We bring you this Suspense Classics edition of The Spy —James Fenimore Cooper’s famous novel published in 1821. This was the first major fiction novel on espionage ever written and published in America. So popular was this book that Cooper published multiple editions with changes and footnotes as The Spy met with worldwide acclaim. It was also translated in multiple languages. The tale’s characters include George Washington (the first U.S. spymaster) as well as Major John Andre...
We bring you this Suspense Classics edition of The Spy —James Fenimore Cooper’s famous novel published in 1821. This was the first major fiction novel on espionage ever written and published in America. So popular was this book that Cooper published multiple editions with changes and footnotes as The Spy met with worldwide acclaim. It was also translated in multiple languages.
The tale’s characters include George Washington (the first U.S. spymaster) as well as Major John Andre (a British officer hanged as a spy after collaborating with the infamous Benedict Arnold).
This edition has been carefully edited to preserve the author’s original work. For reader convenience, changes in our edition include added chapter titles, introduction and footnotes placed in the back of the book, and source descriptions for Cooper’s added quotes at the start of each chapter. We have also enhanced the story with rich Colonial imagery. Included are historical paintings, maps and illustrations from the Revolutionary War era and from the 1800s.
Our Suspense Classics edition of The Spy transports the reader back to the time of this tale of life, death, and intrigue during the American War of Independence.
Born in 1789 in New Jersey, James Fenimore Cooper lived in a community founded by his U.S. Congressman father. His youth was one of privilege. Expelled from Yale, he joined the U.S. Navy. At age 21, he married was the daughter of a family loyal to the British during the Revolutionary War. He began his career as an author on a whim. “The Spy” was his second novel. First published in 1821, it launched his prolific career as a popular writer whose classic works included “The Last of the Mohicans.” Cooper had 7 children; his daughter Susan became a writer, as did a great-grandson Paul. He was active in the Episcopal Church. His death at age 61 in 1851 was mourned by fans of his work worldwide, including many notable writers of that time. He is remembered for being among the first American authors to include African Americans and Native Americans as lead characters in his books. Cooper’s novel “The Spy” is America’s first blockbuster fiction tale of this genre, with a plot involving real people such as George Washington — the nation’s first spymaster!
From The James Fenimore Cooper Society
Speaking in 1852 at a memorial to Cooper was William Cullen Bryant, poet and editor of the New York Evening Post. He noted the publication of The Spy “took the reading world by a kind of surprise; its merit was acknowledged by a rapid sale; the public read with eagerness and the critics wondered.” He continued, “It was perhaps favorable to the immediate success of The Spy, that Cooper had few American authors to divide with him the public attention. That crowd of clever men and women who now write for the magazines, who send out volumes of essays, sketches, and poems, and who supply the press with novels, biographies and historical works, were then, for the most part, either stammering their lessons in the schools, or yet unborn. Yet it is worthy of note, that just about the time that The Spy made its appearance, the dawn of what we now call our literature was just breaking.”
Poet Richard Henry Dana Sr. also recalled: “Many of us can remember how we were stirred on the first appearance of The Spy, and how we connected the man with his work — for then our writers were few, and what they wrote brought them with the interest and life of individuality before our minds.”