TRL REVIEWS: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

 TITLE: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

AUTHOR: John le Carré

PUBLISHED: 1963

PUBLISHER: Penguin Books

Quote: “It is said that men condemned to death are subject to sudden moments of elation; as if, like moths in the fire, their destruction were coincidental with attainment.

Overview: It’s the height of the Cold War. Alec Leamas, British spy based in Berlin is in the twilight years of his career, which is still young for an active spy. But he has one last dangerous assignment. Pose as a disgraced drunken ex-agent defecting to the East Germans in a revenge plot against the man who killed one of his agents on the East side of the wall. What happens is far from the ordinary, and a mess of plots, counter-plots, twists and turns ensue, always reminding the reader that war is war no matter how it is fought. 

Analysis: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is one of my top spy novel reads to date. Murder, intrigue, deception, love - it’s got it all and presents it in (what seems to be, at least) a very realistic story. The characters are believable in their flaws and ambitions. This isn’t a grandiose spy novel with a Batman-esque hero that defies all odds. This is a story about a good spy doing what he has to do in war. And that’s also what the book reminds the reader. Cold War or not, it is a war and some die and some live and many times it’s not who you hope to die or live. I found the book incredibly intriguing and as such was a quick read since I needed to find out the conclusion to the twists and turns. I believe this book is on an all-time best 100 book list and I understand why. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in a spy novel that is incredibly difficult to put down (which should be everyone). 

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 Conclusion : Definitely read this book ASAP - it’s so good!

Rating : 5/5