I've been meaning to read John LeCarre for decades, at least. I've heard a lot of really good things about several of the George Smiley books, including The Spy Who Came In From the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. One of the issues with my pathological completism is that I am compelled to begin series at the beginning, and often times the better books are further down the reading order.
I think that is likely the case here. This is not just LeCarre's first George Smiley novel, it's also his debut novel, which shows in the occasionally tepid plot. It's one of those books about which I can say that I *liked* it all right, but I didn't love it, and I can see that I might enjoy his later books more, once he hits his stride.
This was a solid three stars, and I enjoyed the introduction to the British Intelligence service as conceived by John LeCarre. Everything I've heard suggests that I should skip the second book in the Smiley series, A Murder of Quality, and go directly to The Spy Who Came In From the Cold.
I'm not sure if I will continue with these until after the Summer of Spies overview concludes. I have a bunch of books on the list, and I'm already going to continue with Deighton's Bernard Samson series. I can't keep getting sidetracked, or I'll never get anywhere!