The classic Cold War novel.
Into a shadowy, violent and intricate world steeped in moral ambivalences steps George Smiley - tubby, perceptive and morally perplexed as ever - sometime acting Chief of the Circus, as the Secret Service is known.
A Russian émigré woman is accosted in Paris in broad daylight by a Soviet intelligence officer. A scared Estonian boy plays courier in Hamburg. In London at the dead of night, George Smiley is summoned from his lonely bed by news of the murder of an ex-agent. His brief is to bury the crime, not solve it. His dilemma is the number of ghosts from the past who clamour to him from the shadows.
Through scenes of mounting revelation, and a cast of superbly drawn characters, through Switzerland, Hamburg, Paris and the fens of Schleswig-Holstein, le Carré rallies us irresistibly to the chase, till we find ourselves at Smiley's very side on the Berlin border, where Smiley's people - the 'no-men of no-man's land' - conduct their grimy commerce.