A number-one New York Times best seller for 34 weeks and the book that launched John le Carré's career worldwide.
In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse - a desk job - Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service - with himself as the bait. In the background is George Smiley, ready to make the game play out just as Control wants.
Setting a standard that has never been surpassed, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a devastating tale of duplicity and espionage.
©1963; 1991 le Carre Productions; David Cornwell (P)2012 Penguin Audio
I really love the novels of John le Carre, especially the Karla series. This may be le Carre's best work - better even than the Karla novels. The vertiginous manipulations, the moral ambiguities, the uncomfortable compromises made by the protagonist Alec Leamas, make this a gripping story with existential reverberations, even 50 years after it was first published.
If the ending of "Smiley's People" is a victory with chilling implications for the human soul, then the ending of this novel is a crushing defeat with hopeful inspiration for the individual. Nothing is ever as it seems in le Carre's best work, and that is doubly true here.
One note: even though it's listed as part of the Smiley series, George Smiley is barely even a minor character in this book - more of a shadowy emanation, and one which hints at another side of his identity.
John Le Carre is my favourite author and I have read most of his books including this one and I enjoyed the audio version just as much as the written one.
The narrator was excellent and the story was engrossing right from the beginning.
Highly recommend it specially if you are a fan of Le Carre.
Books narrated by Will Payton
not really - I like to stretch out the good books so I enjoy it longer rather than finishing them in one sitting
I don’t want to read tragedies. I want happy endings.
But many readers are ok with bad things happening to good guys, and they call this a classic, so I’ll mention some good things about it below.
The plot is excellent. A guy goes deep undercover doing a variety of things. There are complicated twists and turns. They were good.
There’s a bleak and dull quality to Leamas, the main character. I did not enjoy watching him, but his character fit well in the story.
I love eccentric characters, and this story has one, Miss Crail, the head librarian. Leamas worked for her for a few weeks. She hated Leamas. When he put his coat on her coat hook, she stood there fuming, in a silent rage, for a long time. When asked what was wrong she said nothing. Then she spent the morning on the phone mumbling to someone, probably her mother. I love wacko characters like Miss Crail, but she was just a tiny part of the story. Still it might be worth reading just for her.
Great Britain vs. East German intelligence agencies. Leamas is an agent for Great Britain. He wants to eliminate an East German agent. The setting is 1961 with a couple scenes at the Berlin Wall.
Michael Jayston was good.
Genre: mystery suspense, espionage, tragic ending
The story is wonderful and the narrator did a great job. The foreign accents could have been distracting, but the reader did very well with them and made them an integral part of the story. This was a good use of a credit.
I generally do prefer audiobook versions to print versions nowadays, though it is a great experience to be able to have time to sit down and read a great novel.
Seems trite, but Casino Royale, the original Bond by Ian Fleming. This book is more grounded in realism and gritty, and loss of life, etc. However, the time period is very reminiscent in each.
The recollection of Limas about the recruitment of the German spy in Berlin's Presidium secretariat.
At the realistic-seeming finish, where no one swoops in and saves the world, ala James Bond, I started out with an initial disappointed feeling, and then realized that how I felt was exactly what the author wanted us to feel.
The plot was most enjoyable. I envisioned Richard Burton in each scene, since I had previously viewed the movie.
Perhaps "The Day of the Jackal." Both books were very thoughtful and precise in articulating the characters.
The opening scene with the spy crossing the check point.
I would state that LeCarre is a thinking person's author.
This was a great "cold war" period piece. There were a variety of great characters who were all interesting and complex. The plot was full of twists and turns and never predictable.
I loved Fiedler who was the intellectual East German counter intelligence man who was the counterpart of the English agent Leamas.
The book was very much dialog. I loved the hunting lodge conversations.
This book was made into a very good movie starring Richard Burton in 1965.
The book was written in 1963 but is just as relavant today as then. The reader will long for the era when communications took days instead of seconds.
The readers change of voice always left me knowing who was speaking. Michael Jayston has a great reading voice.
Yes, because you always suspected the whole story was a put up job, but just how much is not made known until the very end.
No - I am new to the audio book experience.
The ending absolutely stunned me. Spy is an excellent book and I hope my husband can listen to it alwo.
The plot kept me guessing. You really get to like the main character and there are twists that seem obvious but you can't quite figure out until the end. The story does end a bit abruptly with an epilogue - I feel like it needed a half a chapter just to tie things up a bit.
The performance is very good, changing voices even genders, makes it clear who is speaking, even during long conversations.
Not easy to turn off, but chapter's are sufficently long that you don't feel ashamed to stop for a period - almost like the end of an episode - not quite cliffhangers, but definately more questions to be answered.
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