Book Review: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John le Carré

A classic Cold War espionage thriller from John le Carré. Gripping and, though I could predict some of the twists and turns, I didn’t get all of them and found it an enjoyable read.


lunchtime desk reading

Alec Leamas is a British spy, but not one of those poncey, Etonion ones, he’s a bit of a rugged, no-nonsense blokey spy.  He doesn’t want to talk about his FEELINGS, ok? Now pass the whisky.

Leamas has a mission to act as a defector from the British and to set up someone high up in East German intelligence. Plotting, double agents, and peril ensues.

We can kindly say the book is ‘of its time’ in terms of gender stereotypes. The women are either simpering fools, or ugly, battle-axes. This isn’t to say all of le Carré’s early books offer no strong female characters. His second book, A Murder of Quality, is much better in this respect. Here we have a female main character. An independent women who has achieved well in her field. We’re reading this for some exciting adventures though, so we don’t need to worry too much about it here.

This is a great book (appearing in top 100 book lists) and a very thrilling, enjoyable adventure in cold war era Germany and the UK. I read it because I have a very slow mission to read all of le Carre’s books. This is book three, and helpfully facebook memories tells me that I finished book 1 (Call for the Dead) 4 years ago today! Oh dear. I must make it less than a year before I start the next!



2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – John le Carré

  1. Pingback: Books Bought and Read – April 2017 | Be Exactly Who You Want To Be

  2. Pingback: The Mid Year Freak Out! Tag | Be Exactly Who You Want To Be

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