To tie in with the new Daniel Alfredson film starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, here’s a welcome paperback reissue for one of the greatest novels by the author who is the pre-eminent writer in the espionage field – a position he has long maintained. It was the groundbreaking George Smiley sequence (beginning with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy in 1974) that enriched and deepened his achievement – and changed the genre for ever. The massive panoply of the Smiley saga allowed le Carré to transcend the thriller category and produce works of literature quite as profound as more ‘serious’ novels, using the duplicity of his troubled protagonists for sharp insights into the human condition. The author may be enjoying an Indian summer as one of the most accomplished novelists in the English language but Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy remains a signature novel.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré is published by Sceptre at £7.99

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