Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

Being a fan of all genres, it often takes me some time to get around to reading the classics that I should have read many years ago. This is definitely one of them.

When it was first released, 'Spy' was a roaring success and international best-seller, shrouded in mystery over speculation of the true identity of its author as many readers and critics believed it to be a piece of work from someone on the inside. Of course, when John le Carré's true identity was revealed, this turned out to be true - although he maintains that this was a piece of true fiction that passed the agency's screening process.

The book itself is well worth a read. It follow's Alec Leamas, a field operator from the Circus working out of Berlin, who has his final agent taken out from under his grasp by the famous Abteilung (East Germany's equivalent of the MI6). Leamas is returned to London and put on the shelf.

Under the pretext of a mission to take out his key adversary from the Abteilung, Mundt, Leamas forges a strong cover story and lures a key member of Mundt's team to recruit him in order to put the bigger plan into action. Leamas is picked up, transported to Europe and interrogated. All the while, he plays his part in the plan to have Mundt killed.

However, events take a turn for the worse which result in not only Leamas's life becoming endangered, but also the girl that he befriended as part of his cover. A gripping twist in the story sees a dark resolution and surprising end to the tale.

Le Carré is a master of the arts and truly is one of the great spy storytellers out there. Even today this performs admirably and reads like many of its contemporaries. Fans of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (the film adaptation of Le Carré's novel of the same name) will love this, as will all Bond fans. A hearty recommendation to read this book even if you are only a dabbler in the genre. This is a must read for all diehard spy fans!