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
Though I was afraid an espionage story of this type might difficult to focus on in audio form while doing daily tasks, The Spy Who Came In From The Cold was readily consumable. I had no trouble following the twists with full comprehension though I was wary of this series's reputation for complexity. It's easy to see why this is regarded as such a classic of the genre, and should be enjoyable to anyone fascinated by mystery of the sort that hinges on a mental game of small nuanced interactions and conversations.
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
I was born near Chicago, and moved to Texas 22 years ago. I taught high-school English for probably too many years. Love a good mystery.
The mood and tone reflects the deceptive lives of the spy world. It comes across as believable.
This story was long on detail and short on story-line...too many words for too little action and the voice was boring. I was disappointed.
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