The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

4.07 (67,382 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the master of spy thrillers, John le Carre's The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a gripping story of love and betrayal at the height of the Cold War. This Penguin Modern Classics edition includes an afterword by the author and an introduction by William Boyd, author of Any Human Heart.

Alec Leamas is tired. It's the 1960s, he's been out in the cold for years, spying in the shadow of the Berlin Wall for his British masters. He 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's 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.

'A portrait of a man who has lived by lies and subterfuge for so long, he's forgotten how to tell the truth'

'He can communicate emotion, from sweating fear to despairing love, with terse and compassionate conviction. Above all, he can tell a tale'
Sunday Times
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 17mm | 224g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0141194529
  • 9780141194523
  • 6,788

Review Text

Superbly constructed, with an atmosphere of chilly hell J.B. Priestley
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Review quote

One of those very rare novels that changes the way you look at the world. Unflinching, highly sophisticated, superb. * William Boyd * 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 * The master storyteller ... has lost none of his cunning -- A. N. Wilson The best spy story I have ever read -- Graham Greene Superbly constructed, with an atmosphere of chilly hell -- J.B. Priestley
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About John Le Carré

John le Carre (Author)
John le Carre was born in 1931 and attended the universities of Bern and Oxford. He taught at Eton before serving in British Intelligence during the Cold War. For more than fifty years he has lived by his pen. He divides his time between London and Cornwall.

William Boyd (Introducer)
William Boyd was born in 1952 in Accra, Ghana, and grew up there and in Nigeria. He is the author of fifteen highly acclaimed, bestselling novels and five collections of stories. He is married and divides his time between London and south-west France.
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Rating details

67,382 ratings
4.07 out of 5 stars
5 35% (23,808)
4 42% (28,216)
3 18% (12,310)
2 4% (2,421)
1 1% (627)

Our customer reviews

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
by JDP
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