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London Match

(Bernard Samson #3)

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  5,216 ratings  ·  126 reviews
With treason epidemic in London Central, a cloud of suspicion passes over each senior agent, and each falls helplessly into Moscow Centre's brilliant, complex trap. As LONDON MATCH rushes toward its amazing climax, the ultimate, decisive confrontation is about to take place--between Samson and the British KGB agent who, from the very beginning, has held Samson's entire lif ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 437 pages
Published December 12th 1986 by Ballantine Books (first published 1985)
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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
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Description: With treason epidemic in London Central, a cloud of suspicion passes over each senior agent, and each falls helplessly into Moscow Centre's brilliant, complex trap. As LONDON MATCH rushes toward its amazing climax, the ultimate, decisive confrontation is about to take place--between Samson and the British KGB agent who, from the very beginning, has held Samson's entire life in delicate balance.

Opening: 'Cheer up, Werner. It will soon be Christmas,' I said
I shook the bottle, dividing
Brad Lyerla
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read BERLIN GAME, MEXICO SET AND LONDON MATCH in order without a break. You will enjoy it immensely.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Based on the first three books in the Bernard Samson series, these books just get better and better

Berlin Game (1983) set the scene; Mexico Set (1984) takes the series to the next level; and London Match (1985) moves it up yet another notch.

London Match is another engrossing installment of the cat and mouse shenanigans which typify the best Cold War era spy novels. A winning mix of bureaucracy, domesticity, ambition, and deadly moves and counter moves. London Match is a taut and clever book. Eac
John Defrog
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The final book in the Game Set & Match trilogy, in which Bernard Samson helps capture a KGB courier using information from former KGB major Erich Stinnes – whom Samson convinced to defect in the previous book. But the courier’s confession implies that there is another KGB mole in London Central – which is bad news for Samson, whose loyalty has been questioned since his wife turned out to be a KGB mole herself. Now he must find out who the mole is – or if the courier is lying. Deighton delivers a ...more
Michael Martz
May 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Deighton's 3rd in the Game/Set/Match trilogy is a great example of the cat and mouse nature of really good spy novels in the cold war era. In this series wrap-up, Stinnes, the KGB big shooter enticed by Samson's British spy masters to defect, is sporadically providing intelligence to his interrogators. Samson's wife, who had defected in the other direction and is now running an important KGB desk, remains suspiciously quiet. And then, the debriefing of a low level Russian agent who'd been picked ...more
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love this series. I like the characters, the setting during the Cold War between London and Berlin is always exciting and believable.
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, spy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
DeAnna Knippling
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
More office politics that turn deadly. The petty nature of the situation just makes everything more ironic and darkly funny. I enjoyed it, although there were sections of dialog where the characters are debating back and forth that may have been skimmed...
Aaron Leyshon
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
The third book in the Game, Set, Match trilogy kept me poised on the edge of my bed with the paperback bent over my knee. It was fast, deceitful, and full of energy. There were a fair few typos, but nothing that gets in the way of the story, which is riveting right through.
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bought along with a number of others in the series in the cheap section of a local charity shop. I had read the original trilogy when it first came out and thought it ok but not special. It is certainly not in the same class as Le Carre.

I have problems with the KGB and MI5 allowing suspect agents or recently returned spies free reign and no oversight. I am sure there would be extensive periods of garden leave and debriefing and not going straight into the field. And would a British KGB agent be
Johnny Waco
The last volume of Deighton's "Game, Set, Match" trilogy falls short of the quality of the previous books, but not too far. Bernard Samson is still dealing with the emotional and professional fallout from his wife Fiona's defection to the Soviets, and with his growing suspicions about the KGB defector Erich Stinnes. The intermingling of national and romantic infidelity provides a thoughtful subtext here. Not a mile-a-minute thriller, but an emotionally resonant and compelling one, a fitting conc ...more
Alex Gherzo
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Len Deighton's Bernard Samson series is getting better with each installment. London Match, the third in the nine-book spy saga, feels like what I imagine Deighton intended it to feel like: the end of the beginning. There are a ton of unanswered questions, and the ones that are answered form new wrinkles. Meanwhile, the stakes intensify and the spy vs. spy war between London and Moscow gets more brutal than the simple game Samson believed they were all playing.

Acting on intel gleaned from the Er
Oct 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
3rd in the trilogy but not quite the best of the three. Several twists and turns I didn't work out in advance, which is the test of a mystery/thriller novel and I really enjoyed some of the passages which expose the buffoonery of civil service life. I think Leighton pulls his punches when dealing with Fiona - she's either entirely cold-hearted and scheming or she's not. Don't keep trying to give her a soft centre!
Robert A Chalmers
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one part of a trilogy. Berlin Game, Mexico Set, London Match. I've carried one of these on nearly every flight I've taken long haul. Excellent reads all three. Highly recommend them. The lead character stands out, and his relationship with his counterpart, a want-to-be-spy is carried right through the trilogy. You have to wait until the very end to see how it all works out sorry.
If you like Cold War British Spy Thrillers, you are going to have to love this set.
Sep 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
London Match is the concluding novel in the first of three trilogies featuring Bernard Samson. Samson suspects that there is a traitor within his department of MI6, due to the appearance of a memorandum which was leaked to the KGB.
Bookish Enchantment (Katherine Quirke)
Having read this many years ago - time to consider reading again.
May 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
More than a mere spy novel. Highly recommended for fans of the genre.
David Evans
Sep 02, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
The third and third best of this excellent trilogy but only because it doesn’t move with the relentless pace of the Game and Set books. I find it very reassuring that Len Deighton writes his Cold War thrillers so clearly that you know exactly what is going on and have as much knowledge as Bernard Sampson, the first person narrator who is admittedly confused for long periods. This contrasts favourably with Le Carre’s stories which seem determined to be cloaked in fog and innuendo and render me in ...more
Jack Hrkach
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Three for three - really enjoyed this trilogy, which is actually part of a larger series on the hero, dissipated British spy Bernard Samson. This last ends the struggle to deal with a Russian agent who is in vol 3 in British hands in London - but IS he there to the spill the beans or for other reasons??? Revealing too much plot in an espionage novel is never a good idea, but if you enjoy this sort of fiction, if you are interested in cold war relations between Britain and the USSR, if you like a ...more
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
Liked the review below, fitting my opinion best.

