Sunday, July 4, 2021

John Le Carre and Len Deighton's Great Spymasters

 I very much enjoyed a recent piece on George Smiley and the character’s influence on another writer’s work. I’m a big Le Carre fan and have read all his espionage novels, beginning with dThe Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I especially loved his trilogy: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; The Honorable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People.

Let me call your attention to another great spy novelist, Len Deighton, whose character Bernard Samson—a tough, cynical and disrespectful MI6 intelligence officer—resembles Smiley in important ways.

Deighton's successful first novel, The Ipcress File, was about the same central character as others which followed: a working class intelligence officer, cynical and tough. My favorite Deighton novels are his three trilogies: Berlin Game (1983), Mexico Set (1984) and London Match (1985); Spy Hook (1988), Spy Line (1989) and Spy Sinker (1990); and Faith (1994), Hope (1995) and Charity (1996). Winter was a companion novel. I recommend all of them without reservation.

Deighton also was a book and magazine illustrator who designed the cover for first UK edition of Kerouac's On the Road.

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