Author : John Le Carre
Pages : 253
Rating : ★★★★★
Recommended : For everyone! For history lovers, for thrillers!
This book is a tale of a complex double agent operation which reveals the heartlessness of the British Intelligence and in essence of all the Intelligence systems – which will not stop at hurting innocent and betraying their own in pursuit of success. This book is a game, a dirty game which every intelligence system plays and it just produces characters who are liked and disliked at the same time. This book has a very intricate plot which is what every spy thriller read would wish for and it has everything
except a hero!
29th July, 2016
For a change, this book is not a murder mystery but just a spy thriller and is supposed to be really good. I got this book as a gift from a friend long time back and just started reading it. This book is set in 1960’s and in Berlin at a time, when the wall, The Berlin Wall was already constructed and Germany divided into two parts East Germany and West Germany. Prior to this book, I had very little knowledge of the existence of the Wall but just reading a few pages of it, I have already placed an order for a history book related to the Wall to get more information regarding that.
This book features Alec Leamas, who has lost his battle in East Germany and brought back to London only to find that his final assignment to bring down East Germany intelligence has just started and this is going to be his last and the toughest assignment. To accomplish his mission, he has to play the part of dishonored spy and get recruited into enemy’s team.
1st August, 2016
“A man who lives a part, not to others but alone, is exposed to obvious psychological dangers. In itself the practice of deception is not particularly exacting. It is a matter of experience, a professional expertise. It is a facility most of us can acquire. But while a confidence trickster, a play actor or a gambler can return from his performance to the ranks of his admirers, the secret agent enjoys no such relief. For him, deception is first a matter of self defense. He must protect himself not only from without, but from within, and against the most natural of impulses. Though he earn a fortune, his role may forbid him the purchase of a razor. Though he be erudite, it can befall him to mumble nothing but banalities. Though he be an affectionate husband and father, he must within all circumstances without himself from those with whom he should naturally confide. Aware of the overwhelming temptations which assail a man permanently isolated in his deceit, Leamas resorted to the course which armed him best. Even when he was alone, he compelled himself to live with the personality he had assumed. It is said that Balzac on his deathbed inquired anxiously after the health and prosperity of characters he had created. Similarly, Leamas, without relinquishing the power of invention, identified himself with what he had invented. The qualities he had exhibited to Fiedler: the restless uncertainty, the protective arrogance concealing shame were not approximations, but extensions of qualities he actually possessed. Hence, also, the slight dragging of the feet, the aspect of personal neglect, the indifference to food, and an increasing reliance on alcohol and tobacco. When alone, he remained faithful to these habits. He would even exaggerate them a little, mumbling to himself about the iniquities of his service. Only very rarely, as now, going to bed that evening, did he allow himself the dangerous luxury of admitting the great lie that he lived.”
With a little bit of hard work, instructions from Control and his prior spy knowledge, Leamas manages to dishonor himself and sells his information to the enemy. He feeds them with intelligence everything is going to the plan but then something happens which was unexpected and this scares Leamas and he is actually frightened now.
To carry out his task, he needs to travel to East Germany and he doesn’t know if he will ever come back. This part was not expected but he knew there’s always a catch with Control. Leamas prepares himself to live the part of spy and creates a trap for Mundt. But Mundt soon realizes the trap and when Mundt brings Liz for questioning, everything goes haywire.
More updates available in the book Don’t want to provide spoilers..