Archer, who is the author of his own five-book series, The Clifton Chronicles, named his top ten romans-fleuves, including:
The Smiley trilogy by John le CarréRead about the other entries on the list.
In Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People, Le Carré achieves a perfect blend between the novel of manners and the sophisticated spy story. Future generations will be able to learn all they need to know about the attitudes and obsessions of a certain part of British society in the 1960s and 1970s from these novels. At the centre stands the unforgettable character of George Smiley – decent, intelligent, thoughtful, relentless, self-questioning – who uncovers a mole in the secret service, attempts to restore the service's prestige and takes on the great Soviet spymaster Karla. When it comes to spies, Le Carré has no equal.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is on John Mullan's list of ten of the best pairs of glasses in literature and among Robert Baer's five best books on being a spy and Stella Rimington's six favorite secret agent novels; Peter Millar includes it among John le Carré's best books.