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Three Complete Novels: The Spy Who Came in…

Three Complete Novels: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold / A Small Town in…

by John le Carré

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The spy who came in from the cold, A small town in Germany, The looking glass war
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0517618362, Hardcover)

This three-in-one set of le Carré thrillers about late cold war spycraft has wit, atmosphere, and intelligence to die for. In le Carré's most autobiographical novel, A Perfect Spy, Rick Pym, a con artist Dickens might have invented (except that he's based on le Carré's dad) raises his son, Magnus, to be the perfect gentleman for the spook trade. Magnus writes to explain himself to his son, Tom; le Carré wrote the book to explain his own scalawag dad to himself, and burst into tears when he finished the novel.

In The Russia House, set in 1987, a Soviet dissident physicist drops a secret manuscript to Barley Blair, a boozy loser of a British book publisher, to alert the West that the evil empire is about to collapse of its own absurd weight. Can Western spies trust the dissident? Just how safe is the "safe house" where Barley parleys with his sexy Russian contact, Katya? Where should Barley's loyalty lie, with love or country?

The Secret Pilgrim is almost a short-story collection. (That's why it was broken into three separate audio versions: The Fledgling Spy, The Spy Who Came of Age, and The Spy in His Prime.) Ned, a British spook who Barley troubled in The Russia House, invites le Carré's legendary spy George Smiley to lecture his new class of recruits. Smiley's remarks alternate with Ned's reminiscences of his own covert adventures, from the sublimely ridiculous to the scathingly scary. The new kids have no idea what tortuous moral torments await them, but le Carré gives us an idea.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:27 -0400)

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