The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (George Smiley Series)

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (George Smiley Series)

by John le Carré
4.2 54

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: Smiley Series, Book 3 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Anonymous 12 months ago
It's as good as they say.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent novel, great story, incomparable style of John le Carre, joy to read. especially for someone who is at least a little bit interested in the post-war history of Europe. The only reason why I didn't give the book 5 stars is the abundance of cartoon stereotypes in descriptions of East Germans: a big dumb woman guard, sadistic officers, jew haters, etc. - all more suitable for a bad Hollywood movie than for a novel of a master, but the book is still one of the best in the genre.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This rates up there with 'the Quiet American' as the greatest spy literature. If your looking for an easy book-with easy solutions then don't read this book. However if you are someone who likes to look beneath the surface, if you want to look at some ugly truths of the network of spies--then definitly read this book. What might not be known to most readers, is that it is based on a much larger, much more destructive true story perpetrated by the CIA against Eastern European countries in the late 1940's-early 1950's called 'operation Splinter Factor' (there is a book by that title but I think its out of print, there is however a section on it in William Blum's excellent and heavily researched book 'Killing Hope:US Military and CIA Intervention Since World War 2').
Anonymous 2 days ago
Great story, well written.
Anonymous 20 days ago
Great read ! Excellent writing. Very descriptive of the past workings of the Communist system, and probably indicative of what it is today. Something to consider when some say today that the Russians are our friends.
Anonymous 4 months ago
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John Le Carre, was without a doubt the most frustrating book I have read for a class. Though it had interesting moments the book was overall all over the place and wasn’t to clear on its point being that a person would have to check Google to understand what is going on in the plot. I did think it was intricate at parts but being all around mysterious and questionable. The author has a tv show that is coming out in 2018, he has written other books in a George Smiley set which I recommend reading prior to reading this book. The whole premise of the book takes place during the cold war which was stated then put on the back burner and didn’t come back up. Nor did he write about Alec Leamas having his last mission in fact, he left many things unsaid which only added to the disappointment this book held through out and to the end. I did happen to enjoy some parts including when he gets into fights or when he “talks” with Mr. Ford.The subtle moments this book gave off that where just a little sentence gave a big back story and or detail. Not many authors can do that without being extremely long winded or hefty with pages. I do believe the book told a fairly good story and wasn’t difficult to understand but the introduction and removal of certain characters was sudden and not very well done. I’ve read a couple reviews of the book by people with the same views and it's a broken record. The book has good details but too far apart, good ideas with no back up and a good plot executed poorly. I would not recommend this book for those who are fast readers for it requires attention to detail.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Excellent read after all too many years; it still resonates.
Anonymous 7 months ago
A well-told story with characters I hope I never meet the likes of.
glauver More than 1 year ago
This is often hailed as the book that elevated the spy novel from the Ian Flemimg and John Buchan thriller molds to literature. I am not sure that is completely true. Len Deighton had written The Ipcress File a year earlier and his nameless spy was as cynical and world weary as Alec Leamas or George Smiley. John Le Carre' did add an extra layer of realism, erasing all pretenses of heroism or patriotism from his story, taking guns and Bond girls out of the equation, and making spying into something more than simple good and evil. Although the paperback copy claims this is a George Smiley novel, he only makes brief appearances here. His role is ambiguous; is he an ally of Leamas or a betrayer? It does help if you read the Smiley novel Call For The Dead. It contains the back story of The Spy Who Came in From The Cold. The explanation of the seamy side of espionage by Leamas at the end of Spy is the key that guides us through the Le Carre' books about Smiley and his nemesis Karla that followed in the 70s and many of his other works. Even though I have read this novel several times, the conclusion is truly haunting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the classic cold war thriller that appeared at the height of tensions between the west and the iron curtain. The writer was a young man when he penned the novel yet it contains a weariness that is beyond his years. His sagacity in describing this world of secrets and shadows attests to its authenticity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read for the spy enthusiast, written by the best author of the genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
lmcNYC More than 1 year ago
