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Cold War spy novel. The head of British intelligence in East Berlin is recalled to London after a double agent is killed. The bureau chief, Alec Leamas, agrees to stay on assignment for one more mission. Then he is fired in disgrace, and subsequently recruited by the East Germans.
This is a real period piece, although not as dated as "Darkness at Noon" (which is, by the way, mentioned in this novel). It gives a good feeling of the political atmosphere of the Cold War, particularly after the shock of the Berlin Wall going up. As a novel of intrigue, it is top notch. Its main defect, in my opinion, is that it gets preachy at the end. Definitely worth reading.
This edition includes an introduction by the author.
Trade paperback. Published by Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster).