Percy Alleline

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Sir Percy Alleline is a fictional character in British novelist John le Carré's work. He is the Chief of the "Circus", Le Carré's fictionalised version of MI6/SIS, in the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Alleline comes from a religious Scottish background and is portrayed as a man of limited potential who rises beyond his level of competence thanks to assiduous political networking.

He is recruited by British intelligence shortly after World War II thanks to the "furious" lobbying of Maston, a mediocre Circus hack (presumably the same figure appearing in Le Carre's debut novel, "Call For The Dead"). Shortly thereafter, Maston falls from favor, and Alleline is promptly sent to a backwater assignment in Latin America. Alleline performs unexpectedly well and is reassigned to India, where he also leaves a good impression. He is then dispatched to Egypt with the difficult task of following in the footsteps of Bill Haydon, a Circus legend in the Middle East, and nearly succeeds in equaling his illustrious predecessor. However, the decidedly pro-American Alleline involves himself in a U.S.-backed coup that runs contrary to the interests of British oil companies. The coup aborts and Alleline, exposed, is recalled to London in disgrace.

Thanks to his political connections, Alleline escapes relegation to a low-level job and coaxes Control, the anonymous head of MI6, into promoting him to a senior post. Control, refusing to admit Alleline to any...
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