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Call for the Dead Audiobook

Call for the Dead: A George Smiley Novel

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Publisher's Summary

George Smiley is no one's idea of a spy - which is perhaps why he's such a natural. But Smiley apparently made a mistake. After a routine security interview, he concluded that the affable Samuel Fennan had nothing to hide. Why, then, did the man from the Foreign Office shoot himself in the head only hours later? Or did he?

The heart-stopping tale of intrigue that launched both novelist and spy, Call for the Dead is an essential introduction to le Carre's chillingly amoral universe.

©2012 John le Carre (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (939 )
5 star
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4.2 (840 )
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4.6 (844 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 10-09-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 10-09-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Subtle story of friendship, espionage, guilt, etc"

    John le Carré's first novel is a subtle story of friendship, espionage, guilt and tradecraft. le Carré is one of those great genre writers who I think will be read 200 years from now. This short first novel foreshadows many of the themes and moral ambiguities of later le Carré espionage novels.

    21 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caroline 08-06-13
    Caroline 08-06-13
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    "Great Entry to le Carré"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    My first exposure to le Carré was the recent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy film. I was so intrigued by the characters, especially George Smiley that I decided to read all of the George Smiley books. The physical description of Smiley, in Call for the Dead, does not bring Gary Oldman to mind, but the persona is dead on. The plot and character development are far less complex than in TTSS, but it was an enjoyable read none the less. It will be interesting to see how le Carré grows as an author throughout the books.

    Overall the book was well worth the time, and the narration was great!


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rena Silver Spring, MD 12-31-12
    Rena Silver Spring, MD 12-31-12 Member Since 2013
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    "LeCarre Fans Take Note"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Call for the Dead to be better than the print version?

    This obscure little book is the first in the Smiley series, introducing our unlikely hero, along with Mendel and Guillam. For fans everywhere, this is a must-read. Michael Jayston, who played Guillam in the original BBC versions of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People does A wonderful job as narrator. Not to be missed--I am reading all my favorites all over again.


    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cindy Torrance, Ca USA 11-06-14
    Cindy Torrance, Ca USA 11-06-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Difficult to follow"
    What would have made Call for the Dead better?

    If le Carre had developed and distinguished his characters more clearly.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Sarah Water's The Paying Guests.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Smiley's first interview with the widow.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I was disappointed that w book deemed as a 'classic' was so mundane and boring.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish I had chosen a more recent le Carre book to introduce me to this author.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Lane MN 01-08-15
    S. Lane MN 01-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    "boring"

    didn't get into it, just found it rather boring. it was also very short, probably wouldn't have finished it otherwise

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug 07-30-14
    Doug 07-30-14 Member Since 2017
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    "Disjointed"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Probably not. George Smiley just doesn't do it for me.


    What does Michael Jayston bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was good. I would listen to him again.


    Do you think Call for the Dead needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I thought this was about spying but it was more of a murder mystery. The main character, Smiley, didn't seem like a main character. Mendel was a much more intriguing character.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl 03-26-13
    Darryl 03-26-13 Member Since 2008
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    "nice opening to series"

    i have read a couple of le carre's novels and liked them, (Constant Gardiner & From the Cold being excellent) and thought i'd start Smiley series and see how far i wanted to go, at least to Tinker, Tailor & then watch the film. I like the mystery aspect of this one, but I really like how convoluted the spy motive aspect of these get. I may like Le Carre more than i thought, maybe I waited too long to keep up with him. Narrator is good and I think the writing style is in general better from european authors.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 02-21-17
    Wayne Matthews, NC 02-21-17 Member Since 2017
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    "le Carré's first novel; le Carré best novel"

    This 1961 novel was British authorJohn le Carré's first published work and Iin my opinion his best. For 16 years beginning in 1983 I was on airplanes and in airports for more than 1,000 hours annually most of it on long international flights with much of the time spent reading books, mostly mystery/thriller fiction. During that period I read ~15 le Carré novels because the famous British spy novel writer was so popular and his books were so readily available in airport shops in North America, Europe, Asia and South America. I was determined to find at least one that was really excellent. (I also read novels by many other authors.) To this day I have not found a le Carré novel that earned more than 3 stars.

    So I am not a le Carré fan! In my opinion he is the most overrated novelist of the 20th century and 21st century to date. Call For the Dead remains in my view his best novel and it is is really a 3 star suspense mystery rather than a spy thriller. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the 5th novel in the George Smiley series and widely considered le Carré's seminal work, is from my perspective literary garbage.

    7 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ftmgal 11-13-17
    ftmgal 11-13-17 Member Since 2009
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    "Interesting Story"

    I am not a big fan of spy stuff, but I actually have listened to this book twice. Didn't plan to but I was into it before I recognized it. I can see how readers/listeners who ARE into spy stuff would find George Smiley/s story and personality irresistible.

    It's never going to be my genre, but this is a great representative of that genre. And those who favor this genre would be well served by this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Little Buffalo 10-16-17 Member Since 2013
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    "Smiley is the spies' spy."

    The biographies of John le Carré and Ian Fleming can easily explain the difference between Smiley and Bond.

    Fleming came from a wealthy family, his father was the Member of Parliament, and was educated at Eton, Sandhurst.

    While le Carré did not know his mother, who abandoned him when he was five years old, and his father had been jailed for insurance fraud, was an associate of the natorious Kray twins, and was continually in debt. His schooling was at St Andrew's Preparatory School and Sherborne School.

    Fleming worked in British Naval Intelligence during the Second World War and was involved in planning Operation Goldeneye and in the planning and oversight of two intelligence units.

    Le Carré ran agents, conducted interrogations of people who crossed the Iron Curtain to the West, tapped telephone lines and effected break-in. He left the service after the betrayal of British agents' covers to the KGB by Kim Philby.

    So while Bond is the fantasy of some who knew espionage from reports crossing his desk, Smiley is the result of a man that knew of the true immoral, grisly and unethical aspects of his profession.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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