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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His mind , however , wandered back to his play , and telling himself jokes and
repartees that he knew by bitter experience would never look so neat on paper
nor sound so well on the stage as they did then , he abstracted his mind from the
He travelled up and down the Rhine , and gathered material about the movement
of troops , the manufacture of munitions , the state of mind of the country ( a point
on which R . laid stress ) , and other matters upon which the Allies desired ...
I don ' t mind if it ' s ready or not , I ' ll take it just as it is . ' Anastasia Alexandrovna
left them . “ Well , what do you think of Russia and the Russians now ? ' Mr
Harrington asked Ashenden . ' I ' m fed up with them . I ' m fed up with Tolstoi , I '