The Looking Glass War

Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages

English language

Published March 21, 1992 by Ballantine Books.


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3 stars (3 reviews)

A satire about an incompetent military espionage organization trying to regain its former glory by attempting to verify a Communist defector's story of a Soviet missile buildup in East Germany. While still funded by Whitehall, the organization is losing ground against the Circus which is more professional and more organized, as well as more successful.

36 editions

Review of 'Looking Glass War' on Goodreads

2 stars

A department of British military intelligence has picked up a piece of information regarding secret Soviet missiles in East Germany. An operation is mounted to train a man and send him in to verify the information.

I'm slowly going back and reading Le Carré's earlier novels. I've now read all of his espionage novels. The only one I haven't yet read is his non-espionage The Naive and Sentimental Lover. With all of that as background, I'd say not to bother with this one unless you're a Le Carré completist. While the narrative shows the early promise of the brilliant stylist that is to come, the rest of the novel falls flat.

There is some discussion of the office politics that became the hallmark of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, but otherwise the characters are unremarkable. We care nothing for them, we just observe their failings from a distance. The …

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  • Espionage/Intrigue
  • Non-Classifiable
  • Fiction - Espionage / Thriller
  • Fiction