Secret Pilgrim – John le Carré

Picked up from a bus shelter in Blackboys, East Sussex and returned earlier today.

I’ve tried to understand the film version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy but found it difficult to follow.

Even so I thought I’d give this a go, as there has to a good reason why these le Carré books are so popular.

In this one there’s a variety of short stories, loosely linked under guise of an informal dinner talk at a Spy Training School.

The “format” needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as the book covers 15 chapters, and I for one have never had a 15 course meal.

Even so it’s well worth reading, as we get to see inside the mind of the fictional “grand master” George Smiley and follow the exploits of Ned “in the field”.

The narrative takes us from London, to Scotland, Germany, Poland, Lebanon, and Asia with some parts being brief, and the fuller chapters being the most enjoyable.

The stories were utterly convincing, and I’d love to know if they are based on real “cases” or simply total fiction.

The characters are so believable that I found myself wondering if I could take away some of their best traits and use them in my own life.

Part 8 of the book may appeal to those who follow Jesus. I won’t spoil the story by telling you why, but read it and you’ll soon see what I mean.

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