Saturday, January 22, 2011
"The Spy Who Came In From the Cold" by John LeCarre
Setting: England, Germany during Cold War
Awards: Edgar, Gold Dagger
List: 1,001 books
John Le Carre's web site
On the 1,001 books to read list. This book made LeCarre famous. A different type of spy novel than the James Bond thrillers. LeCarre’s novels were grim and realistic. A quick read. I would like to read more of his work.
Published in 1964, this spy novel is set London and Eastern Germany during the Cold War.
British agent, Alec Leamas has been a spy for a long time and is ready to come in. Before he does, he agrees to one last play - setting up the demise of a long-hated rival named Mundt. It is a chess game that tragically involves and innocent second in command Jew, Fiedler and a young girl whom Alec meets, Liz Gold. All this is set up by “Control” and it is not until the end that Leamas realizes that he’s the one who has been played. Instead of setting Mundt up as a double agent, to be killed by the Germans, he actually is a double agent that Control needs to protect. Therefore Fiedler is set up to be the double agent and is killed. Alec and Liz are escaping Germany by climbing the wall. Alec gets over and grabs for Liz. She is shot. Alec can jump to the West and safety but chooses to jump to the East and is shot.