JlC is a master when it comes to creating the lives and intricate plots of spies. Without him, the genre would be at a huge loss. This book is one of the prime examples of gripping your brain without needing much action.
The ending of the previous Smiley novel, The Looking Glass War (Smiley, btw, plays a small role in that novel), really got to me. So I couldn't wait to give this a listen. Alas, I was completely lost at times. There are so many characters and the story jumps back and forth in time. Quite often, I asked myself, who's this guy? Wait, I thought he was dead? What time frame are we in now? The writing befits a spy novel -- precise, devoid of emotion -- and the narrator does a wonderful job, but this is a book to read, not to listen to. You really need to underline passages and write notes in the margins to understand what's going on.
Very did spy story, you can see why other stories would be inspired by this. I felt like I had a hard time following along and couldn't keep the characters straight. It could be me, I might not have been paying close enough attention or the story wasn't clear enough. I'm going to give the story the benefit of the doubt.
I generally only write reviews of books I don't like so as to remind myself if I see them again, and hopefully warn others...
While both the narrator and the plot were good, I found that it just wasn't compelling in an audio book format.
I think my listening experience was hampered by:
- the deluge of characters at the start of the book, many of whom have a real name as well as a trade (spy) name, and are interchangeably referred to by either first name, last name or trade name
- the amount of jargon used, a lot of which I struggled to get a grip on through cues in context
All in all a frustrating listening experience.
The narration was excellent - the actor was awesome and really managed to carry the material in the story.
Suspenseful and intelligent.
Hard to say - the character development was so good. i had no idea who the double-agent was until the end. Beautifully resolved - a classic.
Yup! Drove from Washington DC to Dallas straight through on this book, a mdi kept me alive!
Great performance of THE BEST ESPIONAGE THRILLER EVER WRITTEN
Jim Prideaux (sp?) A towering, self contained figure, nursing his wounds at a prep school, representative of the human casualties of the cold war
The story line was confusing & characters also until midway in book when it all started to make sense- from then on it was a gripping story. I didn't want it to end. Much better in audio than the movie!