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Publisher's Summary

Tell Max that it concerns the Sandman....

A very junior agent answers Vladimir's call, but it could have been the Chief of the Circus himself. No one at the British Secret Service considers the old spy to be anything except a senile has-been who can't give up the game - until he's shot in the face at point-blank range. Although George Smiley (code-name: Max) is officially retired, he's summoned to identify the body now bearing Moscow Centre's bloody imprimatur. As he works to unearth his friend's fatal secrets, Smiley heads inexorably toward one final reckoning with Karla - his "dark grail".

In Smiley's People, master storyteller John le Carré brings his acclaimed Karla trilogy to its unforgettable, spellbinding conclusion.

©1980 John le Carré (P)2011 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The conclusion to the famous Karla trilogy, in which George Smiley attempts to entrap his Soviet counterpart and settle old scores, is magnificent on audio.... Through the narration of British actor Jayston, layers of interpretive sound collide in fantastic verisimilitude.... His European and Russian dialects are convincing, enhanced as they are by sensitive pacing, clear enunciation and vocal moods so appropriate that the listener enters the text completely. A wonderful performance." (AudioFile)  

What listeners say about Smiley's People

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

NEAR Perfect Ending for One Best Trilogies Ever

Like with the Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People on its own is perhaps a 4/4.5 star novel. It is fantastic, but taken as an entire work, the Karla Trilogy is simply amazing

A near perfect ending for one of the, if not THE, best trilogies ever (LOTR perhaps). Is there a better summation for the place we find ourselves HERE and NOW in this the 21st century? Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was a fantastic spy novel that owed a lot to Graham Greene; The Honourable Schoolboy was another fantastic spy novel that owed lots to Joseph Conrad; but with Smiley's people, after reading/listening to it, you realize John le Carré owes nobody nishto now. He owns the genre.

Michael Jayston does an amazing job narrating le Carré. He belongs in the top shelf of audiobook narrators. His variation for voices is different enough to distinguished the characters, but subtle enough to not distract from the flow of the narrative or the melody of le Carré's prose.

26 people found this helpful

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extraordinary reading

What did you love best about Smiley's People?

Michael Jayston has a remarkable way with subtle changes to his voice; I have been familiar with his acting work since I lived in England in the 1960s. I watched him in the original BBC production of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, where he played Guillam. In this reading of Smiley's People, his vocal work as the excitable Pole Toby Esterhaze is memorable. He gets JUST the right amount of twisted English to reflect the man's origins even though he has lived in England for many years. And his voice for George Smiley is perfect. One can see Alec Guiness's face (the original Smiley of the BBC classic) as Jayston speaks his lines.

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

The VOICES which are perfect!!

4 people found this helpful

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Solid Smiley, Solid le Carré

This is the seventh book of le Carré's that I have read in the last six months or so, most on audiobook. And it is definatly in the top half. Not sure the exact position, but le Carré seems to get the right balance of telling the reading what we need to know, but keeping us just enough in the dark to keep the mystery present.

Smiley's People is better than the Honorable Schoolboy and I think a great conclusion to the Karla trilogy.

3 people found this helpful

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nice round up of the Karla set

excellent and well written, i enjoyed the entire Smiley series even though technically he's not the main character in some of them and only pops up intermittently.

2 people found this helpful

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the best

What did you love best about Smiley's People?

smiley the character is one of the most enjoyable characters in fiction - he's a hero and so common at the same time

What was one of the most memorable moments of Smiley's People?

interrogation of gregoriev

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favorite?

smiley

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

karla in dehli jail

Any additional comments?

the reader jayston is just so good

2 people found this helpful

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Great conclusion to the Karla trilogy

Few modern writers have the ability of Le Carré. His use of irony is as finely tuned as anyone out there. His turns of phrase and his metaphors are unmatched: Smiley had “seen Whitehall skirts come down and go up and come down again.” Marvelous.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Hard to Get Into

While it is a must read for fans, the book is very slow compared to John le Carre's other works.

1 person found this helpful

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Classic le Carré

I just love going along on a mission George Smiley. What le Carré does better than anyone is cover the BORING intracacies of spy craft- and keep it interesting if not down right exciting. His ability to take us deeper into the minds of his characters while not straying from the path of the mission- as well as the deep intertwining of the past with the current is just brilliant.

This is a great read, or in this case “Listen” as Michael Jayston’s characters just take you there. Excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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Smiley’s People

Missing few sentences I liked in the book. Otherwise it is well done audiobook worth obtaining.

1 person found this helpful

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A satisfying conclusion

A fine narration, with Smiley's voice clearly based on that of Alec Guinness. For those that have read or listened to the previous two in the so called Karla Trilogy, the books itself is a richly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. It actually enhances one's feelings about the previous two works by what one learns within it.

1 person found this helpful