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For fans of espionage thrillers, few authors are as well-regarded as John le Carre. Le Carre is the author of more than two dozen novels, many of which have been adapted for film and television. With such a large body of work, readers may be wondering where to start. We’ve compiled a list of some of le Carre’s best books, perfect for anyone looking to get lost in a thrilling story.

9 Best John Le Carre Books

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

Arguably le Carre’s most famous novel, this story follows Alec Leamas, a British intelligence officer who is tasked with defecting to East Germany in order to sow disinformation.

The Night Manager

One of le Carre’s more recent works, this novel follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine as he infiltrates the inner circle of an international arms dealer.

Smiley’s People

This novel is a follow-up to le Carre’s earlier book, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. It once again features George Smiley, this time as he tries to track down a Russian agent who has gone rogue.

A Perfect Spy

This semi-autobiographical novel tells the story of Magnus Pym, a British diplomat who is revealed to be a Soviet spy. This is one of le Carre’s more personal works, and is considered to be one of his best.

The Constant Gardener

This novel follows Justin Quayle, a British diplomat in Kenya, as he investigates the murder of his wife. The story takes readers on a thrilling ride through the dark side of the pharmaceutical industry.

Our Kind of Traitor

This novel tells the story of Perry Makepiece, a university lecturer who becomes caught up in the world of international espionage when he befriends a Russian mobster. This is another of le Carre’s more recent works, and is perfect for anyone looking for a fast-paced read.

The Nightingale

This novel is a departure from le Carre’s usual fare, telling the story of two sisters in occupied France during World War II. It is a heart-wrenching tale of love and loss, and is one of le Carre’s most acclaimed works.

The Little Drummer Girl

This novel tells the story of Charlie, an actress who is recruited by Israeli intelligence to infiltrate a Palestinian terrorist cell. This is another of le Carre’s more well-known novels, and was adapted into a miniseries starring Diane Keaton in 1984.

A Most Wanted Man

This novel follows the story of a Chechen Muslim who arrives in Hamburg, Germany seeking asylum. He quickly becomes caught up in the world of international espionage, and is pursued by both German and American intelligence agencies. This is one of le Carre’s more recent works, and was adapted into a film starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2014.

These are just a few of the many excellent novels written by John le Carre. There are other great authors of espionage thrillers, Chris Cuomo’s book “The Chris Cuomo Prime Time” is a great example, but le Carre is certainly one of the best. If you’re looking for a thrilling read, look no further than any of the books on this list. You won’t be disappointed.

Scott Larson