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Publisher's Summary

Simon Russell Beale stars in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of John le Carré's novel, which introduced his most famous character, George Smiley.

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Brian Cox is great but...

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Disappointing

I really expected much more. This does not do justice to a great spy story.

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Best Cold War Spy Novel Ever!

I've watched it, I've read it and I've listened to it...several times each...and now this dramatization which I really enjoyed. I think I have it figured out too, lol. Excellent!

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Gripping and consistently surprising

Terrific performance by an ensemble cast, incredible and intriguing plot, and the perfect length for a quick road trip. Highly recommended.

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Great Story

I love this version of le Carre's book. The Spy Who Came In From The Cold is a great addition to the Smiley series. I love dramatized versions because it's like a play than a book. Similar to the HGTTG series. Great acting and a thrilling story.


AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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Entertaining and well-acted

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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.

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Superb in Every Way

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!

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Great Read, times gone by

Where does The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Dramatised) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best Audibles. Rapid moving, short story. Timeless story of political history, murder mystery. A wonderful intorduction to the Audible books.

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  • Mike
  • Lilburn, GA, USA
  • 04-30-12

Fun, short, exciting story with great narration

Where does The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Dramatised) rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Really good narration, made it a fun listen.

What did you like best about this story?

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.

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Wonderful dramatization

What did you love best about The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Dramatised)?

Excellent acting - intricate plot.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The surprising ending ( don't want to spoil it) . Also, the characters are engaging - you care what happens to them.

What does Simon Russell Beale bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Great voice - very human character yet supreme spy.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes but can't say for risk of revealing too much!

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  • Overall
  • Peter
  • 08-22-12

Brilliant but short.

This is a great listen. The actors are fantastic and the story gripping. My only wish is that it was longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Duncan
  • 02-03-10

Absolutely brilliant

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!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Fatmusketeer
  • 01-18-10

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony Sprague
  • 09-28-16

The Spy who came in from the cold.

A great story from a great author who has first hand experience of the trade.......... The first Smiley and the first of many great spy stories by this man.

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  • Ismail
  • 06-13-16

Best of the Le Carre dramatisations

A brilliantly dramatised version of the book. On par if not better than the film with Richard Burton.

The dramatisation is dark and claustrophobic with minimal background sound and only ever two people talking at any time which really makes you be in the room with the characters. The play immerses you into the atmosphere and you live each moment.

Brilliant and a sheer joy to experience!

Brian Cox as Alec Leamas is perfect for the role as big drinking, bitter spy on one last mission... Ruth Genmell as Liz Gold, naive and innocent... Another great performance. Simon Russel Beale is a scene stealer with his role as Smiley!

Well worth the listen over and over and over again!

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  • Andrew J Nolan
  • 02-11-16

Great story

This is another dramatisation from the BBC. The story is good and the cast really brought it to life.

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  • Lawrence
  • 04-07-13

Gripping masterpiece

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.

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  • Alison
  • 01-22-12

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.

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  • Mr
  • 09-26-11

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.

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  • Rupert
  • 08-26-11

Exquisite

Russell Beale and the rest of the cast transport one back to the civil service of the 60's with ease and atmosphere. Masterful.