New release….LEGACY OF SPIES by John Carre / What you SHOULD read first!

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The “George Smiley” spy novel series by John Le Carre
#=Must Read before 9 K=Karla trilogy

? 1.Call for the Dead (’61)
2.Murder of Quality (’62)
# 3 The Spy who Came in from the Cold (’63)
4 The Looking Glass War (65)
#K 5 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (74)
K 6 Honourable Schoolboy (’77)
K 7 Smiley/s People (’79)
8 Secret Pilgrim (’90)


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David Halenda says:

Hay peg love the necklace. LeCarre and G Green are also 2 of my favorite writers. I esp as a fiction writer myself look to LCs mastery of character and plotting as well as his overall sense of humanity… Or womanity

BuseJF says:

Great content!

Sir Bill Mumpton O.B.E. says:

I just noticed this video, it's very helpful. In the UK as kid we had the two dramas shown on TV (Tinker Tail and Smiley's People, made by the BBC and available on DVD) and they are both well worth watching if this sort of more realistic, anti heroic reading gets a bit heavy. I came to the books in later life. I've still not read them all, hence your list being very helpful. Many thanks. PS: The 2011 Tinker Tailor SS movie is not a patch on the late 1970's BBC series. it's far too short, the character portrayals not so believable, so don't let this put you off. The second BBC series (Smiley's People) rounds the whole Karla story off nicely. The acting in both TV series is 'warts and all' realistic and all the more wonderful for it. Phil, UK.

Daokid says:

Shit, I just finished Legacy not having read any of his other works. Oh well, can’t wait to delve into more of the storyline

Tommy O Donovan says:

Liked and Sub

Mike Loder says:

Great thoughts. Well described.

Mark Disher says:

The first two novels are extremely important in the development of some prime characterizations of English society, and the mood of a nation that has superficially come out of post-war austerity. And Smiley is introduced with a lot of background about the service (not agency!), his slut of a wife, and especially the duplicitous sleaziness of espionage in general. Also the intimate knowledge of places German and the stagnant backwaters of English social connection that are a millstone against a future that is "up for grabs" described in later novels. Not reading them is to accept gaps in "Smiley" world, even if many of those gaps may be thought of as cursorily filled in later novels. The third novel is what made Le Carre famous, to the degree that a great movie was made with Claire Bloom and Richard Burton. Another movie appeared recently based on and named Tinker Taylor .. … . Far better, however, are the TV adaptations of Tinker Taylor . . and Smiley's People. These two 6 hour TV serials were contemporaneous with the novels and like them, are about real places and cultures. Alec Guinness and all the other actors are beautifully casted. If you haven't seen them, they're right here on youtube… be ready for a fantastic treat! After the three novels – Tinker, the Honourable School Boy and Smiley's People (AKA the Quest For Karla trilogy) – came the Secret Pilgrim. Now we have A Legacy of Spies.

Did anyone notice an inconsistency between this latest Smiley novel and the ones that preceded it? I did. On page 208 Connie Sachs is described as a 20 year-old debutante in 1960, whereas that is how she's described in 1939 when a job was invented for her over a "rubber of bridge" prior to the break-out of hostilities and the phony war etc. Did Le Carre do that on purpose? Is he trying to make sure we're paying attention? Not that I care, it's just an observation.

Zimtkind says:

I am only on the 5th book. So far Looking Glass War is my favourite. George Smiley is definitely one of the best fictional character.
Edit: Also, I love your haircut!

Don says:

Great video! You're a delight! Definitely makes me want to return to Le Carre who I haven't read in a long time. I never read Call for the Dead,,,,,,,,

electricmastro says:


JoachimderZweite says:

I really enjoyed this video. I think the work of Jean le Carre is really literature masquerading as spy novels. I have always read them very carefully and I often reread parts to make sure I fully understood everything. I also found them very disturbing in the way that hope, dreams love and loyalty gets skewered by events and ruthless characters. If you are a super hero action thriller spy novel reader (Tom Clancy whom I enjoy) then go elsewhere.

Chris Noto says:

And… you were wrong about “Legacy” being his last! 🎉💕

parkviewmo says:

John Le Carre isn't, to me, a spy genre novelists. He is a novelist who works in that genre. Tinker, Tailor, Solider Spy is my favorite novel. Le Carre writes beautiful prose and his plots are things of beauty. In TTSS, he peels back the onion so that the readerand George Smiley understand the situation at the same time.

JubileeGiggles says:

I got into his novels after watching the Gary Oldman tinker tailor movie about 100 times. So, so good. Reading call for the dead now and working on the honourable schoolboy. definitely want to read them all and check out this new one. Also the Alec Guinness versions of tinker tailor and Smiley's People are excellent.

CaptainCritical says:

Le carre is the undisputed master of the genre. I hope one day he is rewarded with the Nobel prize for literature.

ThrumWorldWalker says:

Really looking forward to getting started on number 9! I can't recommend enough anyone starting off with the Smiley novels to start with Call for the Dead. It's a great little story and really introduces the style and tone of the novels to come. Another favourite is 'Small Town In Germany', written by Le Carre in between Smiley books 4 and 5. There's no Smiley or 'Circus' characters… but boy… it's powerful, particularly with themes of tensions in Europe and the UK's position within Europe… lots of twists and turns too! I'm enjoying Tinker Tailor at the moment 🙂

Melanie Martin says:

I love the Smiley novels and I am scared and excited about the legacy of spies. Maybe I re-read them all. You inspired me to pick them all up. It's been ages since I read them. I do love his constant gardener though.

Neenah says:

This sounds like a really good series. It must feel very good to be able to finish it.

RyanPetrieWrites says:

I went to see the live stream of An Evening with George Smiley, and watched le Carré read aloud from this novel and spoke about how the world was when he wrote the first books. It was incredible. I got quite emotional in some places. It was truly truly wonderful. I get my copy tomorrow, so I am looking forward to it.

EarnestlyEston says:

Ok when you said "Noir" you got my attention : ) That sounds like a great series!

crflamesfan says:

I had no idea Le Carre was releasing a new book. I have not read them all, but I did read A Spy who came In From The Cold, as well as, Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, but it was so long ago, it is worth re-reading them. Thanks for talking about the release of the new book. Excellent chat!

Steve Donoghue says:

GASP!!!! That's "Earthly Powers" in the background!!! I now love you more than ever!

mementomori says:

Thanks for the George Smiley rundown, Peg. I have never read any of Le Carre but have a few of his works waiting on my shelf. Hope I get wrapped up in him as much as you have! Happy reading.

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