Tuesday, September 5, 2017

9/5/2017 George Smiley returns

September 5, 1971. The very first sentence of the very first book John Le Carré published tells us that George Smiley's wife has left him.  Here it is, fifty years later and we are still reading about George and the faithless Lady Ann, among others.

Le Carré has written more than 20 books and this is the ninth loosely described as a George Smiley novel.  The master spy with the guilty conscience and a will of iron is only the main character in four or five of them (depending on whether you think the main character of The Honourable Schoolboy is, uh, the honourable schoolboy.

The narrator and protagonist of A Legacy of Spies,  is Peter Guillam, Smiley's protegé, dragged out of retirement to explain some old cases to a post-Cold War generation of interrogators.  And that reminds me.  I got my filthy hands on a pre-publication copy and I am halfway through it, but I am still trying to figure out when it is set.  INternal evidence says it has to be later than 2000.  In our present day Peter would be mid-eighties and Smiley, if he is still alive (that is under debate in the part I am reading) would be a decade older.  Those would be mighty old spies. 

In any case it is a great read.


  1. My copy (or copies, as it turns out; I apparently ordered it twice) arrives tomorrow (I hope). So it's next up.

  2. I am waiting for my copy at the library...this is one of my favorite series ever.
    Can anyone else read these without picturing Smiley as Alec Guinness??? or vice versa.

  3. Gram, Le Carre said he planned to write a lot of Smiley/Karla novels but after watching Tinker Tailor being shot he realized his image of Smiley was morphing into Guinness, so he wrapped it all up with Smiley's People.

  4. Maybe they hang out at the spa with Jeffrey Rand?

  5. Half-way through it and it is, so far, brilliant.