Later John le Carré novels — like The Constant Gardener, or A Most Wanted Man — have made for some terrific Hollywood films, but the author's best work (which also happens to be his earlier work) is better enjoyed in book form. For the new recruits among you (or for those of you want a do-over after A Most Wanted Man), here are six classic le Carré titles to get you started.
The bleak worldview of A Most Wanted Man (and pretty much every other le Carré novel) owes its origins to this 51-year-old Cold War classic. Here, Alex Leamas, a grizzled British agent operating in East Germany, signs on for one final mission, a dangerous, double-cross frame-up designed to force an ex-Nazi assassin to defect. After a career of trusting no one, Leamas is damaged beyond repair. (Case in point: A woman asks Leamas, post-sex, if he loves her, and he tells her he doesn't believe in fairy tales.) Still, in his cruel undercover world, there are plenty of new ways to be broken.