George Smiley has become chief of the battered British Secret Service. The betrayals of a Soviet double agent have riddled the spy network, and Smiley wants revenge. He chooses his weapon: Jerry Westerby, "The Honourable Schoolboy", a passionate lover, and a seasoned, reckless secret agent. Westerby is pointed east, to Hong Kong. So begins the terrifying game.
©2009 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.
"All the good things are there: the Balkan complexities of plot; the Dickensian profusion of idiosyncratic characters; and above all, le Carré's glistening social observation." (Time magazine)
This is an engaging and involving spy story that begins where Tinker Tailor ends. The characterizations are brilliant and the plot intricate and involved. However the plot doesn't capture the reader in the same way as Tinker Tailor or The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and the ending was somewhat predictably disappointing. Michael Jayston once again is absolutely superb reading this story and I can't even imagine reading Le Carre without hearing his voice. Still a good buy for those Le Carre fans, but those wanting to start off on the spy game i would definitely recommend The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and then Tinker Tailor first.
Michael Jayston usual excellent performance.
I really don't think the plot or the story was as strong as tinker tailor. It is an important in between book in the Karla Triology but I feel the plot got lost somewhere in the middle.
The was a lot of extra in the middle but just didn't seem to gel together like other Le Carre books.
Michael Jayston always gives a top class performance, this book was no different.
No, Unlike the previous book it just didnt have the same pull.
I liked the book but it felt like some vital ingredient was missing. Without ruining the plot for anybody the ending was a complete anti climax.
I read the book years ago and found this recording gripping
Deepest English reserve mixed with Asian intrigue. A complex plot that will always stand another listen
Well told - handles the complexity well and brings the drama to life.
Listened to in order - Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy - Honourable Schoolboy - Smilies People. I have always been a fan of the story and the characters. Very English in context with the diminishing place of that country in world affairs whilst its legacy echo is still heard far and wide. A brilliant portrait of context in a world of changing priorities but with real characters and a stunning plot.
I've probably read this novel in print -- oh, I don't know, maybe 20 times. It remains my favourite LeCarre. There are just these little, subtle touches, like referring to the "traditional fake Rosewood veneer" of the CIA ("cousins") offices that are at once sophisticated, witty and exact. Michael Jayston -- who is British -- makes an OK fist of the first part, except that he "does" voices, and his efforts for women make them sound vague and bit daffy, especially Phoebe -- Craw's "little ship". But in the second part of the recording there is just a superb rendition of the scene between Westerby and Charlie Marshal which makes you fortive Mr Jayston the flaws in the rest of his reading.
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
Great fun overlaid with the musk of the Orient with a damp Emgland as a delightful counterpoint. Almost Boy's Own but Smiley brings it together in a way that takes the smile off your face.
"The Honourable Shoolboy"
What a wonderful introduction to the world of Audible Books. We ordered the book with the firm intention of listening on a long and planned car journey across Europe, we decided to test the system but soon, very soon, found we drove everywhere at a snails pace and then would park and wait 'till chapter end to listen to the book. And what a great book, wonderfully read by the well paced and distinctive voice of Michael Jayston, the book has a wide cast but MJ conjures up the characters well and in a very distinctive way - there can be no doubt who the character is, itself a great advantage with this book with its complexities.
The book is the one not seen on TV or film, its the missing book and for those that love the other two in Smiley trilogy this is unmiss-able.
Would I recommend, without a doubt, provided you are happy to drive slowly or wait on stations with your iPod clamped to your ears!
Absolutely sublime. I don't know why I waited so long to come back to John Le Carre. The prose. The dark humour. The insights.
And the narrator is perfect for the text. Just perfect.
"After Gerald the Mole"
This book falls between Tinker Tailor and Smiley's People. Smiley reasons that actions taken by Gerald the mole at Karla's behest may reveal some insight into Moscow Centre's machinations, and perhaps a weakness. Having exposed the mole, Smiley is faced with the task of restoring the Circus's tattered reputation, and to do that he must go on the offensive. A golden thread is revealed in the Far East, and Gerry Westerby, the Honourable Schoolboy, is despatched to tease it out.
This is a wonderful trilogy, and hopefully Audible will make unabridged readings of the other books available too (though the recent BBC radio adaptations are becoming available---it would also be good to see the older BBC Bernard Hepton adaptations as well). Le Carre is an exceptional author, and his unabridged works are magical, even Dickensian.
