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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 Little Drummer Girl

The Little Drummer Girl

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/10/2018

A special edition of John le Carre's thrilling novel of espionage and betrayal in the Middle East, to tie in with the new BBC series starring Alexander Skarsgard, Michael Shannon and Florence Pugh Charlie, a jobbing young English actress, is accustomed to playing different roles. But when the mysterious, battle-scarred Joseph recruits her into the Israeli secret services, she enters the dangerous 'theatre of the real'. As she acts out her part in an intricate, high-stakes plot to trap and kill a Palestinian terrorist, it threatens to consume her. Set in the tragic arena of the Middle East conflict, this compelling story of love and torn loyalties plays out against the backdrop of an unwinnable war. 'An exciting story, excitingly told' Observer 'Wonderful' The New York Times

The Little Drummer Girl

The Little Drummer Girl

Author: John le Carre Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/10/2018

Charlie, a brilliant and beautiful young actress, is lured into 'the theatre of the real' by an Israeli intelligence officer. Forced to play her ultimate role, she is plunged into a deceptive and delicate trap set to ensnare an elusive Palestinian terrorist. The Little Drummer Girl is a thrilling, deeply moving and courageous novel of our times.

Smiley's People

Smiley's People

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

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

Absolute Friends

Absolute Friends

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

'One of his most enthralling creations' Daily Telegraph Broke and working as a tour guide in Germany, rootless Englishman Ted Mundy catches a glimpse of an old friend hiding in the shadows. A friend he thought was lost to him. A friend who took him from radical 1960s Berlin to life as a double agent. Now, decades later, the Cold War is over and the war on terror has begun. Sasha has another mission for them both, but this time it is impossible to tell the difference between allies - and enemies. Set in a world of lies and shifting allegiances, Absolute Friends is a savage fable of our times. 'Thoroughly gripping' Sunday Times

A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

'One of the most sophisticated fictional responses to the war on terror yet published' Guardian An illegal Muslim immigrant arrives in Hamburg with a traumatic past and the key to a fortune held in a private bank. He says his name is Issa. To the idealistic young human rights lawyer Annabel, determined to save him from deportation, he is a worthy cause. To the intelligence services of Britain, Germany and America, however, he is a potential jihadist - and a pawn between them as they seek to make a kill in the war on terror. A Most Wanted Man is a gripping and disquieting story of paranoia, disillusionment and betrayal in the moral no-man's land of the post-9/11 world. 'A first-class novel about the most pressing concerns of our time' Daily Telegraph

The Naive and Sentimental Lover

The Naive and Sentimental Lover

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

Aldo Cassidy is the naive and sentimental lover. A successful, judicious man, he is wrenched away from the ordered certainties of his life by a sudden encounter with Shamus, a wild, carousing artist and Helen, his nakedly alluring wife. Cassidy, plunged into a whirlpool of recklessness and spontaneity, becomes a man bewildered and agonised as he is torn between two poles of a nature more complex than he had ever imagined.

The Mission Song

The Mission Song

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

'Mesmerising' Sunday Times As an interpreter of African languages, Bruno Salvador is much in demand. He makes it a principle to remain neutral - no matter what he hears. But when he is summoned on a secret job for British Intelligence, he is told he will have to get his hands dirty. His mission is to help bring democracy to the Congo - democracy that will be delivered at the end of a gun barrel. The Mission Song is an excoriating depiction of a corrupt world where loyalty can be bought and war is simply an opportunity to settle old scores. 'Simply astonishing ... a formidably sophisticated work of fiction' Charles Cumming

The Little Drummer Girl

The Little Drummer Girl

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

'Wonderful' The New York Times Charlie, a jobbing young English actress, is accustomed to playing different roles. But when the mysterious, battle-scarred Joseph recruits her into the Israeli secret services, she enters the dangerous 'theatre of the real'. As she acts out her part in an intricate, high-stakes plot to trap and kill a Palestinian terrorist, it threatens to consume her. Set in the tragic arena of the Middle East conflict, this compelling story of love and torn loyalties plays out against the backdrop of an unwinnable war. 'The Little Drummer Girl is about spies as Madame Bovary is about adultery or Crime and Punishment about crime' The New York Times

