The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

By (author) John Le Carré , Introduction by William Boyd , Afterword by John Le Carré


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Alex Leamas is tired. It's the 1960s, he's been out in the cold for years, spying in Berlin for his British masters, and has seen too many good agents murdered for their troubles. Now Control wants to bring him in at last - but only after one final assignment. He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas' mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done. In le Carre's breakthrough work of 1963, the spy story is reborn as a gritty and terrible tale of men who are caught up in politics beyond their imagining. This title is presented with a new introduction by William Boyd and an afterword by Le Carre himself.

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  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 22mm | 199.58g
  • 29 Jul 2010
  • Penguin Books Ltd
  • London
  • English
  • 0141194529
  • 9780141194523
  • 6,160

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Author Information

John le Carre was educated at the University of Berne (where he studied German literature for a year) and at Lincoln College, Oxford, where he graduated with a first-class honours degree in modern languages. From 1959 to 1964 he was a member of the British Foreign Service, serving first as Second Secretary in the British Embassy in Bonn and subsequently as Political Consul in Hamburg. He started writing novels in 1961, and since then has published twenty-one titles.

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Review quote

Superbly constructed, with an atmosphere of chilly hell -- J.B. Priestley The best spy story I have ever read -- Graham Greene The master storyteller ... has lost none of his cunning -- A. N. Wilson I have re-read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold over and over again since I first encountered it in my teens, just to remind myself how extraordinary a work of fiction can be. Malcolm Gladwell One of those very rare novels that changes the way you look at the world. Unflinching, highly sophisticated, superb. William Boyd

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Customer reviews

The best spy story I read until today

I concur with Graham Greene: This is the best spy story I ever read until today. The narrative is not easy or linear (remember, this is vintage Le Carré), but when the punch hits you it is in your stomach. A magnificent plot, a superb finale. Everything is grey. If you enjoyed it you can also try "A small town in Germany", less spy story, but also well more
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