The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
John le Carre
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a 1963 Cold War spy novel by British author John le Carré. It has become famous for its portrayal of Western espionage methods as morally inconsistent with Western democracy and values. The story unfolds during the heightened-alert politico-military tensions that characterised the late 1950s and early 1960s of the Cold War, when a Warsaw Pact–NATO war in Europe (Germany) seemed likely. The story begins and concludes in East Germany, about a year after the completion of the Berlin Wall and around the time when double-agent Heinz Felfe was exposed and tried.
A key character is Hans-Dieter Mundt (Blondie), an assassin of the Abteilung, the East German Secret Service, who is working under diplomatic cover in London when uncovered by Circus agents George Smiley and Peter Guillam. When discovered, he escapes from England to East Germany before Smiley and Guillam can catch him. Two years later, Mundt has risen from the field to the upper-echelon of the Abteilung, because of his successful counter-intelligence operations against the spy networks of the British Secret Service.
In an interview with John le Carré, broadcast October 5, 2008 on BBC Four, Mark Lawson asked him to name a Best of le Carré list of books; the novelist answered:
• The Spy Who Came In from the Cold
• Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
• The Tailor of Panama
• The Constant Gardener
John le Carre (David John Moore Cornwell) October 19, 1931
Le Carré has since established himself as an important writer of espionage fiction. In 1990, he received the Helmerich Award which is presented annually by the Tulsa Library Trust. In 2008, The Times ranked Le Carré 22nd on its list of The 50 greatest British writers since 1945. In 2011, he won the Goethe Medal, a yearly prize given by the Goethe Institute