Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD by John le Carré Kirkus Star


by John le Carré

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1963
ISBN: 0802714544
Publisher: Coward-McCann

A modern variant of The Third Man is sponsored by that book's author (Graham Greene says, "The best spy story I have ever read") and it introduces on this side of the water pseudonymous Mr. Le Carré, who is a fine contrast to flamboyant Mr. Fleming and who proves here that one can be just as unnerving by being thoroughly undemonstrative. This, then, with an adamant realism, cases the check points to and past the Brandenburg Gate when Leamas, an English agent, is presumably shelved so that he may become a paid defector and thereby determine how Mundt, his corresponding opposite and the second man in the Abteilung, has managed to dispose of too many of his people. Still, the personal equation cannot be entirely reduced to numbers, or ciphers; there is Leamas' attraction to a woman - a Communist - and Fiedler, Mundt's acolyte who turns apostate, so that eventually all are the victims of a ruthless revanchist plot...A domesday book of the Cold War and the lonely anonymity of the double agent. It is all expertly chilling and exciting.