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@Download E-pub ⛓ The Russia House ô John le Carre s bestselling classic is a timeless spy thriller about the Iron Curtain and the tense relationship between Great Britain and RussiaJohn le Carr has earned worldwide acclaim with extraordinary spy novels, including The Russia House, an unequivocal classic Navigating readers through the shadow worlds of international espionage with critical knowledge culled from his years in British Intelligence, le Carr tracks the dark and devastating trail of a document that could profoundly alter the course of world events In Moscow, a sheaf of military secrets changes hands If it arrives at its destination, and if its import is understood, the consequences could be cataclysmic Along the way it has an explosive impact on the lives of three people a Soviet physicist burdened with secrets a beautiful young Russian woman to whom the papers are entrusted and Barley Blair, a bewildered English publisher pressed into service by British Intelligence to ferret out the document s source A magnificent story of love, betrayal, and courage, The Russia House catches history in the act For as the Iron Curtain begins to rust and crumble, Blair is left to sound a battle cry that may fall on deaf ears I am late to reading John le Carre , and only now getting around to his non Smiley books such as this one Because it s set in the heady days of glasnost and perestroika, I thought it might seem dated but given what s been going on in the news today about the Russians trying to tilt our presidential election, it turned out to be fartimely than expected It was also a compelling read, despite lacking the nail biting suspense of his Call for the Dead or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy Th I am late to reading John le Carre , and only now getting around to his non Smiley books such as this one Because it s set in the heady days of glasnost and perestroika, I thought it might seem dated but given what s been going on in the news today about the Russians trying to tilt our presidential election, it turned out to be fartimely than expected It was also a compelling read, despite lacking the nail biting suspense of his Call for the Dead or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy The story starts off with a droll and mocking anecdote At a book fair, a Russian woman named Katya has handed over a manuscript to a British publisher to pass along to the man she intended to deliver it to, and who didn t show up The manuscript turns out to be a hot property the work of a Russian physicist who works on the Soviets missile tests The publisher can t find the intended recipient, a roguish Englishman named Barley Blair, and realizes how important this information might be, but then has a hard time convincing anyone in British intelligence to take it from him Once he succeeds in handing it over, though, they freak out and go through about six kinds of hell tracking down Blair He turns out to be in Lisbon, shacked up with a lady, getting drunk at a bar Blair, you soon realize, is the unlikely hero of the story, as he s drafted by British intelligence to go to Moscow and contact the physicist a chance acquaintance from a prior trip to Russia and verify that the info he s passed along is valid They train him in spycraft, then begin questioning whether he or his physicist friend are already involved in doubling them to pass along bogus info, and in the process tie themselves and their CIA partners in knots.The narrator le Carre has drafted to tell this story, by the way, is not Blair himself, but a chess playing attorney working for MI6 who has his own sense of humor and his own guilty secret For a while I found his occasional mentions of his shame annoying, but eventually it pays off because you see why he comes to regard the boozy, sax playing Blair as heroic as he works to save some innocent victims from being hammered by the forces gathered around the physicist known as Goethe.The villains are the intelligence operations of Britain, the U.S and Russia as le Carre mocks them, comparing their banal yet brutal political games to the high minded physicist who only wants to make the world a better place by exposing his employer s dirtiest secret namely, that their missile systems don t actually work The story contains amusing elements of farce right up until about halfway, when at the behest of the CIA one of the livelier Brits is suddenly booted from the operation because they perceive him as a security risk solely based on his personal life Then you realize how deadly serious the whole thing is.The book is not a classic thriller There are no chase scenes to speak of, no shoot outs, no corpus delecti to be examined But it s extremely well written and involving as we watch Blair decide that saving someone he loves is worth turning his life upside down, ditching his lazy old habits to become a better man, if not one who brings a better world 3.5 stars rounded downSpying is waiting I don t typically read spy thrillers any, and I would say the word thriller is used loosely here Spying may be waiting, and waiting is what I did for about one third of the book before becoming nearly fully absorbed It starts off slowly, and likely due to my ignorance of spy jargon, I was a bit lost Quite a few characters were introduced, and I had trouble distinguishing between several of them I even struggled to determine the role of the 3.5 stars rounded downSpying is waiting I don t typically read spy thrillers any, and I would say the word thriller is used loosely here Spying may be waiting, and waiting is what I did for about