or watched the movie but this sounds like a great one. I love plot twists and I love it when I think I may have it figured out, sometimes more than once, only to find out I don't. Love your review.


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