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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She seemed to have a sneaking fondness for naval officers . I couldn ' t exactly
blame her for that ; they are attractive , but it is unwise for ladies of easy virtue
and doubtful nationality to cultivate their society in war - time . Presently I got a
such a splendid vitality , such a zest for life that she seemed to raise his own to
some more vivid level . It really did seem to him to burn with a pure , gem - like
flame . Do people still read Pater ? ' ' I don ' t know , ' said Ashenden . ' I don ' t .
Everyone seemed to share in the happiness of the happy pair . And it was not
only the spring that filled those sick hearts with new hope , the great love that had
taken possession of the man and the girl seemed to spread its effulgence on all ...