The Spy Who Came in from the Cold Questions and Answers
by John le Carre

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Who are the characters in John Le Carre's novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold  (1963)?

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The fity-year-old spy Alec Leamas is the central character in John Le Carre's second novel The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. As the novel opens Leamas is shown as beginning to lack motivation in his job. The novel follows Call for the Dead (1960) whose key character Hans Dieter Mundt, one of the leaders of the East German Secret Service whom his deputy Fiedler wants to depose, features again in The Spy. George Smiley, who was already in Call for the Dead and will rise to the status of main characters in Le Carre's later novels such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyThe Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's People, also appears in this novel. In his depiction of spies and their world, Le Carre has been famously credited with having created an anti-Bond type of secret agent. To Ian Fleming's glamorous characterization of the lives of spies (made of luxurious settings, beautiful women and technological gadgets), Le Carre's spies often oppose middle age, drab surroundings, power struggles within national secret services (no matter whether belonging to the Eastern or Western Blocs) and the constant suspicion of betrayal and defection to the other side. In The Spy much of the plot hinges on Mundt's deputy's suspicion that Mundt is a double agent. Betrayal, though unwilling, also characterizes one of the most positive and sympathetic characters: Liz Gold. A Communist militant, she falls in love with Leamas, but is forced to betray him during his trial in East Germany.

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