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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All the lucrative posts were given to other people , we were being made to pay
taxes as though we were tradesmen , and we were exposed to abominable
affronts . We had money and men . Our plans were made and we were ready to .
And now he saw that he had been put in Lucerne , told how to describe himself
and given the proper information , so that what actually had occurred should
occur . It would be a wonderful thing for the German secret service to get an
agent into ...
I have received the somewhat singular request to dispatch telegrams for you in a
private code which I understand has been given to you and to hand over to you
telegrams in code as they arrive . ' ' I hope they will be few and far between , sir ...