le Carre is a big name in spy fiction for a reason, and this novel is a perfect illustration of why. Brilliantly evoking the later days of the Cold War in the mid-1970s, we explore the world of men that came in to preserve Britain and the Empire in WWII and are now embroiled in a conflict where victories are nebulous at best. The novel is far more about the intellectual suspense of the spy game, and while there is a decent dose of action, it is the slow and intense burn of Smiley's hunt for answers about what happened prior to his being ousted from Circus and his search for the Russian mole that makes the novel such a delicious read.

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