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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W. Somerset Maugham. " By the way , just as a matter of interest how did your
very smart lad get at the photograph at all ? ' R . ' s eyes twinkled . " That ' s none
of your business . But I don ' t mind telling you that he was a good - looking boy .
Ashenden had always thought botany a tedious science , but Caypor , talking
exuberantly as they walked along , was able to impart to it life and interest . He
must have given it a good deal of study . ' I ' ve never written a book , ' he said .
Her manner perhaps was not quite as indifferent as you would have expected
when she was mentioning a fact that could be of no interest to Ashenden . It
flashed across his mind that Caypor had been summoned to Berne to see the ...