John le Carré

John le Carré, born David John Moore Cornwell, was a British author best known for his espionage novels, including 'The Spy Who Came in from the Cold' and 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy'. His works often explore the moral ambiguities of espionage and the complexities of human nature.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

    This novel is a fascinating tale of espionage during the Cold War, centered around a British intelligence officer who is seemingly ready to end his spy career. However, he is given one last mission before his retirement: to bring down the head of East German Intelligence. As he navigates the dangerous world of spies and double agents, he is forced to confront his own past and the sacrifices he has made for his country. The story is a complex exploration of morality, loyalty, and the personal cost of political conflict.

    The 152nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

    In this espionage thriller, a semi-retired British intelligence officer is tasked with uncovering a Soviet mole within the highest ranks of the British Secret Service. As he delves deeper into the investigation, he uncovers a web of betrayal and deceit that reaches far beyond the mole, threatening the very fabric of the British intelligence community. The novel is a masterful blend of suspense, intrigue, and complex characterization that explores themes of loyalty, identity, and the murky world of international espionage.

    The 500th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. A Perfect Spy

    This espionage novel follows the life of Magnus Pym, a high-ranking British intelligence officer who disappears after attending his father's funeral, causing a massive manhunt. As the intelligence service scrambles to find him, the narrative dives into Pym's past, revealing his complex relationship with his conman father and his recruitment into the world of espionage. The story is a complex exploration of betrayal, identity, and the blurry line between loyalty and deception.

    The 1288th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Smiley's People

    In this espionage thriller, a retired British intelligence officer, known for his bespectacled and unassuming demeanor, is called back into action when one of his former assets, a Soviet general, is found murdered. The investigation leads him across Europe, rekindling old rivalries and uncovering a complex web of betrayal and deception. As he delves deeper into the case, he must confront his own past and a formidable Soviet spymaster, ultimately leading to a high-stakes game of intelligence and counterintelligence, where the stakes are not just personal, but have far-reaching implications for the security of the West.

    The 2068th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Constant Gardener

    "The Constant Gardener" is a gripping tale of corporate corruption and its impact on the world's most vulnerable people. The story follows a British diplomat who embarks on a dangerous journey to find the truth behind his wife's murder. As he uncovers layers of deceit, he discovers that she was close to exposing a conspiracy involving a pharmaceutical company testing a dangerous drug on unsuspecting African villages. The novel explores themes of love, loss, and the lengths one man will go to seek justice.

    The 4382nd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Little Drummer Girl

    The novel revolves around a young English actress who is recruited by Israeli intelligence to infiltrate a Palestinian terrorist organization. As she becomes more deeply involved in her role, she is torn between her sympathies for the Palestinians' cause and her loyalty to the Israelis who have manipulated her into the dangerous assignment. The story explores themes of identity, loyalty, and the moral complexities of espionage, set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The protagonist's journey is fraught with emotional and ethical dilemmas, leading to a gripping narrative that blurs the lines between love, betrayal, and the harsh realities of international espionage.

    The 5331st Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Honourable Schoolboy

    In this gripping spy thriller, a British intelligence officer named Jerry Westerby is sent on a perilous mission to uncover a complex web of corruption and espionage in Southeast Asia. As he delves deeper into the dangerous world of international politics, Westerby must navigate treacherous alliances and betrayals, risking his life to uncover the truth. With intricate plotting and masterful characterization, this novel explores the moral ambiguity and high stakes of the espionage game.

    The 8192nd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Night Manager

    This novel tells the story of a former British soldier turned night auditor at a Swiss hotel, who is recruited by intelligence agents to infiltrate the inner circle of a notorious arms dealer. The protagonist must navigate a world of deception, danger, and moral ambiguity, all while wrestling with his own personal demons and complex feelings for the arms dealer's mistress. The narrative explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the blurry line between good and evil.

    The 10093rd Greatest Book of All Time