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  • The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

  • By: John le Carré
  • Narrated by: Michael Jayston
  • Length: 7 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (2,412 ratings)

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The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

By: John le Carré
Narrated by: Michael Jayston
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Summary

Alec Leamas has ended his time in Berlin. Or his time has ended him. The last of his Eastern agents has been killed, like the others, by the Abteilung. Back at the Circus, Leamas is put on the shelf. He turns to drunkenness and dishonesty and finally disappears from view, a seemingly broken man.

But unknown to anyone except George Smiley and his master, Control, Leamas has been given his toughest mission ever. He will have to be himself but more so. He will have to fight off the inevitable softening of middle age and wait a little more before he can come in from the cold. Not even Leamas can know the plan of which he is the instrument.

©1963 Victor Gollancz Ltd (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

Critic reviews

"The best spy story I have ever read." (Graham Greene)
"Le Carré is one of the best novelists - of any kind - we have." ( Vanity Fair)
"Written...with a pitiless, elegant clarity, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a first-rate thriller and more." ( Time)

What listeners say about The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

The book that came in from the cd.

This isn't my usual choice. Espionage thrillers usually leave me cold - or the thought or them does. However this was a book group choice so I chose the unabridged version and within minutes was hooked.

I'm now embarrassed to think I ignored this for

So long. The writing is so accessible; I was concerned that I would not be able to follow the plot but it's a much more relatable novel than I imagined. Good writing means this novel is a hit across the board and the narrator is amazing with his easy on the ear voice and the way each character is convincingly brought to life. I adored this reading!

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27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A small car with children waving.

If you like your spies drinking Martinis, with glamour and gadgets against egregious supervillains, this is not the book for you. Instead we are drawn into a world of subterfuge and lies, of duplicity where even truth can be turned on it's head, where black and white merges into dirty grey. No heroes here, only ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances trying to stay alive as they keep their form of faith.
One of le Carre's most masterful cold war spy stories, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, is completely gripping from the breath-holding first pages to the dazzling conclusion. Yet the writing itself is elegant enough to be a fine love missive. This was not my first encounter with the book; I had read it many years ago and seen the film version. But the narration by Michael Jayson brought a freshness and poignancy that had me enthralled with each twist and turn, leaving me as eager to listen on as ever I had been with my very first reading.
First class.

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19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Superb and a classic novel

I first read this book when it was first published. I found it quite difficult but after all these years it is much easier to understand the moral nuances and superb plotting. Hearing it read was a great experience.

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17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great thriller, well read

One of JLC's classics. The voice was just perfect, conveying the suspense of the thriller.

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14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superior Spy Thriller

This was a gripping, realistic story of morally ambiguous Cold War espionage. Expertly read by Jayston, slipping subtly between distinct characters with ease.

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12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Another Gripping Spy Story

le Carre delivers another gripping tale of the cold war British spy network. Lots of twists and turns to keep the listener guessing until the very end. Up there with the rest of his works.



The narrator delivers the story brilliantly, although in previous purchases where Le Carre has read them himself does take a lot of beating.

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A classic from the cold war

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definitely recommended - particularly for anyone who has spent time in Berlin.

Has The Spy Who Came in from the Cold put you off other books in this genre?

I don't know this genre well - but it wasn't what I was expecting, and the quality of the story positively surprised me.

Which character – as performed by Michael Jayston – was your favourite?

Very well read by Michael Jayston. Resists the temptation to overdo German accents for the German characters.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • G
  • 24-09-12

another era

Easy to listen to, good narration, no particular effort required to follow the story. Written during and taking place in the cold war, and it shows. It all feels a bit dated, but fun nonetheless, if you like "old-fashioned" thrillers.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Le Carre - always good.
Jayston - a master of narration..
Together - a brilliant team.
The book - one of the best.
Seen the film, read the book, now listened to the book. Just as fresh.

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5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold

John Le Carre has arguably written the two greatest espionage novels of all time (and maybe several more in the top 10). This being one and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy the other. Why are they so good ? To put it simply, brilliant writing coupled with suspense and great characters (certainly from a British perspective) that we want to succeed. Alec Leamas and George Smiley are both fascinating and of course on the right side. The accumulation of evidence and detailed plots are ingenious and also show a respect for the reader. The ending does not disappoint. Brilliant.

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4 people found this helpful