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The Ipcress File [Kindle Edition]

Len Deighton
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Len Deighton’s classic first novel, whose protagonist is a nameless spy – later christened Harry Palmer and made famous worldwide in the iconic 1960s film starring Michael Caine.

The Ipcress File was not only Len Deighton’s first novel, it was his first bestseller and the book that broke the mould of thriller writing.

For the working class narrator, an apparently straightforward mission to find a missing biochemist becomes a journey to the heart of a dark and deadly conspiracy.

The film of The Ipcress File gave Michael Caine one of his first and still most celebrated starring roles, while the novel itself has become a classic.



Product Description

Review

‘A spy story with a difference.’ Observer

‘A master of fictional espionage.’ Daily Mail

‘The poet of the spy story.’ Sunday Times

‘The Ipcress File helped change the shape of the espionage thriller…the prose is still as crisp and fresh as ever…there is an infectious energy about this book which makes it a joy to read, or re-read.’ Daily Telegraph

‘The self-conscious cool of Deighton’s writing has dated in the best way possible…a stone-cold cold war classic.’ Guardian

‘Deighton is so far in the front of other writers in the field that they are not even in sight’ Sunday Times

‘Nobody now seriously doubts that Deighton is the most credible of all the spysmiths’ The Scotsman

‘Regarded as the cold war spy thriller that made all subsequent examples of the genre possible…however much of a classic the film is, the book is a completely different proposition. It’s more intricate and far superior…a must for anyone who likes this kind of fiction.’ Loaded

Review

‘A spy story with a difference.’ Observer

‘A master of fictional espionage.’ Daily Mail

‘The poet of the spy story.’ Sunday Times

‘The Ipcress File helped change the shape of the espionage thriller…the prose is still as crisp and fresh as ever…there is an infectious energy about this book which makes it a joy to read, or re-read.’ Daily Telegraph

‘The self-conscious cool of Deighton’s writing has dated in the best way possible…a stone-cold cold war classic.’ Guardian

‘Deighton is so far in the front of other writers in the field that they are not even in sight’ Sunday Times

‘Nobody now seriously doubts that Deighton is the most credible of all the spysmiths’ The Scotsman

‘Regarded as the cold war spy thriller that made all subsequent examples of the genre possible…however much of a classic the film is, the book is a completely different proposition. It’s more intricate and far superior…a must for anyone who likes this kind of fiction.’ Loaded


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 637 KB
  • Print Length: 373 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0586026193
  • Publisher: Harper; Reissue edition (1 Oct. 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TU1Q6G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,949 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel 16 Mar. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is Len Deighton's (LD) first novel and the beginning of the book shows this, it is not as focussed as later novels and indeed this novel were to become. Characters are a little difficult to follow at first and I was beginning to worry!
So you might ask why 5 stars? Because LD get's it right by the middle of the novel and it truly is a great spy story, but very different to the film which I also enjoyed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but a little disappointing 18 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've not seen the film, but I know it's a classic. Therefore, I thought I'd have a read of this as it has some prominence. The first few chapters of the book were very promising and it had hope, but after that, I was dying to get to the end to finish it. I was expecting a fast paced spy thriller, but I was disappointed.

The style of writing took some getting used to. I often had to re-read paragraphs and some pages to follow the story - so, not the easiest book to read.

I've given this book 3 stars as the beginning and the end were up to what I expected, but the middle does lose it's way.
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4.0 out of 5 stars I spy 6 May 2014
By Jeremy Walton TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Published more than fifty years ago, this was Len Deighton's first novel, and the debut of his anonymous secret agent anti-hero (named Harry Palmer in the film adaptions, which starred Michael Caine). He stands in contrast to the more glamorous James Bond (whose first film, Dr. No, appeared in the same year as this book), in that he's working class, shops in supermarkets, wears glasses and is hindered by bureaucracy. He also has a sharp eye (e.g. "The barman - a tall ex-pug with a tan out of a bottle and a tie-knot the size of a large garden pea - was rubbing an old duster around spotless unused ashtrays and taking sly sips at a half-pint of Guinness." [p72]), and a memorable turn of phrase. Here, for example, is his way of describing his discovery of the true nature of the man in the next seat on a flight to Rome, after he's picked his pocket and leafed through his wallet, discovering some photos [p30]:

"[They were of] a dark-haired, round-faced character; deep sunk eyes with bags under horn-rimmed glasses, chin jutting and cleft. On the back of the photos was written '5ft 11in; muscular, inclined to overweight, No visible scar tissue; hair dark brown, eyes blue'. I looked at the familiar face again. I knew the eyes were blue, even though the photograph was in black and white. I'd seen the face before; most mornings I shaved it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The name's Osborne, John Osborne 18 Nov. 2013
By Paul T Horgan VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This novel was published 51 years ago. But it still seems fresh today and despite its subject matter it is not dated. The film version widely diverges from the written plot.

