Leamas is an agent working for the British in Berlin during the Cold War. He is preparing for the end of his career. He is offered one last mission. He accepts to get his revenge on Mundt who works for the other side. I will avoid going into anymore detail because this is a book you do not want spoiled for you.
As previously discussed, I'm not a big fan of the spy novel genre. I read this novel because I won it in a contest. This does not affect my review, but it does provide me with a book I normally wouldn't have picked out. I did enjoy The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I was surprised to find myself liking it as I read. I honestly did not anticipate the ending, which is awesome when you read a mystery novel. This was also my first Le Carre novel. I would be interested in reading more of his work, if the others are as good as this one.
One of the things I liked most about this novel is the time the author took in setting up the scenario. Often with spy novels, it seems everything happens within a couple of days. Very unrealistic. I don't need everything to be real, but I like when a scenario is plausible. Leamas actually takes the time to develop, and live his cover story.
This book shows the brutality involved with espionage. It is not all brave and glorious. Sometimes it is making decisions that don't sit well. The realization that things aren't black and white. There is not always a feeling that you are doing the right thing. I liked that this book showed a darker side to the spy scenario. It is usually glorified as a dangerous, exciting, and necessary job that anyone would envy. I appreciate a different perspective. Don't worry, the book is still full of danger and excitement. It is just viewed differently.
Here is a spy novel I can recommend. Read it, and tell me if you enjoyed this novel, and how it compares to Le Carre's other books, or other spy novels you have read.