one third of the book before becoming nearly fully absorbed It starts off slowly, and likely due to my ignorance of spy jargon, I was a bit lost Quite a few characters were introduced, and I had trouble distinguishing between several of them I even struggled to determine the role of the first person narrator Eventually, however, something clicked and I was off and running to the conclusionA Soviet friend of mine has written a creative and important work of literature It is a novel A great novel Its message is important for all mankindBritish publisher Scott Blair, otherwise known as Barley, has been entrusted with this piece of literature which has been passed to him from a Russian physicist through the hands of the beautiful and self sacrificing Katya Of course, this is not just any work of writing it contains some of the greatest intelligence secrets of the Soviet Union The time is mid to late 1980s during a significant period of reform nearing the end of the Cold War The manuscript, however, manages to get into the hands of the Russia House, a branch of the British intelligence agency, before reaching Barley s desk He quickly becomes an unlikely instrument in the game of espionage Barley also has a keen interest in women, alcohol, and jazz and it s not unusual to find him in some club playing his saxophone with a drink at hand Although I never became smitten with this guy, I did find him very intriguing and likeable enough He sort of grows on you throughout the book The plot is slow moving, but kept me interested once I got over the first hurdle Ideas of nuclear disarmament and the role of the various intelligence agencies, including the CIA, kept my attention There is of course a romance which inevitably brews between Barley and Katya I m not certain I totally bought into this, and wonder if it comes acrossconvincingly in the screen adaptation I love learning about Russian geography and culture, so was captivated by the vivid descriptions of Moscow and LeningradA low cottonwool sky hung over the imported palaces, making them dreary in their fancy dress Summer music played in the parks but the summer clung behind the clouds, leaving a chalky Nordic mist to trick and tremble on the Venetian waterways Barley walked and, as always when he was in Leningrad, he had the sensation of walking through other cities, now Prague, now Vienna, not a bit of Paris or a corner of Regent s Park No other city that he knew hid its shame behind so many sweet facades or asked such terrible questions with its smile This is my first le Carr novel, and overall I enjoyed it 3.5 star worthy, but I am going to round it down with the hope that my next by this author The Spy Who Came in from the Cold will go up from there I think it s instructive to read one of Graham Greene s spy novels back to back with one of John le Carre s because, surprisingly, it s instantly clear that le Carre is the better writer It s not just his plotting, which is always tight and suspenseful it s the actual strength of his writing the descriptions of places, the dialogues, the constructions of his wounded and noble characters One concern I had with this book was that it was written in 1989 after the golden age of the Cold War, w I think it s instructive to read one of Graham Greene s spy novels back to back with one of John le Carre s because, surprisingly, it s instantly clear that le Carre is the better writer It s not just his plotting, which is always tight and suspenseful it s the actual strength of his writing the descriptions of places, the dialogues, the constructions of his wounded and noble characters One concern I had with this book was that it was written in 1989 after the golden age of the Cold War, which was a time that Le Carre shined as an espionage author But that concern was unfounded if anything, he s better in the age of glasnost, with all its moral vagary and shifting alliances And what s , he has learned to edit himself this book weighs in at a slender 340 pages, compared to 600 for most of the Smiley novels The old isms were dead, the contest between Communism and capitalism had ended in a wet whimper Its rhetoric had fled underground into the secret chambers of the grey men, who were still dancing away long after the music had ended I love The Russia House I love the anger the way the novel seems to capture all the threads that le Carr had woven in most all of his cold war novels and noose both sides I love it for its humanity In some ways it reminded me of Orwell s Nineteen Eighty Four The old isms were dead, the contest between Communism and capitalism had ended in a wet whimper Its rhetoric had fled underground into the secret chambers of the grey men, who were still dancing away long after the music had ended I love The Russia House I love the anger the way the novel seems to capture all the threads that le Carr had woven in most all of his cold war novels and noose both sides I love it for its humanity In some ways it reminded me of Orwell s Nineteen Eighty Four with the bureaucracies grey men of both sides of the Cold War desperate to continue the fight, desperate for an enemy, desperate for perpetual fear for the greater good While I was knocked over by Orwell s GREAT novel, I never cared for Winston Smith quite the same way I cared for Scott Blair Le Carr s genius is making you absolutely love his sinners and fear his saints, and then making you forget which is which and who is who The West is mirrored by the East We have become what we feared, what we fought Ultimately, le Carr s characters become like family Yes, they are flawed Yes, they are giants Yes, they are pettyand, utimately they are you