The Looking Glass War

The Looking Glass War

Summary

A Cold War thriller from the master of spy fiction, John le Carré's The Looking Glass War is a gripping novel of double-crosses, audacious bluffs and the ever-present threat of nuclear war, published in Penguin Modern Classics.

When the Department - faded since the war and busy only with bureaucratic battles - hears rumour of a missile base near the West German border, it seems like the perfect opportunity to regain some political standing in the Intelligence market place. The Cold War is at its height and the Department is dying for a piece of the action.

Swiftly becoming carried away by fear and pride, the Department and her officers send deactivated agent Fred Leiser back into East Germany, armed only with some schoolboy training and his memories of the war. In the land of eloquent silence that is Communist East Germany, Leiser's fate becomes inseparable from the Department's.


If you enjoyed The Looking Glass War, you might like le Carré's The Secret Pilgrim, also available in Penguin Modern Classics.

'A devastating and tragic record of human, not glamour, spies'
New York Herald Tribune

'A book of rare and great power'
Financial Times

Reviews

  • A book of rare and great power
    Financial Times

About the author

John le Carré

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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