Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

It's the oldest question of all, George, Who can spy on the spies? Who can smell out the fox without running with him?

This is an intense, slow burn of a thriller. You are taken on a journey through the history of the Circus, the British intelligence service, by Smiley. Smiley is someone who has been retired. He along with some others are going through the past and present to try to find out who is the mole.

This is not the spy thriller of Hollywood with extraneous gun battles, and copious explosions. This is a deep character study of Smiley and the other spies caught up in this 'conspiracy'. This is sort of spy mystery where most of the action is 'interrogations of spies who tell Smiley about the important events in the past from their perspective.

The pacing is perfect and near the end you just can't put the book down because you want to know who is the mole. I'm told this is the 1st of The Karla series, a set of 3 loosely connected books.

This book was far more interesting than one of his newer books I recently read, The Night Manager. I didn't get the sense of le Carre's mastery of the spy genre from this novel. I certainly felt awe while reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy though. I can see why many hold this up to be a sort of a modern day spy classic.

Rating: ★★★★★ Book #60 in my My 2019 Reading Challenge

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