Michael Jayston, who featured in the BBC television adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is delightful as the narrator, and even brings something of Alec Guinness' thoughtful intonation to his reading of Smiley.
This rich and complex middle novel was not adapted for television, so the audio book sits nicely as a bridge between the two faithful adaptations.
"An excellent piece of literature"
Bridging the gap between Tinker tailor and Smiley's People, the Honourable Schoolboy is a classic example of Le Carré's superb style, although it doesn't actually tie the other two books together, it covers events that occur during that time, mainly in the era of the early 70's during the Vietnam war and the rise of the Kmer Rouge, the main action being set in south east asia, it not only follows the exploits of the min character, Gerry Westerby, (who we first met briefly in Tinker Tailor) but also captures the terrifying situation on the ground in Cambodia under the emerging threat of the Kmers.
Michael Jayston as a reader does what can only be described as a top quality job, the vocalizations of different characters make it a pleasure to follow and easy to discriminate one from another, his George Smiley could just as well actually be Alec Guiness!
If you do not have this book in your collection, do no hesitate to acquire it, it will be worth every penny, and is well deserving of the 5 star review.
"For all fans of Ripley, Smiley or decent character"
I've read/listened to both. I enjoyed both. But I think I preferred the audio edition.
Jerry Westerby of course. He's not likeable as such, but he's well drawn by Le Carre and somehow you can imagine a man making his choices.
Jerry again - brought to life by Michael Jayston (Peter Guillam in the BBC's Tinker Tailor adaptation). One assumes Michael Jayston's exposure in Tinker Tailor has assisted him, but regardless of that his characterisation works (even the difficult Chinese characters aren't too over the top or false) and Jerry feels alive and driven towards his fate.
The ending, it's a little anti-climatic for me, but I think that is it's strength. It doesn't give you the neatly tied up ending of a Tom Clancy novel, but it's all the better for that. It made me want to read Smiley's People almost immediately.
This is not as popular as Tinker Tailor or Smiley's People (perhaps due to the BBC not making an Alec Guinness version?) however it's good and well worth your time. If you've read or seen Tinker Taylor or Smiley's People you should listen to this. It's the stepping stone between them, and while I have always felt it wasn't as strong as the other 2 parts of the Karla Trilogy, it's a good book in it's own right and merely shows how brilliant the other two parts are.
If you like Bond, Bourne, Tom Clancy's creations, Ripley, et al then you should read this and the other two in the trilogy (preferably in order, but it's not essential).
Never mind if you can't follow the complex twists and turns of this superbly written Cold War spy thriller. This is LeCarré at his peak with well fleshed out characters, an utterly believable Secret Service and a typically dark and rather grim storyline. Cleverly told with insight and surprising humour, the descriptions of people, places and events are fulsome and expert. Certainly not a sparse writer, but I could listen to Michael Jaystons rendition of this superlative work for another 20 hours and not tire of it.
This is the second in the so-called "Karla trilogy", following on from Tinker Tailor, and that's certainly where you should start. Brilliant.
"Made me sit in the car to listen"
Another superb offering from John Le Carre. with his usual tight plotting and tight characterisation.
Michal Jayston's reading of this book is absolutely superb. Highly recommended.
"Excellent story and narration"
I have now listened to all the George Smiley books with Michael Jayston as narrator. All are excellent.
"Chris from the West Mids"
This is the third novel of the 'Karla trilogy' following Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy and Smiley's People. Not made at the time by the BBC because of prohibitive costs, as I understand it - more's the pity! I am a total Le Carre addict anyway but I consider this novel to be his best and it must surely rank also as one of the very best of its' genre.
This is a heady mix of espionage, humour, pathos and brutality and is equally rich in characters, not least of whom are George Smiley and Gerry Westerby, and it's all so beautifully crafted and told as only Le Carre can.
The next superlative I will save for the narrator, Michael Jayston who is nothing less than a genius in this field. I have listened to many, many audio books with some excellent narrators but none are his equal.
I absolutely never tire of listening to this and I'm certain that I never could. I can passionately recommend you listen and experience it too! beta inappVoteInfo
"The Circus gets back at Karla"
A brilliant book, the reading by Michael Jayston adds enoromously. I have got more out of listening to it than I got out of reading it. I would suggest that you listen to Tinker, Tailor as it will help you make sense of the characters, etc.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.