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The Spy Who Came In from the Cold [Paperback]

John le Carre
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
The American handed Leamas another cup of coffee and said, "Why don't you go back and sleep? Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! April 6 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I first read this book soon after it was published 50 years ago. I was nine years old. My mother had introduced me to Le Carre's world of intrigue. I've read everyone of his novels and am currently re-reading them from the first. Genious.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Getting into the world of Carre May 11 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Definetly enjoying a complicated novel with simple setting, and getting my feet wet with Carre.
This book will definetly carry me on to others of his, and I may not yet fully appreciate how good this book is yet
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5.0 out of 5 stars Probably one of the best spy novels April 6 2004
Format:Paperback
I didn't actually read the book, but I listened to an audio version. This is one of the best spy novels ever. It takes time to build, but the ending is shattering. As a reader, you find yourself playing out complicated fact scenarios from each character's point of view. From one point of view, the facts reveal one truth; from another the same facts reveal a completely different story. Which one is true? More importantly, which one will the characters believe? If what you like about spy novels is the tortured logic spies use ("If you know that I know that you know that I know...."), this is what you are looking for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE DEFINITE COLD WAR SPY STORY March 24 2008
By NeuroSplicer HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
JOHN LeCARRE is not just a spy-story narrator, he is a GREAT writer! His prose is tight, imaginative and beautiful. His imagery is majestic. And his grasp of human nature is truly impressive.

This book was his first; no matter, most of his writing skills shine to full strength. At the hight of the Cold War, Alec Leamas is a British agent on a seemingly uncontrolled downwards spiral. After loosing one of his sources (shot and killed while crossing the Berlin wall), he is recalled back to London and then he experiences betrayal by every side imaginable. He resorts to drinking, and depressive thoughts, and revisiting the mistakes of his life. But of course the Game is played constantly and one should not trust anyone. Ever. In a world where double-crossings are common and triple-crossings not uncommon, can anyone trust long enough to find love?

This book conveyed such an original atmosphere that many suspected JOHN LeCARRE being a former MI6 insider. Those suspicions were latter confirmed (his secret agent status was blown by none other than Kim Philby, the notorious double agent for the KGB). This is definitely THE BEST spy story ever written!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book Feb. 17 2004
By 2wsxWSX
Format:Paperback
Le Carre is the master. I know his new book is out, but this is still a classic.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Moderately entertaining spy novel Jan. 19 2004
Format:Paperback
I found this to be a slightly entertaining spy novel; I don't think it is anywhere close to justifying the superlative reviews that have been ladled on it, both on this website and by others. After reading Ian Fleming's Bond novels (and perhaps I was spoiled by Fleming) I was extremely hopeful for this book, ostensibly the "finest" spy novel ever written.
One of the more exciting aspects of the book is when the main character is spirited into East Germany, and meets increasingly interesting and intellectual interrogators. The exciting middle makes up, in part, for the slightly silly beginning and melodramatic conclusion.
The main romance was a bit difficult to believe, and the plot was somewhat formulaic, but I suppose it isn't too bad. Anyway, even if I'm the only person in the world who doesn't love it, and my review is entirely offbase, I figure that your slightly diminished expectations will be exceeded even farther by the book, and you will be more delighted because of my lukewarm review. If you do buy this book, I hope you enjoy it more than I did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Moderately entertaining spy novel Jan. 19 2004
Format:Paperback
I found this to be a slightly entertaining spy novel; I don't think it is anywhere close to justifying the superlative reviews that have been ladled on it, both on this website and by others. After reading Ian Fleming's Bond novels (and perhaps I was spoiled by Fleming) I was extremely hopeful for this book, ostensibly the "finest" spy novel ever written.
The main romance was a bit difficult to believe, and the plot was somewhat formulaic, but I suppose it isn't too bad. Anyway, even if I'm the only person in the world who doesn't love it, and my review is entirely offbase, I figure that your slightly diminished expectations will be exceeded even farther by the book, and you will be more delighted because of my lukewarm review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Spy Novel From A Master Craftsman! Nov. 26 2003
Format:Paperback
John Le Carre's disillusioned, cynical and spellbinding spy novels are so unique because they are based on a wide knowledge of international espionage. Le Carre, (pen name for David John Moore Cornwell), acquired this knowledge firsthand during his years as an operations agent for the British M15. Kim Philby, the infamous defector, actually gave Le Carre's name to the Russians. The author's professional experience and his tremendous talent as a master storyteller and superb writer make "The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" one of the most brilliant novels I have read about spying and the Cold War. Graham Greene certainly agreed with me, or I with him, when he remarked that it is the best spy story he had ever read. The novel won Le Carré the Somerset Maugham Award.
The novel's anti-hero, Alec Leamas, is the antithesis of the glamorous action-hero spy, James Bond. A successful espionage agent for the British during WWII, Leamus continued on with counter-intelligence operations after the war, finding it difficult to adjust to life in peacetime. He eventually became the head of Britain's Berlin Bureau at the height of the Cold War. Leamus, slowly going to seed, drinking too much, world weary, had been losing his German double agents, one by one, to East German Abteilung assassins. Finally, with the loss of his best spy, Karl Riemeck, Leamus has no agents left. His anguish at Riemeck's death is palpable. He has begun to tire of the whole spy game, as his boss at Cambridge Circus, (British Intelligence), seems to understand.
Leamus is called back to London, but instead of being eased out of operations, called "coming in from the Cold," or retiring completely, he is asked to accept one last, dangerous assignment.
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