Alison's Reviews > The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le Carré
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's review
Aug 26, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: alltime100novel
Recommended for: fans of the spy genre
Read in August, 2007

I had never read anything by John Le Carre, but knew that he was wildly popular. I can see why this book was an instant classic. It was short, perfectly edited, but manages to pack more plot into it's 212 pages than any other book I know.

The story is of Leamus, a spy for Britain, working in East Berlin during the Cold War. He wants to leave the trade, but is lured in for one final mission (aren't they all?) He is to pretend that he was let go by the British, and that he has spiraled into drunkeness and poverty (all a sham). After he manages to get purposefully thrown in jail, the other side picks him up to buy British secrets from him, in order to frame one of their superiors. Of course, nothing is as it seems, and there are crosses and double crosses. The ending is memorable and the last chapter of the book is probably one of the most memorable and dramatic of the genre, or of any genre, including a great final line.

I never considered myself a big fan of this genre--these books are usually hard to follow and are filled with politics that I usually don't understand. However, after falling in love with the Bourne movies, I decided to give it a try. This is not just a spy novel, it's a masterpiece of fiction.
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-2 of 2) </span> <span class="smallText">(2 new)</span>

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message 1: by Daniel (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Daniel Thanks, I had forgotten that I read that one.

He almost makes it back to England.


message 2: by Alison (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:29PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Alison Daniel, you are TOO funny. I see you are having fun on GoodReads.

You are so right...he almost makes it back. Hard to forget that ending.


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