The Secret Pilgrim (The Penguin John le Carré Hardback Collection) Hardcover – 5 March 2020
Consummate and enthralling ― Observer
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- Publisher : Penguin Classics (5 March 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0241337186
- ISBN-13 : 978-0241337189
- Item Weight : 386 g
- Dimensions : 12.7 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #900,012 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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As Ned calls upon Smiley to give an informal speech to the latest group to pass out of the spy school at Sarratt, not only is he pleasantly surprised that George accepts, but also that he is rather good at it. As Smiley starts upon his speech, so certain elements start Ned off personally reminiscing to himself, as he looks back upon his career in MI6, and so we follow him through various operations.
Due to the format of this, which is really quite episodic, so this will not perhaps appeal to all of Carré’s fans, but it does cover the Cold War years and reminds us of the sort of things that went on, and still do so, not only amongst our intelligence community but the world over.
From his first proper assignment where he becomes wary of a man following an entourage, so we see how our perceptions of what people are likely to do are not always correct. With defections, heightened paranoia and mistakes as well as corruption, so we are reminded that at the end of the day spies are just the same as the rest of us, and suffer the same delusions, make the same mistakes, can be greedy, and can at times be a bit careless.
Making for quite an enjoyable read, so this can easily be imagined as a series of stories that could be easily adapted for TV, with hour long episodes, and in these tales, we can see references to other books by the author, as well as ideas that have been taken further in novels published after this one. In all this does make for a good read, but I would not say that this is the best by this author, although still very good.
This was the last George Smiley book that I hadn’t read, I also believe that this was supposed to be Smiley’s last outing… Or it was for 27 years, until The Legacy of Spies was released in 2017 (which is one of my favourite books ever). So, it does feel rather apt that this is where I finish his tale.
I am extremely saddened to have completed the Smiley series, but as I have done so already, I will continue to delve back in and read and read again because to me Smiley is the best Spy master that never truly lived. So, this review is somewhat of a love letter to George, thank you, you immensely clever little man!
I now feel I owe it to Smiley and Le Carré to indulge myself on his other great works of fiction… Until I return