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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: A George Smiley Novel Audio CD – Audiobook, 28 Aug 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 253 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Audiobook, 28 Aug 2014
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (28 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611763452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611763454
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.7 x 14.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (253 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,063,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"First-rate and tremendously exciting."--Daphne du Maurier

"Le Carre is one of the best novelists--of any kind--we have."--Vanity Fair

"Written . . . with a pitiless, elegant clarity, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" is a first-rate thriller and more."--Time

"The best spy story I have ever read."--Graham Greene

"First-rate and tremendously exciting."--Daphne du Maurier

"Le Carre is one of the best novelists--of any kind--we have."--"Vanity Fair"

"Written...with a pitiless, elegant clarity. "The Spy who Came in from the Cold" is a first-rate thriller and more."--"Time"




"What his most satisfying about John le Carre's first great success--first of many, as it turned out--is how well it holds up on this, its 50th anniversary."--Jonathan Yardley, "Washington Post"
"The best spy story I have ever read."--Graham Greene
"First-rate and tremendously exciting."--Daphne du Maurier
"Le Carre is one of the best novelists--of any kind--we have."--"Vanity Fair"
"Written...with a pitiless, elegant clarity. "The Spy who Came in from the Cold" is a first-rate thriller and more."--"Time"


"What his most satisfying about John le Carre s first great success first of many, as it turned out is how well it holds up on this, its 50th anniversary." Jonathan Yardley, "Washington Post"
The best spy story I have ever read. Graham Greene
First-rate and tremendously exciting. Daphne du Maurier
Le Carre is one of the best novelists of any kind we have. "Vanity Fair"
Written with a pitiless, elegant clarity. "The Spy who Came in from the Cold" is a first-rate thriller and more. "Time"
" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'A topical and terrible story ... he can communicate emotion, from sweating fear to despairing love, with terse and compassionate conviction. Above all, he can tell a tale. Formidable equipment for a rare and disturbing writer.' (The Sunday Times)

'Written ... with a pitiless, elegant clarity. The Spy who Came in from the Cold is a first-rate thriller and more.' (Time)

'Le Carré is one of the best novelists – of any kind – we have.' (Vanity Fair) --This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are two great British spy fiction novels I count as the best: Ian Fleming's From Russia with Love and Desmond Cory's Dead Man Falling. Each are classics in their own right, and one more I would add to the list is John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.

It's my favourite espionage thriller from John le Carre and also a fine example of how to pull off a multitude of double crosses, keeping the reader often quite perplexed. Unlike Fleming's novels there is no pretence of glamour, and like Cory, there is little righteousness in the spying game.

Le Carre writes very starkly at times in this novel, adding a certain harshness that mirrors the ethical ambiguity at the heart of the book.

This is a world away from the girls, gadgets, and gorgeous locations of Flemings books, yet it is better off for it. It is extremely well thought out and the story works well. I found it a very satisfying read.
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Format: Paperback
The Spy who Came in from the Cold is the story of Alec Leamas, a fictional British spy, set towards the end of his career. The setting is the early 1960s, largely in London, Berlin and East Germany (the GDR).

The writing is of high standard, almost Homeric in nature. It has a sparse, exact quality that seems far from the style of creative writing courses. The evocation of the 1960s Cold War world is well done. Le Carre's focus has always been on the human aspects of the spy game, so fans of James Bond and Jason Bourne may be disappointed. The emotions and travails that spies must suffer are represented here: the difficulties of forming and maintaining relationships and of having to live multiple realities are described in this work.

Those who like moral certainties and absolute good and bad guys in their spy stories may also be disappointed. This was the nature of the Cold War and thus of the spy games that NATO and the Warsaw Pact played. Elizabeth is something of an idealistic member of the Communist party in Britain, who then confronts the reality of Communism in East Germany, and then to great tragedy. The main protagonist, Leamas, will eventually realise the horrific, amoral nature of the game he is in.

This is not a book about heroic spies with a happy, world-saving end, but it is a brilliant read, and signalled the beginning of Le Carre's very successful career. I greatly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Some people may regard this book as a modern classic. It is certainly the book which brought John le Carre to the fore.

Before I continue, I'd like to give you a warning. Please skip the Introduction by William Blake, as it will completely wreck the pleasure that you should get from the story as it reveals all, including the ending. You can go back to read the Introduction.

I well remember the first time that I read this book. I was about fifteen and I was an officer cadet at a Naval school where we could assemble in the mess hall every Saturday evening to watch a big screen feature film. I saw The Spy who came in from the Cold with Richard Burton was on the "Coming Soon" list. I borrowed the book from the school library and read it before I watched the film. I enjoyed both immensely, despite the relatively small differences in the story lines.

Revisiting the book a few decades on has been equally enjoyable experience. As you would expect, my life since those days has given me a different viewpoint, particularly as I served on the IGB (Inner German Border) during my Army days, and spent a lot of time with members of families who had spent years of forced separation from their close relatives. It was so sad.

This book is about the duplicitous games that spies play and how these affect the lives of others. There are lots of descriptions of the plot amongst the hundreds of online reviews, so I am not going to repeat that for you. What I would like to say is that this is a fast-paced story of Cold War espionage which draws you in. Every word and action of every character has to be carefully considered by that person, as any slip could place them in serious danger. That makes the story exciting.

This is one of those books which you simply must place on your have-to-read-before-I-die bookshelf.
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Format: Paperback
"The Spy Who Came In From The Cold" is, without doubt, the classic Cold War thriller. It is the novel by which others of the genre have to be judged. Almost all will be found wanting.
For this work Le Carre's prose is lean with not a word wasted. Indeed, some readers may find the style too austere. However, to my mind, it captures the mood of the time. There is not an ounce of fat and every word counts.
The problem which the young reader may encounter (i.e. anybody born after, say, 1985) is that the story is set in a world far removed from today. The knowledge that Le Carre would have assumed even the casual reader had is now lacking. A little bit of background research may be required so that the concepts of "Democratic Germany" and "The Party" can be appreciated.
Nevertheless, this is an excellent introduction to both Le Carre and also the fascinating Cold War era.
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Format: Paperback
This book has a ring of authenticity about it. The seedier side of London and Berlin is beautifully described. There are no Bond-like gadgets, car chases or roof-top pursuits, yet I found this to be one of the best novels of the genre I have ever read; more gripping, and in some places faster-paced, than a lot of action-based thrillers. The plot is revealed rather like an onion - sections of skin peeled back to reveal another and yet another. The character of Alec Leamas remains elusive throughout and at the end I felt I still didn't know him; he is secretive, like the Service he works for. Despite this I never felt cheated or disappointed. This is a great read, indeed nothing less than a modern classic.
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