Robert Forest

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold
  • The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

  • George Smiley is one of the most brilliantly realised characters in British fiction. Bespectacled, tubby, eternally middle-aged and deceptively ordinary, he has a mind like a steel trap and is said to possess ‘the cunning of Satan and the conscience of a virgin’. It is 1962: the height of the Cold War and only months after the building of the Berlin Wall. Alec Leamas is a hard-working, hard-drinking British intelligence officer whose East Berlin network is in tatters. His agents are either on the run or dead, victims of the ruthlessly efficient East German counter-intelligence officer Hans-Dieter Mundt. Leamas is recalled to London where, to his surprise, instead of being washed up and consigned to a desk he's offered a chance to have his revenge by becoming a pawn in a brilliantly-conceived plot to destroy Mundt. But in order to do so he has to stay out in the cold a little longer... Starring the award-winning Simon Russell Beale as Smiley, and with a distinguished cast including Brian Cox as Alec Leamas, this tense, compelling dramatisation perfectly captures the atmosphere of le Carré's taut, intricate thriller.

John le Carré was born in 1931. For six decades, he wrote novels that came to define our age. The son of a confidence trickster, he spent his childhood between boarding school and the London underworld. At sixteen he found refuge at the university of Bern, then later at Oxford. A spell of teaching at Eton led him to a short career in British Intelligence (MI5&6). He published his debut novel, Call for the Dead, in 1961 while still a secret servant. His third novel, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, secured him a worldwide reputation, which was consolidated by the acclaim for his trilogy Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People. At the end of the Cold War, le Carré widened his scope to explore an international landscape including the arms trade and the War on Terror. His memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel, was published in 2016 and the last George Smiley novel, A Legacy of Spies, appeared in 2017. He died on 12 December 2020. His posthumous novel Silverview was published in 2021.

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