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John le Carré (Author) , Anna Chancellor (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Patrick Malahide (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. The Berlin Wall is down, the Cold War is over, but the world’s second oldest profession is very much alive. Smiley accepts an invitation to dine with the eager young men and women of the Circus’ latest intake; and over coffee and brandy, by flickering firelight, he beguilingly offers them his personal thoughts on espionage past, present and future. In doing so, he prompts one of his former Circus colleagues into a searching examination of his own eventful secret life. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Patrick Malahide as Ned, this engrossing dramatisation brings le Carré’s masterful novel vividly to life. 'A radio triumph... Simon Russell Beale’s pitch-perfect master spy' - Financial Times.
3 CDs. 3 hrs.
Published: 8 Jul 2010
John le Carré (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. Smiley, wrestling with retirement and disillusionment, is summoned to a secret meeting with a member of the Cabinet Office. Evidence has emerged that the Circus has been infiltrated at the highest level by a Russian agent. 'Find the mole, George. Clean the stables. Do whatever is necessary.' Reluctantly Smiley agrees, and so embarks on a dark journey into his past - a past filled with love, duplicity and betrayal. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Anna Chancellor, Alex Jennings, Kenneth Cranham and Bill Paterson, this epic dramatisation brilliantly depicts the complicated moral dilemmas of those who practise post-war espionage, and illuminates the murky corners of le Carré’s classic spy thriller.
3 CDs. 3 hrs.
Published: 7 Jan 2010
John le Carré (Author) , Alex Jennings (Read by), Anna Chancellor (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. When a Russian émigré is found murdered on Hampstead Heath, Smiley is called out of retirement to exorcise some Cold War ghosts from his clandestine past. What follows is Smiley the human being at his most vulnerable and Smiley the case officer at his most brilliant; and it takes to a thrilling conclusion his career-long, serpentine battle with the enigmatic and ruthless Russian spymaster Karla... Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Anna Chancellor, Lindsay Duncan, Maggie Steed, Alex Jennings and Kenneth Cranham, this enthralling dramatisation captures every nuance of le Carré’s complex and compelling novel - the final book in John le Carré’s Karla trilogy. ‘a radio triumph... Simon Russell Beale’s pitch-perfect master spy’ - Financial Times.
3 CDs. 3 hrs.
Published: 6 May 2010
John le Carré (Author) , Anna Chancellor (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Hugh Bonneville (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. Smiley, now head of the Circus, must rebuild trust in the shattered organisation. He is also determined to destroy his nemesis, Karla, and his spy networks. He recruits Jerry Westerby, occasional spy, occasional news reporter, full-time romantic - the Honourable Schoolboy of the title - and despatches him to the Far East, where, amidst the corruption and decay of former colonies, a new battle is about to begin... Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a star cast including Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Steed and Anna Chancellor, this gripping dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré’s intricate, intriguing novel, the second in the Karla trilogy.
3 CDs. 3 hrs.
Published: 11 Feb 2010
John le Carré (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)The complete collection of acclaimed BBC Radio dramas based on John le Carre's bestselling novels, starring Simon Russell Beale as George Smiley. With a star cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron, Brian Cox, Ian MacDiarmid, Anna Chancellor, Hugh Bonneville and Lindsay Duncan, these enthralling dramatisations perfectly capture the atmosphere of le Carre's taut, thrilling spy novels. "Call for the Dead" is the first Smiley novel, which sees him looking into an apparent suicide only to uncover a murderous conspiracy; "A Murder of Quality" finds Smiley investigating a murder in a private school; "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" introduces Alec Leamas, a British intelligence officer whose East Berlin network is in tatters; "The Looking Glass War" features former spy Fred Leiser, lured back from retirement to investigate a claim that Soviet missiles are being installed close to the West German border; "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" is the first book in the Karla trilogy, and sees Smiley searching for a mole who has infiltrated the Circus; "The Honourable Schoolboy" sees Smiley determined to destroy his nemesis, Karla, and his spy networks; "Smiley's People" finds George Smiley called out of retirement to exorcise some Cold War ghosts from his clandestine past; "The Secret Pilgrim" sees Smiley invited to dine with the eager new recruits at the Circus. He offers them his thoughts on espionage and, in doing so, prompts a former colleague to re-examine his own eventful secret life. 'A radio triumph...Simon Russell Beale's pitch-perfect master spy' - "Financial Times". Duration: 19 hours.
