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The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre

The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre

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3.99

(1,096)
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Published by Simon and Schuster
In this classic, John le Carré's third novel and the first to earn him international acclaim, he created a world unlike any previously experienced in suspense fiction. With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carré brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment.

When the last agent under his command is killed and Alec Leamas is called back to London, he hopes to come in from the cold for good. His spymaster, Control, however, has other plans. Determined to bring down the head of East German Intelligence and topple his organization, Control once more sends Leamas into the fray -- this time to play the part of the dishonored spy and lure the enemy to his ultimate defeat. Read an excerpt.
In this classic, John le Carré's third novel and the first to earn him international acclaim, he created a world unlike any previously experienced in suspense fiction. With unsurpassed knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carré brings to light the shadowy dealings of international espionage in the tale of a British agent who longs to end his career but undertakes one final, bone-chilling assignment.

When the last agent under his command is killed and Alec Leamas is called back to London, he hopes to come in from the cold for good. His spymaster, Control, however, has other plans. Determined to bring down the head of East German Intelligence and topple his organization, Control once more sends Leamas into the fray -- this time to play the part of the dishonored spy and lure the enemy to his ultimate defeat. Read an excerpt.

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Publish date: Nov 27, 2001
Added to Scribd: Jun 21, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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06/30/2014

 
Chapter One: Checkpoint
 The American handed Leamas another cup of coffee and said, "Why don't yougo back and sleep? We can ring you if he shows up."Leamas said nothing, just stared through the window of the checkpoint, alongthe empty street."You can't wait for ever, sir. Maybe he'll come some other time. We can havethe polizei contact the Agency: you can be back here in twenty minutes.""No," said Leamas, "it's nearly dark now.""But you can't wait for ever; he's nine hours over schedule.""If you want to go, go. You've been very good," Leamas added. "I'll tell Kramer you've been damn' good.""But how long will you wait?""Until he comes." Leamas walked to the observation window and stoodbetween the two motionless policemen. Their binoculars were trained on theEastern checkpoint."He's waiting for the dark," Leamas muttered. "I know he is.""This morning you said he'd come across with the workmen."Leamas turned on him."Agents aren't aeroplanes. They don't have schedules. He's blown, he's onthe run, he's frightened. Mundt's after him, now, at this moment. He's only gotone chance. Let him choose his time."The younger man hesitated, wanting to go and not finding the moment.A bell rang inside the hut. They waited, suddenly alert. A policeman said inGerman, "Black Opel Rekord, Federal registration.""He can't see that far in the dusk, he's guessing," the American whispered andthen he added: "How did Mundt know?"
 
"Shut up," said Leamas from the window. One of the policemen left the hutand walked to the sandbag emplacement two feet short of the whitedemarcation which lay across the road like the base line of a tennis court. Theother waited until his companion was crouched behind the telescope in theemplacement, then put down his binoculars, took his black helmet from thepeg by the door, and carefully adjusted it on his head. Somewhere high abovethe checkpoint the arclights sprang to life, casting theatrical beams on to theroad in front of them.The policeman began his commentary. Leamas knew it by heart."Car halts at the first control. Only one occupant, a woman. Escorted to theVopo hut for document check." They waited in silence."What's he saying?" said the American. Leamas didn't reply. Picking up aspare pair of binoculars, he gazed fixedly towards the East German controls."Document check completed. Admitted to the second control.""Mr. Leamas, is this your man?" the American persisted. "I ought to ring theAgency.""Wait.""Where's the car now? What's it doing?""Currency check, Customs," Leamas snapped.Leamas watched the car. There were two Vopos at the driver's door, onedoing the talking, the other standing off, waiting. A third was sauntering roundthe car. He stopped at the boot, then walked back to the driver. He wanted thekey. He opened the boot, looked inside, closed it, returned the key and walkedthirty yards up the road to where, midway between the two opposingcheckpoints, a solitary East German sentry was standing, a squat silhouette inboots and baggy trousers. The two stood together talking, self-conscious inthe glare of the arclight.With a perfunctory gesture they waved the car on. It reached the two sentriesin the middle of the road and stopped again. They walked round the car, stoodoff and talked again; finally, almost unwillingly, they let it continue across theline to the Western sector.

