The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

Ranked #2 in Spy, Ranked #2 in Espionagesee more rankings.

In this classic, John le Carre'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 Carre 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... more

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Ben Macintyre I think it sets the standard for all spy literature. It’s very hard to improve on The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It’s the classic le Carré recipe of compromised individuals trying to find their way through a labyrinth of deception and self-deception (Source)

Keith Jeffery This is at the far end of the spectrum from James Bond, but it also says a lot about the bureaucracy of the Service. (Source)

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