Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Smiley’s People


After Lonesome Dove, the BBC’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was my favorite TV mini-series ever. So I had high hopes for this one, produced by the same people and with most of the same cast, including the magnificent Sir Alec Guinness as the imperturbable George Smiley. Alas, though they tried hard, this book just wasn’t as amenable to the screen as the first one was. (They didn’t even attempt the second book of the Karla Saga, The Honourable Schoolboy, which would have been even harder.) John Le Carre’s strength is the complexity of his plots and the intricacy of his tradecraft, but you really need a little action here and there. There’s hardly any in this one.