Alec 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.
Superbly constructed, with an atmosphere of chilly hell
The best spy story I have ever read
The master storyteller ... has lost none of his cunning
I have re-read The Spy Who Came In From The Cold over and over again since I first encountered it in my teens, just to remind myself how extraordinary a work of fiction can be.
One of those very rare novels that changes the way you look at the world. Unflinching, highly sophisticated, superb.
John le Carré’s suspense-filled drama The Little Drummer Girl hits TV screens later this year. Here's your first look at the production that includes industry heavyweights Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Shannon.
In this extract from The Pigeon Tunnel, John le Carré describes the accusations of disloyalty he faced from former Secret Service colleagues - and how Alec Guinness used them in his portrayal of George Smiley