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A Short History of George Smiley

Posted November 18, 2011 to photo album "A Short History of George Smiley"

Since he appeared in John le Carré’s 1961 novel, Call For The Dead, the unassuming intelligence operative George Smiley has become the most intellectually cunning and emotionally complex spy of modern times.

Smiley Lives
Call for The Dead (1961): Enter Smiley
A Murder Of Quality (1962): Smiley on his Own
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold (1963): Smiley’s World
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1974): Smiley’s Triumph
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977): Smiley in Asia
Smiley’s People (1982): Smiley’s Last Battle
The Secret Pilgrim (1990): Smiley Remembers
The Honourable Schoolboy (1977): Smiley in Asia

The Honourable Schoolboy (1977): Smiley in Asia

In 1977, le Carré published The Honourable Schoolboy, the second in his Karla trilogy. By the mid 70s, Smiley has not only returned to, but has become the Chief of the Circus. As the head of the outfit, Smiley launches a major espionage offensive that focuses on the drug trade in Laos, which Smiley believes has ties back to Karla. To run this mission, he has tapped Jerry Westerby, a trusted operative who shows up on Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as a minor, but dependable, Circus official. After a complicated operation that involves Karla, the Chinese, the North Vietnamese and the CIA, Smiley and Guillam get to the heart of the drug and spy operation. But they are not quick enough to avoid being outmaneuvered by party politics. In the end, Smiley again retires, and Guillam returns to running the Scalphunters. Despite the popularity of their version of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the BBC turned down adapting The Honourable Schoolboy into a mini-series because of the potential production cost of shooting in Southeast Asia.