It is 1962: the height of the Cold War and only months after the building of the Berlin Wall. Alec Leamas is a hard-working, hard-drinking British intelligence officer whose East Berlin network is in tatters. His agents are either on the run or dead, victims of the ruthlessly efficient East German counter-intelligence officer Hans-Dieter Mundt.
Leamas is recalled to London where, to his surprise, instead of being washed up and consigned to a desk he's offered a chance to have his revenge by becoming a pawn in a brilliantly-conceived plot to destroy Mundt. But in order to do so he has to stay out in the cold a little longer...
Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Brian Cox as Alec Leamas, this tense, compelling dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré's taut, intricate thriller.
©1962 David Cornwell; (P)2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD is such a great story that it's hard to make a bad version of it. This one is good, but it's just good. It's been a little while since I read the book, but it seems they throw more Smiley into the story just to have more of him. Yeah, I realize the point is to tell the whole Smiley saga, but he wasn't a huge part of this story until this telling. Mr. Russel Beale is fine as Smiley, but this story is about Alec Leamus, and Brian Cox is wonderful.
My biggest beef with this production is that it wasn't needed. The BBC did a great adaptation with Colin Blakely which was commercially available until recently. That version maintained the mystery within the story better and didn't need a summation at the end explaining exactly what happened in case we didn't get it. I know there's an opinion out there, usually among younger people, that if something is more than 10 years old it should be redone because we can do it better now. This just isn't the case- not for THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD, not for TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY, and from what I've heard so far, SMILEY'S PEOPLE. Newer isn't better. Just newer.
Will this version do in a pinch? Of course, it's a fine production. And more than likely you won't be able to find the older version anyway. Too bad.
As I've said, Brian Cox is wonderful in this. If nothing else listen for him.
I enjoyed this radio-play a lot, but my one complaint is a pretty major one; it does not feel worth the price at all. Despite being cheaper than most audiobooks, there is significantly less listening time here, and it's hard to justify when I'm used to getting long audiobooks for much cheaper. In case it isn't already clear, this isn't a reading of "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold" but a dramatization. It's been adapted for this radio play, and leaves a lot of the original story out. Nonetheless, it's as good as I could hope for in a dramatization, and if you don't mind spending 10$ on 3 hours of listening, then go for it.
I cannot praise this production enough. Originally I thought I had made a mistake by ordering a dramatisation instead of the whole novel, but within a half-hour I was enthralled by the extraordinary vocalisations, dramatic yet subtle radio-like sound-effects, and of course the complex realism of Le Carre's writing. Highly recommended if you do not want to read the entire novel. Listening to this abridgement, you may want to read the entire novel!
One of the best Audibles. Rapid moving, short story. Timeless story of political history, murder mystery. A wonderful intorduction to the Audible books.
Really good narration, made it a fun listen.
Story was exciting. Kind of hard to understand, so the audio made it a lot easier. My son had this book for a school project, listening to it made it much easier to understand.
Excellent acting - intricate plot.
The surprising ending ( don't want to spoil it) . Also, the characters are engaging - you care what happens to them.
Great voice - very human character yet supreme spy.
Yes but can't say for risk of revealing too much!
"Brilliant but short."
This is a great listen. The actors are fantastic and the story gripping. My only wish is that it was longer.
I bought this download last month; I've already listened to it 4 times.
I can't recommend it enough, so atmospheric! Just one small gripe, one of the characters sound a little like Herr Flick from 'Ello ello!
"Gripping Spy Story"
This is a superbly acted dramatisatrion of the John Le Carre novel which had me gripped all the way through. The cast is uniformly excellent, but a particular mention from Brian Cox who is the 'spy' in the title. A very fine performance.
This has to be one of the best spy thrillers i've ever enjoyed.
The story is an artfully crafted masterpiece, and the BBC's format of telling it doesn't skip a beat in building the tension.
You get a similar story format from many of Le Carre's novels, (like Bond: the enemy, the back-stabbers, the beautiful girl, the plot, the peril) - but each time there's a difference that makes each distinctive in its own way.)
The story for this is chilling and gripping from the start. It brings out the coldness of the cold war with style.
Not only one of my favourite audios, this is certainly my favourite of Le Carre's stories.
"Good, gripping and well-dramatised"
This dramatised version is spare - which suit this story just fine. I really enjoyed it, the accents are not distracting and the dark menace is very well conveyed.
"Well dramatised and entertaining"
Excellent baptism for me as my first tast of John Le Carre, very entertaining if you want a quick read. That said, I was worried that some of the detail may have been lost through the dramisation of this when compared to an unabridged version. Very good none the less.
Russell Beale and the rest of the cast transport one back to the civil service of the 60's with ease and atmosphere. Masterful.
"Brilliant 1960's spy thriller"
Great narration or rather play format takes a fantastic story and makes it compelling listening.
"Good twisting story"
Good narrators. Not too long. Sometimes a little too tricky to follow- would have been easier by book or film.
"All the spies you ever wanted."
The voice acting is perfect. Easy to listen t and totally captivating.
rather than to a book I would compare this version to a good radio dramatization. The ones that made radio what it used to be...a great drama platform.
Turn this book into a movie...speis and more spies in their golden era. It would be a great spy movie.
All the spies you ever wanted.
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