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Publisher's Summary

Smiley, wrestling with retirement and disillusionment, is summoned to a secret meeting with a member of the Cabinet Office. Evidence has emerged that the Circus has been infiltrated at the highest level by a Russian agent. 'Find the mole, George. Clean the stables. Do whatever is necessary.' Reluctantly Smiley agrees, and so embarks on a dark journey into his past a past filled with love, duplicity and betrayal.

Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Anna Chancellor, Alex Jennings, Kenneth Cranham, and Bill Paterson, this epic dramatisation brilliantly depicts the complicated moral dilemmas of those who practice post-war espionage and illuminates the murky corners of le Carré's classic spy thriller - the first in the Karla trilogy.

©1974 le Carre Productions (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    72
  • 4 Stars
    30
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    6
  • 2 Stars
    7
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    7

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    65
  • 4 Stars
    14
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    6
  • 2 Stars
    4
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    4

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    66
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    18
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    5
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • lynn
  • ADELAIDE, Australia
  • 03-09-11

Atmospheric, powerful production

I have read and listened to different interpretations of John le Carre's work over 20 years this is as good as any previous productions including the those with Bernard Hepton and Alec Guiness. Simon Russell Beale has just the right air of world weariness for George Smiley, Ann his wife's part has been extended beautifully to add context. This production adds to others I have and I shall enjoy it again and again.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Poor dramatization of a masterpiece

There are many bad things about this dramatization, but the worst is the casting of Smiley. You get the impression that he's young and talkative, which is absurd. The people who did this should have listened to previous renderings, including the reading of the unabridged version on Audible, which with all its faults is far superior to this. I wish I hadn't bought it.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Poor substitute for a good reading

I have the Listen for Pleasure releases of the John LeCarre Smiley series on cassette. Bad assumption on my part that these dramatizations would be comparable. If you love the John LeCarre series of Smiley books. Don't listen to these, they'll put you completely off the genre! This is the first Audible selection that I actually deleted out of my library.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Difficult to follow

This is the first dramatized audio book I have listened to and I found it very hard to follow. It's like radio, and I often couldn't distinguish the characters, nor follow the story line. I was intrigued but frustrated. I didn't finish it. This story was too complicated to listen this way.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

It fails

Lacks narrative power. Cheesy effects distract rather than entertain. And chopped to fit. Procrustean solution failed. Blurred a good book.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Hard to follow

Would you try another book from John le Carre and/or the narrators?

I have read this book. It is a good read, but one on which you must concentrate. The Audible version is most difficult to follow when you are driving. My suggestion: buy the book

Would you ever listen to anything by John le Carre again?

No

How did the narrator detract from the book?

No

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

Disappointment at my inability to follow the story

Any additional comments?

No

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Tom
  • Norman, OK, United States
  • 03-26-12

Listen in Order

Last of a long storyline. I don't know if I'll listen to the preceding books in the series now, knowing the end. I should have looked into that.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Dramatisation = Distracting

Was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Dramatised) worth the listening time?

No, I would have preferred a single narrator to a cast, especially for a story like Tinker Tailor that has so much going on. I had a hard time figuring out who was talking and it really took away from the overall story.

Any additional comments?

I would recommend skipping this audio book version until their is a single narrator, unabridged version available.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alistair
  • 01-27-10

A great dramatisation of a classic spy tale

What can I say -I am a great fan of Le carre especially his cold war / british secret service era books and this is the best. The dramatisation really brings out the mixture of disillusionment, bureacracy and office politics but with deadly stakes and high tension

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Roger Pitfield
  • 04-29-18

A big SMILE for this classic SMILEY

A great dramatization. True to Le Carre. Gripping and can listen to it over and over. Loved it!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. Alan Willis
  • 03-19-17

terrific

A great story but the dramatisation is so well done with Simon Russell Beale outstanding that it is worth listening too even if you know the book well.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jo
  • 10-23-16

Brilliant!

I can listen to it again and again! Works wonderfully as an audio book. Excellent in every way.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andi Hayles-Wright
  • 03-22-16

Excellent casting

I when I was much younger I avidly watched but failed to truly comprehend this great story. Now somewhat older I find that it still holds me ut my understanding is complete. The cast are wonderful and bring the characters to life. I highly recommend this drama.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ray Ronan
  • 03-19-16

Classic performance for a classic book.

For lovers of radio. Close your eyes and let the mesmerising voices draw you into this le Carre classic.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amanda Frost
  • 03-19-16

Grippingly good!

I'm not usually a fan of this kind of thriller, but this dramatisation had me gripped from start to finish. I listened to it while I was doing a 12 mile run, and It had me so absorbed that the miles just flew by. Highly recommended!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andyjn
  • 02-22-16

A great drama

This is an excellent drama from the BBC. The story is good, and the cast really bring the story to life.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mr. E. A. Shanks
  • 11-15-15

Another great radio drama by the BBC

This is a wonderfully acted radio drama. Well worth listening to. Really well worth recommending.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Malakite
  • 06-10-15

Classic Reborn

Thoroughly enjoyed hearing Simon Russell Beal on Radio 4, had to grab this when it came up