John le Carré (Author) , Anna Chancellor (Read by), Eleanor Bron (Read by), Full Cast (Read by), Kenneth Cranham (Read by), Simon Russell Beale (Read by)
George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. This dramatisation, set in London in the late 1950s, finds Smiley engaged in the humdrum job of security vetting. But when a Foreign Office civil servant commits suicide after an apparently unproblematic interview, Smiley is baffled. Refusing to believe that Fennan shot himself soon after making a cup of cocoa and asking the exchange to telephone him in the morning, Smiley decides to investigate - only to uncover a murderous conspiracy with its roots in his own secret wartime past. Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Kenneth Cranham, Eleanor Bron and Anna Chancellor, this tense, thrilling dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré's masterful début novel.
2 CDs. 1 hr 30 mins.
Published: 4 Jun 2009
'With A Delicate Truth, le Carré has, in a sense, come home. And it's a splendid homecoming . . . Satisfying, subtle and compelling' The Times
A counter-terror operation, codenamed Wildlife, is being mounted in Britain's most precious colony, Gibraltar. Its purpose: to capture a high-value jihadist arms-buyer. Its authors: an ambitious Foreign Office Minister, and a private defence contractor who is also his close friend. So delicate is the operation that even the Minister's Private Secretary, Toby Bell, is not cleared for it.
Three years later, when the horrifying truth behind Operation Wildlife is uncovered, Toby will be forced to choose between his conscience and his duty to the Service. If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, how can he keep silent?
'A brilliant climax, with sinister deaths, casual torture, wrecked lives and shameful compromises' Observer
'This is writing of such quality that - as Robert Harris put it - it will be read in one hundred years' Daily Mail
'Perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the twentieth century in Britain' Ian McEwan
John le Carré (Author) , Full Cast (Read by), Michael Maloney (Read by), Bill Paterson (Read by), Julian Rhind-Tutt (Read by)
Julian Rhind-Tutt is Magnus Pym in this BBC Radio 4 full-cast adaptation of John le Carré’s superb spy novel
‘Love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.’
So says Magnus Pym, the spy of the title; and he has betrayed a lot in his life – countries, friends, family and lovers. When Magnus disappears after his father’s funeral, MI6 launches an urgent manhunt to prevent his defection. But Pym is on a search of his own – to unravel the mystery of what made him the perfect spy.
Was it the duplicity of his con artist father, Rick? Or his MI6 mentor and father figure Jack Brotherhood? Or was it Axel, the Czech agent he has known since his teens? All have marked him in crucial ways, and as the net closes around Magnus, he attempts finally to make sense of his life and find the source of his talent for deception...
A Perfect Spy is le Carré’s most autobiographical novel, and has been hailed as his masterpiece. This superlative radio production, starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Bill Paterson, Michael Maloney and Anton Lesser, is a compelling exploration of identity, treachery and the complexities of the human heart.
An English couple, Perry and Gail, are taking an off-peak holiday on the Caribbean island of Antigua. By seeming chance they bump into a Russian millionaire called Dima who owns a peninsula and a diamond-encrusted gold watch. He also has a tattoo on his right thumb, and wants a game of tennis.
What else he wants propels the young lovers on a tortuous journey through Paris to a safe house in the Swiss Alps, to the murkiest cloisters of the City of London and its unholy alliance with Britain's Intelligence Establishment.
At the start of it all, Jonathan Pine is merely the night manager at a luxury hotel. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities - about an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings - backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine.
In a chilling tale of corrupt intelligence agencies, billion-dollar price tags and the truth of the brutal arms trade, John le Carré creates a claustrophobic world in which no one can be trusted.
Published: 7 Jul 2016
Le Carré's post-Cold War masterpiece, filled with suspense, betrayal, desire and drama
The Cold War is over and retired secret servant Tim Cranmer has been put out to pasture, spending his days making wine on his Somerset estate. But then he discovers that his former double agent Larry - dreamer, dissolute, philanderer and disloyal friend - has vanished, along with Tim's mistress. As their trail takes him to the lawless wilds of Russia and the North Caucasus, he is forced to question everything he stood for.
