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The Spy Who Came In from the Cold

John le Carré's The Spy Who Came In from the Cold is hailed as "the best spy novel of all time" (x) Published in 1963, during the Cold War, it was revolutionary for portraying the espionage world as it did. Before le Carré's novel, many in the West had a romantic vision of spies, because of James Bond. John le Carré shocked his readers with the gritty realism of what the Soviets and the British actually did. The story of Alec Leamas epitomizes the Cold War ideal of "the ends justify the means." As he says in the famous scene when he is driving to the Wall at the end of the novel, "What do you think spies are: priests, saints, 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" Leamas discovers he is just a pawn in the game. His cynicism is overwhelming. The reader attempts to discover the truth in tandem with Leamas himself. We don't know any more than le Carré tells us - the intricacies of the novel are so remarkable that once the major plot twists have been revealed it still takes time for everything to fall into place. Manipulation runs throughout le Carré's book, but the reader never feels that himself or herself is being manipulated. Towards the end, Leamas begins to wonder if it is ever possible for the spy to "come in from the cold." Is there any way to truly escape the life of a spy? A gripping book, I highly recommend reading it if you have not had the chance yet. The Spy Who Came In from the Cold is a true classic. Rating: ★★★★★

The People of Forever Are Not Afraid

The Forever War