I read this book for the Mount TBR reading challenge 2014.
The Secret Pilgrim – John LeCarre, 1990
John Le Carre wrote two cycles of espionage novels starring spy catcher George Smiley. In one Smiley acts as a major character and in the other he plays a minor role or appears in a cameo role. This novel has a different structure from the others in the series in that it is a series of short stories held together by Smiley giving an off the record talk to young spies in training. That is, Smiley makes an overarching point and Ned, the narrator also of The Russia House, provides a cautionary tale that illustrates that point. In part three, for instance Smiley says that recognizing the truth is far more difficult than spotting a lie. Being suspicious people, likes cops and mothers, spies are really suspicious of seemingly innocent targets who have nothing to hide. Ned then tells a great story about a band of Latvian patriots who come to an unhappy end after an informant, whom nobody suspect, blows their plans to the Sovs. Each of these stories about Ned’s career completely involved me and held my attention from first to last.