|Print List Price:||$18.00|
|Kindle Price:|| $13.99 |
Save $4.01 (22%)
|Sold by:|| Penguin Group (USA) LLC |
Price set by seller.
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
Follow the Author
Smiley's People: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels Book 7) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Tell Max that it concerns the Sandman…
A very junior agent answers Vladimir’s call, but it could have been the Chief of the Circus himself. No one at the British Secret Service considers the old spy to be anything except a senile has-been who can’t give up the game—until he’s shot in the face at point-blank range. Although George Smiley (code name: Max) is officially retired, he’s summoned to identify the body now bearing Moscow Centre’s bloody imprimatur. As he works to unearth his friend’s fatal secrets, Smiley heads inexorably toward one final reckoning with Karla—his dark “grail.”
In Smiley’s People, master storyteller and New York Times bestselling author of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and Our Kind of Traitor John le Carré brings his acclaimed Karla Trilogy, to its unforgettable, spellbinding conclusion.
With an introduction by the author.
"An achievement of subtlety and power of which few novelists would be capable." - Financial Times --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B004XFYWR0
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 28, 2011)
- Publication date : June 28, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 1172 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 434 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #55,025 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
A deep understanding of human character, both warmly compassionate and brutally honest, informs everything he’s done, and nowhere more effectively than this elegy, and I think that’s what it is, for the cold warrior George Smiley, and for the Cold War of my coming-of-age.
Of course, that war is still with us, because, as Le Carre reminds us, that is how humans amuse ourselves, trying to find some kind of solace in a world where one can not really escape one’s own (or anyone else’s) struggle for agency, for safety, for power, for protection, for peace.
Smiley, watching Karla cross the bridge, in his moment of triumph, comes face to face (again) with the reality of compromise, and the futility of the knight’s quest.
They are, after all, only fiction, just a series of `novels'? (Which are generally considered essentially trivial - an idea against which even Jane Austen's own strictures have had no effect). But so addictive is John le Carré's skill that even a vast general TV viewing public became so engrossed in a serialized BBC's series of one of his works that they brought the British nation to a standstill for each of the hour-long adaptions that were broadcast.
Pure fascinating reading that evokes both characters and atmospheres so strongly they engage the reader and entice them to continue to read each and every one of his works. A craftsmanship based on real experience - in the British Secret Service - that adds such value to his inventions that they become a reality. The TV adaptation featured Sir Alec Guinness as the main character, George Smiley, dour, donnish master spy and charismatic leader. His portrayal was masterly, and therein lay a poisonous problem ... after the trilogy became both best-selling books, serialized television, and films; the author `killed off' (like Conan Doyle with Holmes, and Nicolas Freeling with Van der Valk) both the George Smiley, the circus, and all future Smiley's people by totally dropping him from his repertoire and changing his subjects to further and even more modern fields. In an interview the author explained his motivation for disappointing and stunning his loyal readership...
"... the problem was ,whether I liked it or not by the time (Sir) Alec Guinness finished with him he was George Smiley - voice, mannerisms, looks - and by the time he had finished with my character I had been given back used goods. On the other hand, I didn't at all enjoy the fact that Smiley had somehow been taken over by my public..."
Do read this wonderful series ... but your appreciation and enjoyment might also become as embittered as the rest of us disappointed fans at the disappearance of these fascinating characters and the intellectual twists of John le Carré's Smiley's people in their Cold War circus.
(This review is my attempt for the whole of the "Karla" series.)
"Smiley's People" completes another solid chapter of the international spy game that only Le Carre could pull off. He's a master.
