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Word Count: 1,781
The grim dangerous work that makes up the core of spying is displayed in exquisite and fascinating detail in this excellent novel by John Le Carr With the cold rain pouring down on the murky streets of Berlin Checkpoint Charlie doesnt seem to have much to recommend it Yet this symbol of the Cold War represents hope and freedom to those oppressed in the East and conversely the malignant presence of Communism to the West In this transition zone stands Alec Leamas a British agent waiting for the defection of one of his spies The man in question appears over the border and looks set to make his escape when suddenly he is cut down in a hail of gunfire Leamas is recalled to London by his boss Control expecting to be fired Instead Control decides to keep Leamas out in the cold a while longer However Leamas is soon looking for work and ends up with a menial librarian job With his only friend whisky for company Leamas stews in his own thoughts building up resentment against the British Secret Service Nothing seems able to penetrate his shell built up over the years as a spy although his fellow librarian Elizabeth Gold takes a liking to him Unfortunately Leamas assaults a shopkeeper and ends up in jail When hes realeased from prison there is someone to see his return to society and he approaches him in the park Claiming to be from a charity which helps ex-convicts Ashe takes Leamas to an expensive lunch This is all double-talk of course - in reality its an approach from the enemy checking out a disgruntled ex-spy and finding out if hell defect Leamas seems to feel that he doesnt owe Britain anything and somewhat grumpily seems to accept purely for the money Then Leamas circuitously makes his way to Smileys house for a meeting with Control Everything becomes clear Control outlines the plan a devious and
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