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annmariestover reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I got this from a book sale over a year ago. It met the "slender" requirement, which was the primary reason I selected this title despite it's duller than dull cover. I've never been gladder that aesthetics didn't stop me, because this book was EXCELLENT. After a certain point, it's physically impossible to stop reading. I spent eight hours of a Saturday on the couch trying to cram all the excitement in as fast as I possibly could. It was deceptively jam-packed (and not all that slender, as the print was painfully small and compact).
auntieknickers reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I missed this book when it first came out, although its title has almost become a cliché. I could hardly put it down once I began reading it. Le Carré is so well known now, that it is hard perhaps to imagine the impact this slim volume had when it was first published. Of the Edgar Best Novel winners I've read so far, I think it was the most deserving of the award -- literary without being pretentious and the sort of book that makes one's heart beat faster and continue reading to the inexorable conclusion. Very highly recommended to anyone who has not read it already, maybe time for a re-read for those who caught it years ago.
knowledgelost reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Espionage at it’s best. This is a well written book of intelligence gathering, double crossing, sex and everything else you want in a cold war spy novel.
5hrdrive reviewed this
Rated 5/5
Depressing but brilliant. Sums up the entire Cold War, essentially.
delphimo_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I expected more from this book, and was very disappointed. For a spy thriller, the action is very slim. The main character, George Smiley, is a pudgy, nerdish man. The book centers on Smiley's thought processes. And George is tenacious as a dog with a bone when he senses foul play. The case involves the suicide of another agent who George had just interviewed. George goes to see the widow and quickly senses that she is lying to him. In the course of events, George is nearly beaten to death, and receives a cryptic postcard from his ex-wife. Le Carre develops his characters, but the action is lame.
bakabaka84 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I have always liked political intrigue and Machiavellian style plots but for some reason never read many spy novel other than the odd James Bond, which is rather more like a male fantasy than a real spy novel. So in steps The Spy Who Came In From The Cold which most consider to be one of the best spy novels ever written and while I don't really have anything that I have read to compare it to I will say that it was damn good. I think the part I liked the best was that there was no black and white just varying shades of gray. The book masterfully shows both the British and East German agencies having similar practices and (SPOILER) by the end one question who has the moral high grounds (End SPOILER)One of the problems about reviewing mystery's and thrillers is that one doesn't want to give too much away so as to spoil the book for future readers. There is a reason this book constantly appears on top reading list as even though the Cold War is over many of the nuances of the book are still relevant today. I can also see why the book was thought of revolutionary in its day as its striped away the glamor of the spy showing it for what it was dirty, dangerous, and filled with gray. (Minor Spoiler) The feeling you take away from the book is that Intelligence does things that might be abhorrent to the average person so that said person sleeps soundly at night while not fully making judgments about the characters' actions leaving it up to the reader to decide whether in the end it is worth the cost (end spoiler)If you only ever are to read one spy novel, you should make The Spy Who Came In From The Cold the one to read
marsap_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
A 1960s Cold War spy novel John le Carré, this book introduces us to Alec Leamas, a British spy who is sent to East Germany supposedly to defect, but in fact is there to spread disinformation about his nemesis Mundt. In the end however he learns that we are all just part of the game. This is not really my type of "mystery"--it is much more a thriller--though I found it slow going. I would give it a 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.
kkisser_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This is the book that made Le Carre's career and it's clear to see why he is held as a master story teller. What often gets overlooked in al the accolades about the craft of his spy thriller story telling is that his prose is gorgeous -- crystal clear, precise yet evocative. Take note, all you aspiring writers out there: this is what your prose should aspire towards.
smiler69 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
I'm not sure how much I can reveal about the plot without spoiling it completely, so I'll play it safe. This is a pure spy mystery involving agent Leamas, fired by the Secret Service for failing to protect his agents properly and given only a minimal pension. He quickly falls into hard drinking and major debt, then lands himself in jail. The day he comes out of jail, he's approached by a stranger and is eventually taken to East Germany to deliver intelligence gathered in the years working for the British service. There is eventually a trial held by the communists during which it comes to light that everyone might be guilty of double and triple-crossing, and seen through the prism of totalitarianism and paranoia, all we've been told till then might be a complete fiction. I was expecting to enjoy this novel more than I did, especially considering the fact that I enjoyed the first two George Smiley novels quite a lot, but maybe I'm not such a big fan of spy novels after all? At one point it all got too confusing and convoluted for me to care much, but looking at the overall construction, it's a very good book and I can objectively say I can see why this is such a popular story and might appeal to such a large audience.
benjclark reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I wondered if this would age well, and it seems to. The quality of the writing is still above par for espionage novels. The main female character is a bit of a B-movie ninnie, but it was still a fun read with plenty of cold war nostalgia.

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