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John le Carré - Author

About the Author

John le Carré was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton and served briefly in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For the last fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall. His works include The Spy Who Came in from the Cold; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Smiley's People; The Little Drummer Girl; A Perfect Spy; The Russia House; and Absolute Friends.

Author photo © White Hare Ltd

Featured books by John le Carré

A Legacy of Spies

A Legacy of Spies

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/05/2018

Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good. Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carre has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.

ebook of the month
The Pigeon Tunnel Stories from My Life

The Pigeon Tunnel Stories from My Life

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/05/2017

'Out of the secret world I once knew, I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit. First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I'm sitting now.' From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion, to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, John le Carre has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carre is as funny as he is incisive - reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire, or visiting Rwanda's museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide, or celebrating New Year's Eve with Yasser Arafat, or interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, or watching Alec Guinness preparing for his role as George Smiley, or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in his The Constant Gardener, le Carre endows each happening with vividness and humour, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood. Best of all, le Carre gives us a glimpse of a writer's journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.

ebook of the month
The Pigeon Tunnel Stories from My Life

The Pigeon Tunnel Stories from My Life

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/09/2016

'Out of the secret world I once knew, I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit. First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I'm sitting now.' From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion, to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, John le Carre has always written from the heart of modern times.

ebook of the month
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2016

The classic Cold War thriller, published as a Penguin Essential for the first time. Alec Leamas is tired. He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas's mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done.

ebook of the month
The Night Manager

The Night Manager

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/02/2016

At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine. Also in the episode that aired 13 March John le Carre himself had a cameo ... did you spot it. If not check out the video clip below.

ebook of the month
Smiley Versus Karla Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People

Smiley Versus Karla Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the Honourable Schoolboy, Smiley's People

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/12/2011

Stalking each other through this twilight landscape are the incomparable George Smiley and his ruthless opposite number, codenamed Karla, the Soviet case officer who has been slowly masterminding the Circus's ruin. Their extraordinary duel not only raised the spy novel to new heights of realism and complexity, it also constitutes one of the major triumphs of contemporary fiction, confirming John le Carre as a profound chronicler of the post-war world and a novelist of unfailing humanity.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/06/2011

The Circus has already suffered a bad defeat, and the result was two bullets in a man's back. But a bigger threat still exists. And the legendary George Smiley is recruited to root out a high-level mole of thirty years' standing - though to find him means spying on the spies. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is brilliant and ceaselessly compelling, pitting Smiley against his Cold War rival, Karla, in one of the greatest struggles in all fiction.

ebook of the month
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback Release Date: 26/11/2009

The enduring novel by one of our greatest storytellers. George Smiley, who is a troubled man of infinite compassion, is also a single-mindedly ruthless adversary as a spy.   The scene which he enters is a Cold War landscape of moles and lamplighters, scalp-hunters and pavement artists, where men are turned, burned or bought for stock. Smiley's mission is to catch a Moscow Centre mole burrowed thirty years deep into the Circus itself.

ebook of the month

Other books by John le Carré

The Night Manager

The Night Manager

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/05/2020

At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine. In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carre creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.

The Russia House

The Russia House

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/03/2020

Barley Blair is not a Service man: he is a small-time publisher, a self-destructive soul whose only loves are whisky and jazz. But it was Barley who, one drunken night at a dacha in Peredelkino during the Moscow Book Fair, was befriended by a high-ranking Soviet scientist who could be the greatest asset to the West since perestroika began, and made a promise. Nearly a year later, his drunken promise returns to haunt him. A reluctant Barley is quickly trained by British Intelligence and sent to Moscow to liaise with a go-between, the beautiful Katya. Both are lonely and disillusioned. Each is increasingly certain that if the human race is to have any future, all must betray their countries . . . In his first post-glasnost spy novel, le Carre captures the effect of a slow and uncertain thaw on ordinary people and on the shadowy puppet-masters who command them.

The Secret Pilgrim

The Secret Pilgrim

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/03/2020

The Cold War is over and Ned has been demoted to the training academy. He asks his old mentor, George Smiley, to address his passing-out class. There are no laundered reminiscences; Smiley speaks the truth - perhaps the last the students will ever hear. As they listen, Ned recalls his own painful triumphs and inglorious failures, in a career that took him from the Western Isles of Scotland to Hamburg and from Israel to Cambodia. He asks himself: Did it do any good? What did it do to me? And what will happen to us now? In this final Smiley novel, the great spy gives his own humane and unexpected answers.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold The Smiley Collection

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

In 1963 John le Carre published his third book, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Written over a period of about five weeks in response to the fear and ugliness of the Berlin Wall, its bitter, devastating story crystallised the doubts and moral dilemmas of the time. It altered irrevocably our understanding of the Cold War, the shape of the spy novel, and John le Carre's writing career, propelling him to international fame.

A Murder of Quality The Smiley Collection

A Murder of Quality The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

In his second novel, also featuring George Smiley, le Carre forsakes the world of espionage to reveal the secret heart of another peculiarly British institution: the public school.

Smiley's People The Smiley Collection

Smiley's People The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

The seventh Smiley novel sees a phone call drag the acting chief of the Circus back to active service. But only to bury a case, not to solve it...

Call for the Dead The Smiley Collection

Call for the Dead The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

After a routine security check by George Smiley, civil servant Samuel Fennan apparently kills himself. When Smiley finds Circus head Maston is trying to blame him for the man's death, he begins his own investigation, meeting with Fennan's widow to find out what could have led him to such desperation. But on the very day that Smiley is ordered off the enquiry he receives an urgent letter from the dead man. Do the East Germans - and their agents - know more about this man's death than the Circus previously imagined? Le Carre's debut novel, Call for the Dead, introduced the tenacious and retiring George Smiley in a gripping tale of espionage and deceit.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy The Smiley Collection

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

In his fifth outing George Smiley is facing a remarkable challenge: a mole who has burrowed his way in and up to the highest level of British Intelligence.

