The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

By John le Carré

  • Release Date: 2011-02-24
  • Genre: Crime & Thrillers
Score: 4.5
From 101 Ratings
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Alex Leamas is tired. It's the 1960s, he's been out in the cold for years, spying in Berlin for his British masters, and has seen too many good agents murdered for their troubles. Now Control wants to bring him in at last - but only after one final assignment.

He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas's mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done.

In le Carré's breakthrough work of 1963, the spy story is reborn as a gritty and terrible tale of men who are caught up in politics beyond their imagining.

With a new introduction by William Boyd and an afterword by Le Carré himself.


  • Timeless.

    By eoseer
    One of, if not the, best modern novel ever written. This is my third reading in 20 years. It just gets better.
  • Pretty much unbeatable

    By wizPeters
    I don't often read spy stories but I read The Perfect Spy by Le Carre a couple of weeks ago and was so impressed I immediately began reading The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I'm very happy I did! Even at more than 50 years old the story is believable and intriguing and certainly kept my interest throughout. Pretty much unbeatable.
  • Too good not to read

    By James' view
    Plausible, gritty and realistic, with more uncertainty and more excitement than should be allowed.
  • Far more than a spy story...

    By TheMasterBookworm
    It’s a spy story, of course. And a very good one. But this is where genre fiction becomes true literature. Marvellous.
  • Great

    Its one of the best books I have read, and the only spy story I have read. Definitely not the last John le Carre I will read.
  • Stunning

    By JPM2110
    One of the best books I have ever read. It's dark portrayal of the SIS, stark compared to the Hollywood glitz of 007. A slightly disturbing and at times uncomfortable read until it reaches an inevitable conclusion. Truly brilliant.