Set in a fragmented, uncertain post-Soviet world, le Carré's brutal story of falsehoods and betrayal shows men playing dangerous games beyond their control.
West Germany, a simmering cauldron of radical protests, has produced a new danger to Britain: Karfeld, menacing leader of the opposition. At the same time Leo Harting, a Second Secretary in the British Embassy, has gone missing - along with more than forty Confidential embassy files. Alan Turner of the Foreign Office must travel to Bonn to recover them, facing riots, Nazi secrets and the delicate machinations of an unstable Europe in the throes of the Cold War.
As Turner gets closer to the truth of Harting's disappearance, he will discover that the face of International relations - and the attentions of the British Ministry itself - is uglier that he could possibly have imagined.
An anonymous letter had accused Foreign Office man Samuel Fennan of being a communist. George Smiley, assigned by the Secret Service to vet Fennan, had assured him he had nothing to fear. No one believed this nonsense. But clearly something had rattled Fennan, for a day after the interview he killed himself.
Smiley is told by his angry superiors to fix this mess. The last thing anyone wants right now is a scandal. It is immediately obvious to Smiley, however, that the suicide story doesn't make sense.
Piece by piece he uncovers a conspiracy - one originating in East Germany and led by a wartime ally of Smiley. To expose it, he must turn a former friend into a deadly enemy ...
'A work of rare brilliance' The Times
Charmer, fabulist and tailor to Panama's rich and powerful, Harry Pendel loves to tell stories. But when the British spy Andrew Osnard - a man of large appetites, for women, information and above all money - walks into his shop, Harry's fantastical inventions take on a life of their own. Soon he finds himself out of his depth in an international game he can never hope to win.
Le Carré's savage satire on the espionage trade is set in a corrupt universe without heroes or honour, where the innocent are collateral damage and treachery plays out as tragic farce.
'A tour de force in which almost every convention of the classic spy novel is violated' The New York Times Book Review
THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
'Out of the secret world I once knew, I have tried to make a theatre for the larger worlds we inhabit. First comes the imagining, then the search for reality. Then back to the imagining, and to the desk where I'm sitting now.'
From his years serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War, to a career as a writer that took him from war-torn Cambodia to Beirut on the cusp of the 1982 Israeli invasion, to Russia before and after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, John le Carré has always written from the heart of modern times. In this, his first memoir, le Carré is as funny as he is incisive - reading into the events he witnesses the same moral ambiguity with which he imbues his novels. Whether he's writing about the parrot at a Beirut hotel that could perfectly mimic machine gun fire, or visiting Rwanda's museums of the unburied dead in the aftermath of the genocide, or celebrating New Year's Eve with Yasser Arafat, or interviewing a German terrorist in her desert prison in the Negev, or watching Alec Guinness preparing for his role as George Smiley, or describing the female aid worker who inspired the main character in his The Constant Gardener, le Carré endows each happening with vividness and humour, now making us laugh out loud, now inviting us to think anew about events and people we believed we understood. Best of all, le Carré gives us a glimpse of a writer's journey over more than six decades, and his own hunt for the human spark that has given so much life and heart to his fictional characters.
'No other writer has charted - pitilessly for politicians but thrillingly for readers - the public and secret histories of his times' Guardian
'John le Carré is as recognizable a writer as Dickens or Austen' Financial Times
'When I was under house arrest I was helped by the books of John le Carré ... they were a journey into the wider world ... These were the journeys that made me feel that I was not really cut off from the rest of humankind' Aung San Suu Kyi
Barley Blair is not a Service man: he is a small-time publisher, a self-destructive soul whose only loves are whisky and jazz. But it was Barley who, one drunken night at a dacha in Peredelkino during the Moscow Book Fair, was befriended by a high-ranking Soviet scientist who could be the greatest asset to the West since perestroika began, and made a promise. Nearly a year later, his drunken promise returns to haunt him. A reluctant Barley is quickly trained by British Intelligence and sent to Moscow to liaise with a go-between, the beautiful Katya. Both are lonely and disillusioned. Each is increasingly certain that if the human race is to have any future, all must betray their countries ...