The Secret Pilgrim The Smiley Collection

The Secret Pilgrim The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

The Cold War is over and Ned has been demoted to the training academy. He asks his old mentor, George Smiley, to address his passing-out class. There are no laundered reminiscences; Smiley speaks the truth - perhaps the last the students will ever hear. As they listen, Ned recalls his own painful triumphs and inglorious failures, in a career that took him from the Western Isles of Scotland to Hamburg and from Israel to Cambodia. He asks himself: Did it do any good? What did it do to me? And what will happen to us now? In this final Smiley novel, the great spy gives his own humane and unexpected answers.

The Looking Glass War The Smiley Collection

The Looking Glass War The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

A department of ageing British spies will break any rule for the glory of launching a secret agent into communist East Germany, in the fourth novel featuring George Smiley.

The Honourable Schoolboy The Smiley Collection

The Honourable Schoolboy The Smiley Collection

Author: John le Carré Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/02/2020

George Smiley, now chief of the battered British Secret Service, seeks revenge for the betrayals of a Soviet double agent in the sixth Smiley novel.

A Perfect Spy

A Perfect Spy

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/02/2020

Magnus Pym, high-ranking diplomat, has vanished, believed defected. The chase is on: for a missing husband, a devoted father and a secret agent. Pym's life, it is revealed, is entirely made up of secrets. Dominated by a father who is also a confidence trickster on an epic scale, Pym has from the age of seventeen been controlled by two mentors. It is these men, racing each other, who are orchestrating the search to find the perfect spy. Described by the author as his most autobiographical work, John le Carre's eleventh novel masterfully blends wit, compassion and unflagging tension with the poignant story of an estranged father and son.

Smiley's People

Smiley's People

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/01/2020

The concluding part of John le Carre's celebrated Karla Trilogy, Smiley's People sees the last confrontation between the indefatigable spymaster George Smiley and his great enemy, as their rivalry comes to a shattering end. A Soviet defector has been assassinated on English soil, and George Smiley is called back to the Circus to clear up - and cover up - the mess. But what he discovers sends him delving into the past, on a trail through Hamburg and Paris to Cold War Berlin - and a final showdown with his elusive nemesis, Karla. 'An enormously skilled and satisfying work' Newsweek 'We are all Smiley's people, a kind of secular god of intelligence' New Yorker THE SEVENTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

The Honourable Schoolboy

The Honourable Schoolboy

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/12/2019

In the second part of John le Carre's Karla Trilogy, the battle of wits between spymaster George Smiley and his Russian adversary takes on an even more dangerous dimension. George Smiley, now acting head of the Circus, must rebuild its shattered reputation after one of the biggest betrayals in its history. Using the talents of journalist and occasional spy Jerry Westerby, Smiley launches a risky operation uncovering a Russian money-laundering scheme in the Far East. His aim: revenge on Karla, head of Moscow Centre and the architect of all his troubles. 'Energy, compassion, rich and overwhelming sweep of character and action' The Times 'A remarkable sequel ... the achievement is in the characters, major and minor ... all burned on the brain of the reader' The New York Times THE SIXTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2019

The first part of John le Carre's acclaimed Karla Trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy sees the beginning of the stealthy Cold War cat-and-mouse game between the taciturn, dogged George Smiley and his wily Soviet counterpart. A mole, implanted by Moscow Centre, has infiltrated the highest ranks of the British Intelligence Service, almost destroying it in the process. And so former spymaster George Smiley has been brought out of retirement in order to hunt down the traitor at the very heart of the Circus - even though it may be one of those closest to him. 'A stunning story' Wall Street Journal 'A great thriller, the best le Carre has written' Spectator THE FIFTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

Agent Running in the Field

Agent Running in the Field

Author: John le Carré Format: Hardback Release Date: 17/10/2019

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'Le Carre delivers a tale for our times . . . a demonstration of the British spy thriller at its unputdownable best' Robert McCrum, Observer ________________________________ Nat, a 47 year-old veteran of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, believes his years as an agent runner are over. He is back in London with his wife, the long-suffering Prue. But with the growing threat from Moscow Centre, the office has one more job for him. Nat is to take over The Haven, a defunct substation of London General with a rag-tag band of spies. The only bright light on the team is young Florence, who has her eye on Russia Department and a Ukrainian oligarch with a finger in the Russia pie. Nat is not only a spy, he is a passionate badminton player. His regular Monday evening opponent is half his age: the introspective and solitary Ed. Ed hates Brexit, hates Trump and hates his job at some soulless media agency. And it is Ed, of all unlikely people, who will take Prue, Florence and Nat himself down the path of political anger that will ensnare them all. Agent Running in the Field is a chilling portrait of our time, now heartbreaking, now darkly humorous, told to us with unflagging tension by the greatest chronicler of our age. _______________________________ 'A rich, beautifully written book studded with surprises. Narrative is a black art, and Le Carre is its grandmaster' Andrew Taylor, Spectator 'Blisteringly contemporary . . . Each new book from le Carre is refreshingly different and uniquely compelling' Economist 'Astute state-of-the-nation commentary' Guardian 'Subtle, wry and seamless, it's an utter joy, from first page to last' Daily Mail 'The master espionage novelist takes on Brexit and Trump in this tense and chilling portrait of today' Evening Standard Times Books of the Year New Statesman Book of the Year Guardian Books of the Year Sunday Times Books of the Year TLS Books of the Year Daily Mail Books of the Year Mail on Sunday's Best Books of the Year Apple Best books of 2019