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Download The Spy Who Came in from the Cold epub

by John Le Carre,Stephen Alcorn

Download The Spy Who Came in from the Cold epub
ISBN: 1906100012
ISBN13: 978-1906100018
Category: Mystery
Subcategory: Thrillers & Suspense
Author: John Le Carre,Stephen Alcorn
Language: English
Publisher: Oak Tree Press; Limited edition edition (June 1, 2008)
Pages: 58 pages
ePUB size: 1749 kb
FB2 size: 1350 kb
Rating: 4.5
Votes: 555
Other Formats: rtf mobi lrf azw

“The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” is a bitter and angry novel about Cold War spies that refuses adamantly to glorify or glamorize their activities and that digs beneath the patriotic ideologies in the name of which secret agents act to uncover the morally troubling effects their plots have on real people.

It begins with a scene of maximum tension at the Berlin Wall. Alec Leamas, a British agent responsible for a network of spies in East Germany who are being rounded up, is waiting in a checkpoint in West Berlin, hoping that the last of his agents will be able to escape. After that agent gets shot down before his eyes just before crossing the border, Leamas retreats to London in a fog of bitter disillusionment.

The rest of the novel narrates an increasingly complex plot hatched by the Circus, the British spy agency Leamas works for, to recover from the elimination of their spy network by getting back at the German spymaster responsible - Mundt.

The plot begins with Leamas acting the part of a disgruntled agent, shortchanged for his service to his country and vulnerable to defection. He is contacted by agents for East Germany and agrees to supply them with information, but not before he takes a job in a library where he meets and becomes lovers with Liz Gold, a character who will come to represent the innocent bystanders who get pulled into the world of morally questionable espionage with tragic results.

Almost everything that happens in this novel is morally questionable on both sides and that is what provides a good bit of the intellectual stimulation of the book. John Le Carre always keeps the big picture ideology within the frame of the story by having his characters invoke Communist ideology alongside ideas of Democracy. Without going too deeply into political science, politics is always a reasonable topic of conversation here whether it’s pillow talk between Alec and Liz or a discussion of their greater mission between Alec and his Communist counterparts.

But Le Carre’s focus is always on real people and he loves to explore the way that the idealism of the East and the West get twisted and distorted in their effects on both those spies who must compete aggressively for their “side” as well as the innocent people who are just doing their jobs. At one point Alec refers to this as “turning the plan into people,” in other words, to achieve some results in intelligence work, agents must be used and people will die and these deaths flatly contradict the western democracies’ ideological support for the freedom of the individual.

These moral concerns fit neatly into a novel which is full of betrayals and double-crossings. The way information is doled out as the plot unfolds changes the way you see the characters and what you make of their motives but it all circles back to the Berlin Wall and an ending which parallels the opening.

Leamas’s bitterness proves to be wholly justified, but his downfall is brought about by his inexplicable hunger for “operational life.” His embittered attitude is perhaps most directed at his own profession, one to which he is drawn like a magnet. Of spying he has this to say: “What do you think spies are: priests, saints and martyrs? They’re a squalid procession of vain fools, traitors too, yes; pansies, sadists and drunkards, people who play cowboys and Indians to brighten their rotten lives.” It’s a great diatribe which encapsulates the mood, the atmosphere, the tensions, and the overriding philosophy of this novel.

Coming in from the cold has many meanings here. Leamas comes in from the cold when his East German network gets wrapped up and he flies back to London, he comes in from the cold when he leaves the Circus to work at the library as a discarded alcoholic former spy, he comes in from the cold when he agrees to sell information to the East Germans, and finally he comes in from the cold when he ends up back at the Berlin Wall in the final scene. With shifty characters, a torturous plot, and a warm core of humane sympathy this novel is an entertaining and philosophical spy novel for the thinking reader.
Although I have read many of the spy stories written about the era of the Cold War, John le Carre was not among the well-known authors in my library. This book once again crossed my path, and this time I decided to purchase it. It is easy to see why it was acclaimed when it was published in 1963, and the taut storytelling makes one wish for more writers to emerge from the same mold.

Lovers of spy stories should be warned that this is not the fantastic world of James Bond nor the incredible action tale of a Jason Bourne. Mr. le Carre's novel is dark and moody, and takes the time to allow readers to thoroughly absorb each scene. Although it is not a 300 or 400 page book, it is not a book to be read quickly or skimmed. If you do, you will miss out on key elements of the story and the ending will have a different impact for you.

The last part of the book picks up the pace, and the twists and turns are unexpected, jarring, yet totally believable. The last chapter of the book is not your typical ending, yet it encapsulates the mood of the entire story. Not to be missed is the "Fifty Years Later" section, an introduction to the book written by the author for the 50th anniversary of the initial publication. It is amazing that the novel many folks feel is the ultimate spy story was viewed by Mr. le Carre as just the opposite. Sorry, no spoilers is an interesting addition to the book, and I encourage everyone to read that before beginning the book. Five stars.
The classic spy novel that allowed John le Carre to write full time for the rest of his life does not disappoint. From start to finish it engaged my attention. Having read in the blurbs where Malcolm Gladwell said he had read it every five years from the age of fifteen and that it was only at the third reading that he really understood it, I was keen to grasp the outcome fully and believe I did. The well communicated atmosphere of the Cold War and the time shortly after the Berlin Wall had segregated East and West Berlin acts as the darkly oppressive scene setting. Although, George Smiley, the main character of le Carre's several later novels is only briefly revealed, Alec Leamas fills this tome with his world-weariness and brief hope and joy in the face of a duplicitous secret service that hints of the sort of world we were and are now very much aware of living in where multitudes of shades of grey exist and expediency and deeper, darker motives drive governments and their ever more secret intelligence arms: with a hellish or purgatory-like atmosphere. People remark that le Carre will be widely read in future generations. I can well believe it. Superbly written and a great introduction to the le Carre world we are seeing more and more of in film and television including the recent gripping "The Night Manager"
I finally read this classic because it was on a list of 1001 books to read before you die. And I'm glad it did. The opposite of Bond: slower, darker, more realistic. Both types of books have their place but I hadn't been exposed to this type of spy novel before. Interesting material on John le Carre at the end too