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The Looking Glass War

Narrated by: Michael Jayston
Series: Smiley, Book 4
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins
4 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Once, the distinctions were clear: the Circus handled all things political while the Department dealt with matters military. But over the years the power and influence had passed to the Circus. Now suddenly the department had a job on its hands. Uncertain evidence suggested Soviet missiles being put in place near the German border, while vital film had gone missing and a courier was dead. The Department had to find an old hand to prove its mettle. Fred Leiser, German-speaking Pole turned Englishman and a qualified radio-operator, must be called back to the colours and sent East…

©2010 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Steve Hocking
  • Steve Hocking
  • 03-01-2018

Great presentation

I enjoyed the presentation of the story, the narration was superb. The story I enjoyed less. It’s a tale from another era, it’s engaging but ultimately sad and depressing. It’s not one I would ever want to revisit. For die hard fans only.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 14-03-2013

The Looking Glass War

This is another brilliant novel by le Carre. It is beautifully written and narrated, to the extent that you almost feel that you are there. I really enjoy the sense of history, little comments like working out the conversion from yards to meters, that really draws you into the book. The plot, as always, is suspense filled and engaging and is revealed through the eyes of several different charters, with different priorities and view points about the unfolding events. Le Carre has the ability to make the reader care abut his characters, regardless if the reaction is positive or negative and writes in a way that most often inspires sympathy for opposing characters turning things that are seen as faults by one character into an understandable reaction due to background and situation by another. I usually prefer to read fantasy but picked up a Le Carre in my teens and the sheer quality of his writing keeps me unable to put his books down, despite this being and area I am usually uninterested in reading.

18 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • FD
  • 23-10-2017

Not one of Le Carré’s best

This is a rather protracted novel. What would have been an excellent short story has been over extended with the result that rather a lot of nothing happens for much of the book. The narrative arc shares some similarities with The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, but I found it far less compelling.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Timothy C
  • 27-06-2018

Better than the reading by Le Carre!

Seeing the mixed reviews I nearly didn't buy this, especially as I already had the earlier edited version (on cassette) narrated by the author himself - which is ok but not earth shattering... I'm so glad I took the plunge. Michael Jayston is a superb reader, with excellent voice characterisation. The writing is first rate, and although not a thrill fest, the detail in the story is totally believable. Best advice - don't visit East Germany wearing hair oil!

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • eatough1999
  • 22-11-2017

Dull

I usually enjoy le Carré, but try as I might my mind wanders off.. giving up on this one.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kim
  • Kim
  • 21-07-2015

Coming into form

Where does The Looking Glass War rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

about midway

Who was your favorite character and why?

Harry, he was the most realistic.

Have you listened to any of Michael Jayston’s other performances? How does this one compare?

yes, it's on a par, he is an excellent reader.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

Any additional comments?

This comment is spoiler, don't read if you have yet to enjoy the story!

I felt the story's premise was good, but the lead character had no good reason for killing the guard which led to his demise and the failure of the mission, which seemed to be a put up job by the Russians anyway, but this was never clarified, perhaps intentionally. However it seemed a bit contrived towards the end, still very good, but not up to the standard of drama later achieved in the likes of tinker tailor and smiley's people.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • R. Ellis
  • 22-04-2020

Excellent story very well read

I read this book many years ago. It was great listening to it on Audible. It is a thoroughly good story, very well read.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paul D
  • 05-02-2020

Classic

Great writing , great narration. Le Carre and Jayston - a perfect combination, each complimenting the work of the other.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • veritas
  • 25-11-2019

Never again !

Narration totally dreadful, couldn't listen to it, really disappointed as having listened to John Le Carre 's narration on other titles
I expected it to be as powerful - not so !

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim
  • Tim
  • 11-11-2019

Sorry not my favourite

I’ve read almost all of John Le Carres books and I’m sorry to say that I found this one OK but not up to usual standards.