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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Classic cold war thriller

The commies always sacrifice the individual for the good of the state. Is it really so different when the west sacrifices one for the good of the people? we're better than them, yes, but by how much?

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Great Read

Le Carre at his best. Classic Cold War thriller. The reading by Michael Jayston was excellent.

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Terrific reader

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favorite?

The book itself is a classic so I have nothing useful to say about it--I enjoyed it and will lister to others in the series.

The reader was really excellent. I think this would be a very difficult book to read, but Michael Jayston managed to bring the story (even more) alive, distinguish between the characters with character-appropriate accent and intonation, and added greatly to my enjoyment of the book. I will look for others read by him!

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Kinda boring

Slow....and not much action... I won't get another John lecarre book... Silva is much better...

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Excellent read. Iconic spy novel.

Would you listen to The Spy Who Came in from the Cold again? Why?

Yes, I would come back to this one in a couple years and listen to it again.

What did you like best about this story?

LeCarre managed to give this a "true to life" feel. He avoids the James Bond Trap of over blowing everything while still retaining the right to use plot twists that spins so fast they could smack you in the back of the head.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No. This is an iconic spy novel and, if you haven't read it before, it is worth taking some time to enjoy. Don't rush through it.

Any additional comments?

I love spy novels. Fiction and Historical. This is not a James Bond or Jason Bourne; it is a much closer representation of the Cold War then that. It is not historical or anything but it is still within the realm of acceptable.

If you enjoy this style, I strongly recommend his books Tailor of Panama, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, as well as the non fiction Billion Dollar Spy and Double Cross (Ben Macintyre).

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The Tale of Our Time

A Thrilling and sad story of the amorality of the art of espionage. This book is thought provoking and as relevant today as the day it was written.

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I have no idea

how to review this book without spoiling it, and you really should experience Smiley novels for yourself. It's the closest thing to being a spy most of us will ever experience, unless we move to North Korea, where everyone is a spy.

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  • S.
  • 08-10-15

Thrilling

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.

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Awesome

What a spy novel! Great narration, you won't be disappointed. Can't wait to get more from John le Carré.

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Excellent narration!

Excellent narration! Not surprisingly, the book is MUCH better than the film by Richard Burton.