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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You would have thought that I should be angry with her for making such a fool of
me , me who had never known what it was not to gratify my smallest whim ; I did
not believe that she refused me to inflame my desires , I believed that she told the
wardress told me she ' d been in violent hysterics most of the time . I must say she
looked like the devil . ' ' Is she handsome ? ' ' You ' ll see for yourself . She ' s not
my type . I dare say she ' s better when she ' s made up and that kind of thing .
Mr Harrington thought her a very remarkable and deeply wronged woman ; he
told her all about his wife and his two sons , he told her all about the Constitution
of the United States ; she on her side told him all about Vladimir Semenovich ,