The bespectacled spymaster is once more called from retirement to come to the aid of the 'Circus'--and he returns with a vengeance. The murder of an emigre Soviet General who was also a British agent, sends him digging into the past on a twisted trail across Europe that moves, inexorably, towards a final showdown with his old adversary, Karla of Moscow Centre.
Some say George Smiley is in innocent retirement. Others say he was sacked after the Czech scandal. But all agree that nobody ever leaves the 'Circus' without some unfinished business. Brought out of retirement to trace an enemy infiltrator in the department where he was once the prize employee, the shy and retiring master of espionage moves forwards to investigate and finds himself going backwards over very old ground ..