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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But if Chandra came he could easily be detained ; there was no great hurry since
the train in which he was to be taken to Paris did not start till shortly after eight .
When Ashenden had finished his business he strolled leisurely down to the lake .
He got up , for he had taken advantage of his situation to breakfast in bed ,
packed his bag and took the next train to Berne . From there he was able to send
a code telegram to R . His instructions were given to him verbally two days later ,
He took it with the same easy , laughing nonchalance as he had taken all the rest
. He ' d had a thundering good time , he regretted nothing , it was rotten tough
luck getting T . B . but to hell with it , no one can live for ever , and when you came