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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Do you mean to say that happened the other day ? “ The week before last . ' '
Impossible , ' cried Ashenden . ' Why , we ' ve been putting that incident on the
stage for sixty years , we ' ve written it in a thousand novels . Do you mean to say
It might be that some new plan was in question , it might be that the very greatest
affairs were afoot , and perhaps what the old woman had to say might make all
the difference in the world . It might mean defeat or victory . It might mean
It is very much to your interest to make him come . ' ' What do you mean by that ?
Do you mean that if I do everything in my power and fail , that . . . ' . She looked at
Ashenden with wild eyes . “ Yes , it means either you or him . ' , She staggered .