In his first post-glasnost spy novel, le Carré captures the effect of a slow and uncertain thaw on ordinary people and on the shadowy puppet-masters who command them.
The last of John le Carré's espionage novels to feature his most enduring and well-loved character, George Smiley, and a gripping feat of narrative brilliance, The Secret Pilgrim is published in Penguin Modern Classics with an afterword by the author.
The Cold War is over and Ned has been demoted to the training academy. He asks his old mentor, George Smiley, to address his passing-out class. There are no laundered reminiscences; Smiley speaks the truth - perhaps the last the students will ever hear. As they listen, Ned recalls his own painful triumphs and inglorious failures, in a career that took him from the Western Isles of Scotland to Hamburg and from Israel to Cambodia. He asks himself: Did it do any good? What did it do to me? And what will happen to us now? In this final Smiley novel, the great spy gives his own humane and unexpected answers.
If you enjoyed The Secret Pilgrim, you might like le Carré's The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'Consummate and enthralling'
'Vintage le Carré. Immensely clever, breathtaking. Really, not since The Spy Who Came in from the Cold has le Carré exercised his gift as a storyteller so powerfully and to such thrilling effect' John Banville, Guardian
Peter Guillam, staunch colleague and disciple of George Smiley of the British Secret Service, otherwise known as the Circus, has retired to his family farmstead on the south coast of Brittany when a letter from his old Service summons him to London. The reason? His Cold War past has come back to claim him. Intelligence operations that were once the toast of secret London are to be scrutinised by a generation with no memory of the Cold War. Somebody must be made to pay for innocent blood once spilt in the name of the greater good.
Interweaving past with present so that each may tell its own story, John le Carré has given us a novel of superb and enduring quality.
'Utterly engrossing and perfectly pitched. There is only one le Carré. Eloquent, subtle, sublimely paced' Daily Mail
'Splendid, fast-paced, riveting' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times
'Remarkable. Vintage John le Carré. It gives the reader, at long last, pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that have been missing for 54 years. Like wine, le Carré's writing has got richer with age. Don't wait for the paperback' The Times
'Perhaps the most significant novelist of the second half of the 20th century in Britain. He's in the first rank' Ian McEwan
'The literary event of the Autumn' Evening Standard
'One of those writers who will be read a century from now' Robert Harris
A murder mystery in the finest tradition of English detective novels, John le Carré's A Murder of Quality is an ingenious puzzle featuring his best-loved character George Smiley, published in Penguin Modern Classics.
Stella Rode has twice disturbed the ancient cloisters of Carne School: firstly by being the wrong sort, with her doilies and china ducks, and secondly by being murdered. George Smiley, who has his own connection with the school, is asked by an old Service friend to investigate. Smiley knows that Stella feared her husband would murder her, but as he probes further beneath Carne's respectable veneer, he uncovers far more than a simple crime of passion. In his second George Smiley novel, le Carré moves outside the world of espionage to reveal the secrets at the heart of another particularly English institution. The result is a pitch-perfect murder mystery, with Smiley as master detective.
If you enjoyed A Murder of Quality, you might like le Carré's Call for the Dead, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'Beautifully intelligent, satiric and witty'
A Cold War thriller from the master of spy fiction, John le Carré's The Looking Glass War is a gripping novel of double-crosses, audacious bluffs and the ever-present threat of nuclear war, published in Penguin Modern Classics.
When the Department - faded since the war and busy only with bureaucratic battles - hears rumour of a missile base near the West German border, it seems like the perfect opportunity to regain some political standing in the Intelligence market place. The Cold War is at its height and the Department is dying for a piece of the action.
Swiftly becoming carried away by fear and pride, the Department and her officers send deactivated agent Fred Leiser back into East Germany, armed only with some schoolboy training and his memories of the war. In the land of eloquent silence that is Communist East Germany, Leiser's fate becomes inseparable from the Department's.
If you enjoyed The Looking Glass War, you might like le Carré's The Secret Pilgrim, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.
'A devastating and tragic record of human, not glamour, spies'
New York Herald Tribune
'A book of rare and great power'