Monday, July 04, 2011

Smiley's People, by John le Carré

(hb; 1979: fifth novel in the George Smiley series; third novel in the Karla trilogy)

From the inside flap:

"In Paris, a Russian woman is accosted by a Soviet agent, who offers to send her daughter West to join her. In Hamburg, a frightened Estonian emigré performs a secret mission. And in London, George Smiley - once head of British Intelligence - is called from retirement to identify the body of a former British agent. As Smiley gets involved in the tangle of events, all clues lead in one direction - to Karla, Smiley's archenemy and opposite number in Russia. This one time Karla is vulnerable. At last, after all these years, Smiley begins playing Karla's ruthless, relentless game, for that is the only way he can win."


This wrap-up of the Karla trilogy is more like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy than The Honourable Schoolboy in its scope: it focuses on a few select locales and thoroughly developed characters, as well as George Smiley's quest to destroy Karla's influence.

Exemplary read, better than Honourable (which is barely referenced in Smiley's), and great finish to the Karla-Smiley chess match.

Check it out.

Followed by The Secret Pilgrim.


The resulting television mini-series, bearing the same title, aired in England on September 20, 1982. It first aired stateside on October 25, 1982.

Alec Guinness resumed his role of George Smiley. Bernard Hepton resumed his role of Toby Esterhase. Anthony Bate resumed his role of Sir Oliver Lacon. Michael Byrne played Peter Guillam. Bill Paterson played Lauder Strickland. Andy Bradford played Ferguson. Barry Foster played Saul Enderby.

Eileen Atkins played Madame Ostrakova. Tusse Silberg played Alexandrea Ostrakova. Vladek Sheybal played Otto Leipzig. Ingrid Pitt played Elvira. Curd Jürgens played The General. Michael Lonsdale played Anton Grigoriev. Michael Gough played Mikhel. Paul Herzberg played Villem Craven.

Lucy Fleming played Molly Meakin. Julia McCarthy played Millie McCraig.

An uncredited Alan Rickman played Mr. Brownlow.

Patrick Stewart, this time credited, reprised his role of Karla.

Simon Langton directed the six-episode mini-series, from a screenplay by co-authored by book author John le Carré and John Hopkins.

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