Top reviews from other countries
First of all, it has, just like the earlier parts in the trilogy, simply everything I've come to expect in a Le Carré novel: brimming with intrigues, ploys and counter-ploys, loads of suspense, a very tight plot that keeps you wandering what'll happen next, brilliant dialogues and characterization, ... But what makes 'Smiley's people' stand out for me is George Smiley himself and how powerfully he is portrayed by Le Carré as perhaps the very opposite of the kind of man we often think of when we think of spies. Smiley's old, slightly overweight, retired, divorced, and in doubt if all he's ever done in his Secret Service career was actually worthwhile. But when a former agent is murdered and the trail leads to Karla, Smiley cannot help but give chase once again, and devote all his experience and intelligence to this final duel. Le Carré describes Smiley's painful private life in such a powerful way that to me this novel is much more a poignant portrait of a man who happens to be a spy, rather than a spy who happens to have personal problems.
Whoever said spy-novels aren't Literature with a capital 'L'?
Smiley's People is more similar to Tinker, Tailor than the middle novel, The Honourable Schoolboy. Like the first part of the trilogy, Smiley is firmly in the operational heart of the plot. He travels across Europe following the trail and with his unique, detached insight reconstructs the puzzle.
The `people' of the title are the many returning characters -Connie Sachs, Peter Guillam, Toby Esterhouse- who join Smiley's private army, operating at the very greyest edges of the intelligence community. It is a genuine pleasure to again spend time with all of them, such is leCarré's mastery of their characterisation. If anything elevates leCarré above other thriller writers, it is the literary precision with which he constructs his characters and environments in addition to the byzantine plots. His style is lean, precise but never skimping on detail or humanity.
The novel explores the toll of living in the clandestine world of espionage on the participants. Karla, once a faceless, shadowy bogeyman who lived only for the soviet mission, is humanised but it is that chink in his armour that Smiley pursues. Smiley, meanwhile, casts aside not only the remnants of his `civilian life' but also many of the ideals by which he lived to pursue his one chance to strike directly at his opponent. The reader is left wondering, after all the death and damage, is it worth it for the individuals or the nations they represent?
It can be no accident that the imagery of chess continually appears in this novel. The intelligence chiefs of leCarré's world construct operations like grand masters, thinking a dozen moves ahead, analysing their opponents' strategy and willing to make any sacrifice to preserve their long game. The difference in this novel is that Smiley and Karla are no longer playing at a distance: they are both on the board.
Of course, the ultimate game player is leCarré, who confidently moves his character around a complex and mesmerising plot. He is clearly at home in the western European theatre and revels in bringing the contest between Smiley and Karla to a conclusion in a way that resonates across all of the Smiley novels, not just this trilogy. If there is any criticism at all, it is that perhaps Smiley's people is a little less disciplined and compact than Tinker, Tailor but the result is no less satisfying.
Following the events of `The Honourable Schoolboy', Smiley is now retired. But an old contact is brutally slain, and Smiley is asked by the powers that be to make sure there are no loose ends that could embarrass either the Circus or the British Government. As he trawls through the General's last days and slowly comes to realise just why he was killed, he finds an old adversary at the heart of things, and the opportunity to lay many old ghosts to rest.
Once again this is an admirable bit of writing form Le Carre. Intricately plotted,. With a very real and believable feel. Lacking the glamour of, say, Bond stories, not shing away from the grim and murky realities of life. Smiley lives in a grim and paranoid world, where he cannot trust even those notionally on his own side. The atmosphere is tense and gripping.
As well as the writing, there are a series of fine performances. Simon Russell Beale once again excels as Smiley. His performance is reminiscent of Alec Guinness's, but he manages to put his own stamp quite thoroughly on the role. He shows the ruthlessness of Smiley, along with his regret at doing what has to be done, very convincingly.
The BBC have done a good job at trimming the story down to fit three hours, but without losing too much of the fine detail. I can only compare this to the Guinness TV adaptation, not having read the book, and some detail has been lost but the story is clear and flows well. There is, in addition, a very professional production, with unobtrusive sound effects that nicely help the story and set the scene, but do not detract from the actors performances.
This is an all round excellent production, one which kept m riveted for the duration.
There are three hour long episodes, on three discs in a double size jewel case. There is a limited set of liner notes with cast details and some notes about John Le Carre's career.
Five stars, no hesitation. I also highly recommend all the others in the series to date.