agent in disgrace, defection, traitor, deception, lies, danger.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lance_Charnes More than 1 year ago
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold is the book that made John Le Carré, and deservedly so: it’s a small gem of espionage writing, taut but also authentic. It well deserves Publishers Weekly’s judgment as “the best spy novel of all time” and Time magazine’s inclusion on its list of the best 100 books ever written. The plot, essentially a long con, has become a classic: Alec Leamas, the burnt-out shell of a protagonist, embarks on an undercover operation to discredit a high official in the East German intelligence service. The Circus – Leamas’ supervisors in a thinly-disguised MI-6 – twists the op into something Leamas can’t anticipate and that thrusts him into a much more complex situation than they’d ever discussed with him. The tradecraft and mechanics are as realistic as the censors would allow; at the time of this book’s release, David Cornwell was an MI-6 officer writing under an assumed name (Le Carré; he subsequently resigned from the service after this novel took off). The bleak portrait of a Berlin still scarred by war and newly traumatized by the Wall is atmospheric and spot-on. It’s impossible to see this world in sunlight, far less in color. Unlike the contemporaneous Bond and Matt Helm series, SWCIFTC is set in a universe in which everything is a shade of gray, the “good guys” and “bad guys” are nearly equally morally bankrupt, and “the game” has overtaken any ideals either side may ever have had. Leamas is as far from James Bond as you can imagine. Unlike Bond, this one feels real to its bones. I had reason to read this book again after a very, very long time. I was surprised at how short it is – just two hundred pages in a mass-market paperback – and how tight the writing is. I also realized that you have to be a certain age to fully understand Leamas and feel for his plight. I was quite young when I first read this, and sadly enough didn’t connect with its grim and weary world and the broken soul at its center. I’m now Leamas’ age, have had my own disappointments and heartaches (as well as my own glancing brush with the intelligence world), and I felt the man’s every ache and twinge of doubt. If you never read any other spy book, read The Spy Who Came In from the Cold. It’s everything Ludlum ever wanted to be and never was.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John le Carre great understanding of the world of counterintelligence has never been more thrilling then in the Spy Who Came In From the Cold.When you think that you have the plot figured out, you find out nothing is what it seems.Set once again in the height of the Cold War, John le Carre shows the emotional toll of the life of a spy, and the consequences and sacrifices of pursuing the common good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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PatrickKanouse More than 1 year ago
Taut, engaging thriller: Spoilers The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is the novel that propelled John le Carre into bestseller-dom. After reading the book, it's easy to see why.  Le Carre provides a tautly written thriller with excellent characterization. Alec Leamas, station chief for the UK Berlin intelligence office, appears in the novel awaiting the arrival of Karl Riemeck, an agent of Leamas's to arrive from East Berlin. Leamas has had a hard time recently. His agents have been picked off one-by-one, and Riemeck is his last. A car arrives carrying Riemeck's girlfriend, who knows the truth. Leamas realizes that Riemeck has been reckless, which is born out when Riemeck is shot dead before crossing the border. The rest of the novel is about Leamas and Circus's plan to exact vengeance on Hans-Dieter Mundt, the head of East German intelligence, who Leamas holds responsible for the death of his agents. The method to achieve this revenge is pretty straightforward: Leamas will act the part of a fired and disgraced intelligence officer descending into alcoholism, providing a target for turning against the UK. Leamas and Circus has set up a series of transactions to implicate Mundt and get the East Germans to take care of Mundt. As Leamas acts his part, he falls for a co-worker in a library, Liz Gold. In the end, Circus was actually protecting Mundt and bringing down Mundt's rivals in the East German service, for Mundt is the UK's man on the inside. Gold was brought over to help destroy Mundt's rival, but in hers and Leamas's attempted escape back to the West, both are killed. Leamas turned back for Gold and the circle of the novel is complete: Riemeck dies at the Berlin Wall for trusting his girlfriend. Leamas dies at the Wall for falling in love. Control throughout the novel remains mysterious, and his larger plan to protect Mundt is hidden from Leamas and the reader, revealing a cold-blooded calculation that Leamas admires even as he realizes his has been used. The novel is not filled with extraneous description, keeping close to Leamas's and Gold's points of view. As in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, I admire the way le Carre writes Control, an enigma even to his direct subordinates. The Circus seems enigmatic as well, a mystery to itself and its employees, which is probably the nature of spy agencies. Leamas, in contrast, is clear: He wants revenge on Mundt and is willing to go very far to do so. Gold is his weakness. Fatality, as it turns out. Le Carre is a master. Read the book.
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