Books: New Act for the Circus Master

SMILEY'S PEOPLE by John le Carré; Knopf; 374pages; $10.95

This has been a vintage year for spies, real and imagined. In that second realm of entertainment, terrorists stalked the bestseller list, and every month new operatives peered from the dust jackets of international thrillers. Most of the books, of course, were time killers, for those who like it dead. But a few managed to cross the DMZ into the demanding arena of art.

There in a colorless London house lives George Smiley, Master Spy (ret.). Resolutely out of style, fat as the Michelin tire...

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