Writer defined and brought attention to genre, Cold War Espionage Thrillers
The acclaimed spy novelist, John le Carré, whose work spans nearly 6 decades, died Dec. 12, at the age of 89. If you have never read any of his thrillers, we’ve compiled a handful of his most famous works that we recommend.
Read More: Top 10 Books of 2020
Born David Cornwell, Le Carré worked as a Cold War-era British agent (M15 and M16) for 12 years. When his cover was blown and leaked to the KGB, he left and took to pursuing his writing full-time.
What he left behind, 25 novels, gave readers a taste of espionage, great betrayals, deceptions, the vicarious excitement of his inner world. His best-known titles sold millions of copies and a handful of them were adapted for film and television.
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
The 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carré’s career worldwide
In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse–a desk job–Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service–with himself as the bait. In the background is George Smiley, ready to make the game play out just as Control wants.
Setting a standard that has never been surpassed, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a devastating tale of duplicity and espionage. Click to see “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” and help independent bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The man he knew as Control is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn’t quite ready for retirement–especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla–his Moscow Centre nemesis–and sets a trap to catch the traitor.
The Oscar-nominated feature film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) and features Gary Oldman as Smiley, Academy Award winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), and Tom Hardy (Inception). Click to see “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” and help independent bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
The Little Drummer Girl
You want to catch the lion, first you tether the goat.
On holiday in Mykonos, Charlie wants only sunny days and a brief escape from England’s bourgeois dreariness. Then a handsome stranger lures the aspiring actress away from her pals–but his intentions are far from romantic. Joseph is an Israeli intelligence officer, and Charlie has been wooed to flush out the leader of a Palestinian terrorist group responsible for a string of deadly bombings. Still uncertain of her own allegiances, she debuts in the role of a lifetime as a double agent in the “theatre of the real.”
Haunting and deeply atmospheric, John le Carr ‘s The Little Drummer Girl is a virtuoso performance and a powerful examination of morality and justice. Click to see ” The Little Drummer Girl” and help independent bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
The Constant Gardener
The novel opens in northern Kenya with the gruesome murder of Tessa Quayle — young, beautiful, and dearly beloved to husband Justin. When Justin sets out on a personal odyssey to uncover the mystery of her death, what he finds could make him not only a suspect among his own colleagues, but a target for Tessa’s killers as well.
A master chronicler of the betrayals of ordinary people caught in political conflict, John le Carré portrays the dark side of unbridled capitalism as only he can. In The Constant Gardener he tells a compelling, complex story of a man elevated through tragedy, as Justin Quayle — amateur gardener, aging widower, and ineffectual bureaucrat — discovers his own natural resources and the extraordinary courage of the woman he barely had time to love. Click to see “The Constant Gardener” and help independent bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
A Perfect Spy
Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend–and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father’s death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus?
In A Perfect Spy, John le Carré has crafted one of his crowning masterpieces, interweaving a moving and unusual coming-of-age story with a morally tangled chronicle of modern espionage. Click to see “A Perfect Spy” and help independent bookstores. Also available on Amazon.
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