Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent production, but still not quite as good as the book!, 26 Aug. 2009
This review is from: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (BBC Audio) (Audio CD)
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Attempting to re-create such a famous and iconic piece of British literetaure is always going to be difficult. Fortunately, this BBC production does it just about as well as can be hoped for.

For anyone not familiar, at least in passing, with "The spy who came in from the cold", it is an engrossing story of Cold War espionage, spies and double agents. The plot is centred on a British spy's (Leamas) last mission and is set in Berlin and London. The mission is to try and implicate a high-ranking German spy (Mundt) as a British double-agent, and therefore have him killed by his own people.

The plotting is intricate and edgy, seething with the paranoia and distrust so prevalent during this period of history. And yet, the story has aged very well and hardly appears dated at all. The story will not appeal to those seeking a thrill-a-minute, explosion and gadget-fest a la Tom Clancy, et al, but it is a superlative psychological thriller which raised the bar for the genre of spy novels, against which all others are still judged.

For me, it's just so much more real than the superficial James Bond idea of spy thrillers. There are no throwaway daliances with random women. The love interest in the book is an emotional one. It is visceral and highlights the conflict between duty to one's country and desire of one's own.

The book had a huge impact at the time of it's release, mainly due to Le Carre's portrayal of the espionage business in all it's dirty detail, and also for his refusal to portray the English as "good" and the Germans as "bad". Le Carre is impartial in his descriptions of both sides - a radical departure for the time away from the Nationalistic novels such as the James Bond series.

The BBC audio book manages to catch all of this in an enthralling production, with brilliant performaces from it's two leads (Simon Russell Beale & Brian Cox). This is an edge of the seat experience for the discerning listener.
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