This fascinating book contains probably the most expert stories of espionage ever written. For a period of time after it was first published, the book became official required reading for persons entering the British Secret Service.
During World War I, Maugham enlisted with an ambulance unit, but was soon shifted to the Intelligence Department. Although these stories were based on the author's own experiences as a British agent during the war, he emphasized that they were written purely as entertainment, at which, indeed, Ashenden succeeds. Maugham's clarity of style, the perfection of his form, the subtlety of his thought, veiled thinly behind a worldly cynicism, has made him an international figure.
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But I wrote a batch of stories dealing with the adventures of an agent in the
Intelligence Department during the First World War . I gave him the name of
Ashenden . Since they are connected by this character of my invention I have
thought it well ...
A day or two before , about five in the afternoon , an Indian agent of his had come
to see him in his rooms ; it was only by a lucky chance that he was in , for he had
no appointment with him , and the agent ' s instructions were to come to the ...
It was bad enough to lose a useful and disinterested agent , but it entailed
besides the changing of a safe and simple . code . R . was not pleased . But R .
was not the man to let any desire of revenge stand in the way of his main object ,
and it ...