'The Ipcress File' was the début work by Deighton and appeared right in the middle of the burgeoning East-West confrontations of Berlin and Cuba. There were also ongoing spy scandals, the defection of Philby and the Portland Spy Ring kept espionage centre-stage.

It does appear to be the work of an Angry Young Man, trying to create a kitchen-sink antithesis to James Bond or Bulldog Drummond, someone for whom Queen and Country is not a near-spiritual experience but a day job with bureaucracy and salary arrears. So instead of the suave lantern-jawed, dinner-jacketed martini-swiller we have an antihero, a veteran of various dubious escapades who so distrusts his own service that he keeps a series of false identities in circulation. We never know his name and it is likely that he is employed in his main job using a false one.

There are several strands to the plot, but the main one revolves around the growing realisation that an increasing number of high-achievers are behaving oddly and could be endangering the security of the state. The plot weaves through pre-swinging 1960s London, The Lebanon, a Pacific Atoll used for weapons tests (a fictionalised version of Johnston Island?) and 'Communist Hungary'. The good guys win and the bad guys lose, but there is compromise and the world of espionage is depicted as not having very concrete values. There are shades of grey, but then in the 21st century we are accustomed to this to the point of cliché. Betrayal by the state against a protagonist is normal. In the early 1960s, the dying days of deference, this was not so clear.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Cold War thriller 15 Aug. 2014
By os TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
`The Iprcess File' is all a reader of spy novels might expect - an insubordinate, wise cracking hero with a chip on his shoulder, a plot so impenetrable that it defies putting into synopsis and an exotic but well drawn crew of characters whose motives and allegiances are not all they seem. Add of course the use of location -mixing far-flung atolls with grimy backstreet offices and night clubs, the sudden twists and turns in the narrative and some interesting diversions on atomic bomb testing, interrogation methods and a little bit of science ,the recipe is made perfect.

Deighton is a master of tightly written prose and even tighter tension creation. His plots do not depend on the crude use of violence, sexual explicitness or extra ordinary co-incidence. The book works because the main driver of the story sounds like the sort of Cold-War stunt that either the West or East could happily have tried to perpetrate on one another.

Recommended: an excellent, page turning read
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Much, much more than the film.
All good stuff, all believable and possible, technically excellent and well researched. Only the last chapter or so let's the book down. Read more
Published 2 days ago by K. W. F.
2.0 out of 5 stars Disapointing
After a decent beginning, I was unable to summon up the energy to read past the quarter mark. I'm afraid that in this instance, the Michael Caine film is much more enjoyable, which... Read more
Published 1 month ago by JaketheDax
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A well written thriller but not his best. I would rate Len Deighton's later books as five star.
Published 2 months ago by colin harris
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't put it down.
Another good read from the master! You can see Michael Caine on every page. Brilliant read and now I have it forever on my faithful kindle!!
Published 2 months ago by Dr. C. Evans.
3.0 out of 5 stars Characterisation was pretty good and the plot was interesting
Had to read for university. Characterisation was pretty good and the plot was interesting.
Published 3 months ago by Miss K M Helps
3.0 out of 5 stars Not sure Moneypenny had a tea trolley
Hmm, this jumps about a bit and leaves you having to play catch-up: Deighton himself said that he had expected too much from his readers with his first book. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Claptout
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good second hand copy.
Published 5 months ago by peter
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the film
I quite liked the film but there's just so much more to the story in the book that the film doesn't capture and doesn't do justice to.
Published 6 months ago by Larry
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
First Class
Published 7 months ago by Mr. Edward R. Addison
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another great story from the master of post war spy thrillers.
Published 7 months ago by Ian S. Wells
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