Book Review: Smiley Trilogy by John Le Carre

Smiley Triology – Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The Honourable Schoolboy. Smiley’s People.
John le Carre.

I bought the first book in this triology well over a year ago, before the film came out, but I didn’t start reading the book until after I’d seen the film. The film is completely brilliant and one of my favourites and in my opinion follows the book really well. All the books are such brilliantly written spy novels and they are such well crafted stories. All 3 books follow the spy George Smiley and the cases he is involved in, the first trying to find out who the mole in The Circus [the British spies] is, the second is based more in the Far East and the last deals with deaths of spies and how this relates to a young girl in a mental institution in Sweden. The common theme throughout them all is that every case relates to the mysterious Karla, the head of a secret agency in Russia. At the very basic level, these novels are a story about good [Smiley] versus evil [Karla].

I am a massive fan of spy novels and these really are my favourites that I have ever read. They have been well researched in advance of writing them and therefore everything happening seems believeable to what really was happening in the world at the time. It goes deep into the world of spying and the relationships we have between many countries all over the world. The characters are so well written and described that you really can picture them all there, you get to know them and whether you have seen the film or not you will more than likely make up your own mind about the characters. The second book, The Honourable Schoolboy, is the longest of the triology and it really is a brilliant story, full of twists. The final book, Smiley’s People, focuses more on Smiley himself and the rest of the team that he has worked with before make smaller appearances throughout and towards the end of the book rather than all the way through. You really get a sense that this book is the one where everything is going to come to a head in some way, the suspense all the way to the end is amazing. I’ll not give away the ending, because that would be horrible, but it really did not disappoint at all.

I would definitely recommend these books to everyone, whether you are a fan of spy novels or not. They are books that not only have a brilliant story throughout that will keep you reading but they are also full of depth, an array of characters and some of the best writing of modern times. A wonderful triology.


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