Who are the characters in A Perfect Spy?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Magnus Pym, Richard Pym, and Axel Hampel are the main characters in the book.

Magnus Pym is a high-ranking British intelligence officer in his mid-fifties. After his father’s burial, he disappears, and this prompts a search by the agency he works for. In the process, it is discovered that he is a double agent.

Richard is Magnus’ father. Even though he is good-looking and appears to be charismatic, he is merely a con artist. He is selfish, ruthless, manipulative, and conceited and will stop at nothing to have his way. In fact, Richard's ill-treatment of Magnus’ mother leads to her insanity. Through Richard, Magnus learns to perfect the art of deception.

Axel Hampel is one of Magnus’s closest friends. They first meet in Switzerland when Magnus is on a secret mission. Magnus helps Axel recuperate, and Axel helps Magnus master German. Their friendship blossoms, and Axel becomes a father figure to Magnus. Later, Magnus betrays Axel. Axel uses this betrayal to trigger Magnus’s guilt and convinces him to betray his country and be a Czech spy.

Jack Brotherhood recruits Magnus into the agency and later leads Magnus’s manhunt. Mary Pym is Magnus’s wife. She is a trained agent but only plays the role of a wife in the book. Annie, also known as “Lippssie”, is Richard’s mistress. She eventually commits suicide. Thomas Pym is Magnus’s teenage son. The story is written with the hope that he will be dissuaded from becoming like Magnus or his grandfather, Richard.

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A Perfect Spy

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