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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And I loved her , I loved her ; oh , words cannot tell you the agony of desire that
burned my heart ; love like that is no pleasure ; it is pain , pain , but the exquisite
pain that transcends all pleasure . It is that heavenly anguish that the saints
She snatched it from his hands and for a moment pressed it to her heart . When
she read it she uttered a little cry of relief . ' He won ' t come . ' The letter , in the
Indian ' s flowery , stilted English , expressed his bitter disappointment . He told
... to his own life with its obligations . With his mind , that cold , logical mind of his ,
he knew it would be absurd to sacrifice everything for a woman like Alix ; he was
ambitious , he wanted power ; and besides , he could not break the heart of that ...