The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
John le Carre
I’d been meaning to read this novel for some time and finally got around to it. I’m glad I did. I was a little skeptical going in after reading The Honourable Schoolboy by le Carre (not his real name by the way) which I didn’t particularly enjoy. But this was a completely different experience.
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is about Alec Leamas, the lead agent for the East German operation for MI6 (the British equivalent of the CIA). After every agent Leamas has placed in East Germany is killed, Alec returns to England thinking he will be put on the shelf. However, he is offered a chance to lead an operation against Mundt, the East German agent who destroyed Leamas’ network. What follows is an intricately plotted mission to take down England’s most feared opponent in the intelligence world.
This is a very good entry in the spy genre, some have called it the best. John le Carre knows a little about what he’s written having served in the British secret service. The book is excellently paced coming in at just over 200 pages and keeps the reader on edge. I for one had no idea how things would turn out until the last page. There are times when the plot is a bit difficult to follow, le Carre is not one for holding the reader’s hand, but The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is definitely recommended, particularly if you have any interest in spy novels.