May 10, 2019 Michael Martz rated it it was amazing
Deighton's 3rd in the Game/Set/Match trilogy is a great example of the cat and mouse nature of really good spy novels in the cold war era.

Deighton's writing is fine- it seems a little dated (published in 1985) and the dialogue is a bit stilted at times, but otherwise it's a top flight story with an intricate plot. I've enjoyed getting to know Samson and the other characters- he's certainly no Jame
Gary Letham
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Book three and Erich Stinnes has now been "enrolled". The interrogation is going slowly. A leaod from Stinnes leads to the arrest of a West German civil servant and his handler. The interrogation of the handler suggests there may be a second mole back in London. Further leads from Stinnes are followed up and "blown" at the point of contact. Samson begins to suspect Bret may be the mole. The book becomes smoke and mirrors and double bluff. Is there a double or even treble agent playing MI6 like p ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Bernard Samson still complaining at the work he has to do for his bosses, all of whom he hates, although his love life has improved - with a woman half his age. As usual, the top men in MI6 are still stabbing each other in the back while wondering why the evil Commies manage to know everything that's going on at their head office. Ah, the price of freedom and democracy. At the end, it seems he and MI6 have been run ragged by the Soviet Union's latest top level defector but Bernard thinks it's ma ...more
Christina Rochester
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was a little hesitant about picking up another Len Deighton book. More than hesitant in fact. I was downright worried. I had been so looking forwards to reading The Ipcress File and was disappointed to find I hadn't enjoyed it, that I was worried London Match would go the same way.

Thankfully there was no need to be disappointed. As a later work of Len Deighton this was fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am definitely looking forwards to reading the rest of the series. Definitely a must re
Richard Schwindt
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Perfect end to the trilogy. Bernie is settling into the new normal, a new girlfriend and his strange combination of domesticity and danger. He is still under suspicion and coping with the devious Eric Stinnes and his venal father in law. These books are so well drawn that you are easily immersed in an alternate literary world and you want to stay. Again, this book ends with a bang (or series of them) and Bernie courts disaster. Well worth your time.
Keith Fenwick
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have recently re-discovered Len Deighton and I have become enthralled with his writing. I have been reading the entire Samson series and am thoroughly enjoying the series. If you check out my other reviews of the books in the series you'll see the same comments.

In all of my reading I most enjoy plots that are reasonably realistic and have good strong characters. Deighton supplies all of these.
Aloha G
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Excellent read. Wonderful tapestry of both characters and geography. Wordsmithing is Deighton’s strength and adds to a great plot. It has been long enough since the fall of the USSR and the Berlin Wall to become somewhat of a historical fiction book that sheds a spotlight on what things were like during the end of the Cold War. Highly entertaining from start to finish. Definitely recommend starting on book one.
Bob Bracken
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It keeps getting better.

I've read & re-read this book at least 3 times, with intervals of several years between each re-reading. In between i have read works by many more contemporary authors in this genre, some amusing entertaining & clever. Renewing my acquaintance with Deighton & Samson each time is like a return to the source. Like early Le Carre, a sense of originality, the classics of genuine spy fiction.
Almustafa Couch
This was a good conclusion to the first "Samson" trilogy, it did contain the custody (of the children) as a side issue, whether this was concluded or not is in open question. It followed the Mole hypothesis to a well-written action packed conclusion, Len Deighton is particularly good when it comes to writing action scenes. In places though it did require attention not to get lost in a diversion, the concluding chapters were good, action packed and are unputdownable.
Elizabeth Rebecca Shaw
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting spy book with some physical action but a lot more deduction by Bernard. In this one, Bernard gets taken in by a false Russian traitor although he is suspicious of the whole situation. His traitorous wife shows up at the end and asks him to kill her rival in the Russian system. It is a fairly good portrayal of what I think the secret agencies are actually involved in.
Jonathan Wilson
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great ending to an entertaining trilogy

This is a great story that keeps you guessing right up to the end. The world and characters created over 3 books are likeable and engaging but Deighton is playful enough to keep everyone at risk. I loved the references to old Berlin, told through Bern's eyes and can't wait to see where the story goes.
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Deighton was born in Marylebone, London, in 1929. His father was a chauffeur and mechanic, and his mother was a part-time cook. After leaving school, Deighton worked as a railway clerk before performing his National Service, which he spent as a photographer for the Royal Air Force's Special Investigation Branch. After discharge from the RAF, he studied at St Martin's School of Art in London in 194 ...more

Other books in the series

Bernard Samson (9 books)
  • Berlin Game (Bernard Samson, #1)
  • Mexico Set (Bernard Samson, #2)
  • Spy Hook (Bernard Samson, #4)
  • Spy Line (Bernard Samson, #5)
  • Spy Sinker (Bernard Samson, #6)
  • Faith (Bernard Samson, #7)
  • Hope (Bernard Samson, #8)
  • Charity (Bernard Samson, #9)

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