George Smiley Books

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The “George Smiley” series by John le Carre is from the espionage genre. It stars George Smiley, who is a more realistic version compared to Ian Fleming‘s James Bond. Smiley was trained and underwent his probation in South America and Central Europe; he spent 1935 until about 1938 in Germany recruiting networks, while posing as a lecturer.

Order of George Smiley Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Call for the Dead (By: John Le Carre) 1961 Description / Buy
2 A Murder of Quality ( By: John Le Carre) 1962 Description / Buy
3 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (By: John Le Carre) 1963 Description / Buy
4 The Looking Glass War ( By: John Le Carre) 1965 Description / Buy
5 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (By: John Le Carre) 1974 Description / Buy
6 The Honourable Schoolboy (By: John Le Carre) 1977 Description / Buy
7 Smiley's People (By: John Le Carre) 1979 Description / Buy
8 The Secret Pilgrim ( By: John Le Carre) 1990 Description / Buy
9 A Legacy of Spies ( By: John Le Carre) 2017 Description / Buy
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Superior officers of Smiley during the war said that he had Satan’s cunning and a virgin’s conscience. Inspiration for George came from a tutor of le Carre’s when he was at Oxford, who wore thick glasses and was great at disappearing into a crowd. Smiley is not at all athletic, quiet, and mild mannered; he is also the master of quiet and disciplined intelligence work and he lives by his own wits.

The series began in the year 1961 with the release of “Call for the Dead”, this was also John le Carre’s debut novel. In some of the books that George Smiley appears in, he is only a minor character, but some he is the star (like the “Karla” trilogy). The series was written during a time when readers were more welcoming to realistic depictions of espionage in fiction to counter James Bond. At times, Smiley is considered the anti-Bond, because of all of the ways that the two are opposites.


Many adaptations have been made of the novels in this series; here is a list of just some of them. Denholm Elliott played the character in “A Murder of Quality” which was released in 1991. In 2011, Gary Oldman played Smiley in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and got his first Oscar nomination for the role. Alec Guiness played Smiley in a production “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” in 1979 and “Smiley’s People” in 1982.


For those readers looking to get into the “George Smiley” series by John le Carre, this section will help with that. It will go over the novels “Call for the Dead”, “A Murder of Quality”, and “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold”.

Call for the Dead: This is the first novel in the “George Smiley” series and was released in the year 1961. George Smiley liked Samuel Fennan, and Fennan died from what appeared to be a suicide. Why though? Fennan, who worked as in the Foreign Office, was being investigated for alleged activities linked to the Communist Party. Smiley made it clear that the whole investigation was just a little more than a security check (a routine one) and done with, making it able to close the case on Fennan.

The next day, Fennan’s body was found, and next to him, there was a note that said that he could not go on and his career was over. It is enough to puzzle Smiley.

A Murder of Quality: This is the second novel in the “George Smiley” series and was released in the year 1962. George Smiley was only doing Miss Ailsa Brimley (editor of a small newspaper and George’s old friend) a little favor. She had gotten a letter from a reader that was worried; the note said that she was not mad. She knows that her husband is trying to kill her. The letter came when it was too late, however, as the writer of the note was the wife of one of the assistant master at a distinguished school (Carne School) and was dead already.

George Smiley went off to Carne so that he could listen, ask some questions, and think about things. Also to uncover, the complicated network of hatreds and skeletons that made up the tiny English school.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: This is the third novel in the “George Smiley” series and was released in the year 1963. The Berlin Wall has just gone up, and Alec Leamas looks on as the last of his agents is shot and killed by East German sentries. For Leamas (who is the head of the Berlin station), the Cold War is finished. He faces a future that either involves retirement or a desk job (which would be worse), but Control offers him an interesting and original chance for revenge.

He is to pose as a dissolute and bitter former agent, and he is all set to trap Mundt (East German Intelligence Service’s deputy director) with Leamas as the bait. George Smiley is in the background this time around, and is ready to make sure the game plays out, just like Control wants it to.

What Is The Next Book in The George Smiley Series?

There doesn't seem to be an upcoming book in The George Smiley Series. The newest book is A Legacy of Spies and was released on September, 7th 2017.

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