Spy chief George Smiley may intend to retire, but his active, intelligent mind is not so easily laid aside. So when British Secret Service asks him to go just one more round, his response is predictable—especially as it involves the brutal death of one of Smiley's loyal cohorts in the underground world of espionage. The man was killed just when he had information of utmost importance to pass on to his spy chief.
Smiley's opponent in this conclusive match is his mortal enemy inside the Soviet Union, the man whose code name is Karla. For several years they have battled at long range. Now they seize the chance to close. Paris, London, Germany, and Switzerland are the backgrounds for this suspenseful novel, in which le Carré gives us the last chapter, the final convulsive confrontation between George Smiley and Karla.