The Looking Glass War Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Looking Glass War

It is the early 1960s. British military intelligence sent Taylor over to Finland to pick up a roll of film that was shot over a suspicious area of East Germany, but he is hit by a car and killed. Another office man from the department, Avery, follows to pose as Taylor's half-brother and retrieve the body (as well as the film, if he can locate it). His trip arouses suspicion not only among the Finnish and East German authorities, but in "the Circus," as the primary British spy organization is known. Avery and his superiors are sure something big is happening in East Germany -- perhaps the placement of Soviet missiles -- and they train a man (Leiser, a Pole who did some espionage for Britain during the Second World War) to go in and investigate. The goal is to do this not only without the communists catching on, but also Smiley and the Circus, into whose territory they are probably intruding. Le Carre's fourth novel expertly depicts spy and espionage training, inter-agency rivalry, and how many things can very quickly go wrong.
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The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Looking Glass War

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   main char. spying/sabotage Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   commies! Search for technology?    -   special war tech.

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   spy Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   British


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   hostile, like Gomer Pyle on steroids

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references A lot of techno jargon?    -   Yes Kind of jargon?    -   military technology Unusual forms of death    -   run over    -   perforation--swords/knives Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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John Le Carre Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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