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

A stunning story' Wall Street Journal 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. The first part of 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 Smiley and his wily Soviet counterpart. 'A great thriller, the best le Carre has written' Spectator THE FIFTH GEORGE SMILEY NOVEL

Single & Single

Single & Single

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

'An adventure that takes us to the ends of the earth via the rich but often barren landscape of the human heart' The Times Why was an English lawyer shot dead in Turkey by his firm's top client? How can a down-at-heel magician in Devon explain the vast fortune that has mysteriously appeared in his daughter's trust fund? With customs officer Nat Brock on the trail, the answers point to the House of Single - once a respectable finance company, now entangled with a Russian crime syndicate. West is pitted against East, and the British establishment against a labyrinthine criminal superpower, in le Carre's searing novel of lives built upon lies. 'A masterly work, faultless fiction of the highest order' Glasgow Herald

The Honourable Schoolboy

The Honourable Schoolboy

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

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

A Perfect Spy

A Perfect Spy

Author: John le Carre Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/09/2018

'The best English novel since the war' Philip Roth Magnus Pym - ranking diplomat, consummate Englishman, loving husband, secret agent - has vanished. Has he defected? Gone to ground? As the hunt for Pym intensifies, the secrets of his life are revealed: the people he has loved and betrayed, the unreliable con-man father who made him, the two mentors who moulded and shaped him, and now wish to claim this perfect spy as their own. Described by le Carre as his most autobiographical novel, A Perfect Spy is a devastating portrayal of a man who has played different roles for so long, he no longer knows who he is. 'Le Carre understood that espionage is an extreme version of the human comedy, even the human tragedy. A Perfect Spy will very likely remain his greatest book' New Yorker

Call for the Dead

Call for the Dead

Author: John Le Carre Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/05/2018

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.

A Legacy of Spies

A Legacy of Spies

Author: John le Carre Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 07/09/2017

Penguin presents the unabridged, audiobook CD edition of A Legacy of Spies by John le Carre. 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.

Legacy of Spies

Legacy of Spies

Author: John le Carre Format: eBook Release Date: 05/09/2017

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERThe undisputed master returns with a riveting new bookhis first Smiley novel in more than twenty-five yearsPeter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, is living out his old age on the 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, and involved such characters as Alec Leamas, Jim Prideaux, George Smiley and Peter Guillam himself, are to be scrutinized by a generation with no memory of the Cold War and no patience with its justifications. Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own intense story, John le Carre has spun a single plot as ingenious and thrilling as the two predecessors on which it looks back:The Spy Who Came in from the ColdandTinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In a story resonating with tension, humor and moral ambivalence, le Carre and his narrator Peter Guillam present the reader with a legacy of unforgettable characters old and new.

A Perfect Spy

A Perfect Spy

Author: John le Carre Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 24/08/2017

Julian Rhind-Tutt is Magnus Pym in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast adaptation of John le Carre's superb spy novel Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 'Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.' So says Magnus Pym, the spy of the title; and he has betrayed a lot in his life - countries, friends, family and lovers. When Magnus disappears after his father's funeral, MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. But Pym is on a search of his own - to unravel the mystery of what made him the perfect spy. Was it the duplicity of his con artist father, Rick? Or his MI6 mentor and father figure Jack Brotherhood? Or was it Axel, the Czech agent he has known since his teens? All have marked him in crucial ways, and as the net closes around Magnus, he attempts finally to make sense of his life and find the source of his talent for deception... A Perfect Spy is le Carre's most autobiographical novel, and has been hailed as his masterpiece. This superlative radio production, starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Bill Paterson, Michael Maloney and Anton Lesser, is a compelling exploration of identity, treachery and the complexities of the human heart.