Spy Novels


MANILA, Philippines - Many newspaper readers I know love novels about espionage - fact and fiction, past and present - and their interest becomes more thrilling when those books make it to the big screen. That is, the novels become movies.

The most popular of these espionage novels in recent history that become international motion picture favorites are those written by once British Naval Intelligence operative Ian Fleming.

Fleming only wrote 14 "007" novels. Others are crafty derivatives mainly written for motion picture attraction. His secret agent hero, clean-cut and dapper "James Bond" has become an internationally recognizable person.

(Fortnight ago, a London movie production company announced the start of the filming in five world locations of the 25th "007" adventure titled "Skyfall," to hit theaters in major cities around the globe in late 2012.)

But there is another celebrated espionage writer, also an Englishman, named John le Carre. He had his 1974 novel "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" made into a movie recently. It will have a worldwide release this December.

Local cloak-and-dagger film adherents will recall that Le Carre's first novel that made it into the celluloid world in 1965, "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold," was a huge financial success. It starred Richard Burton.

Of the 22 espionage novels written by David Cornwell (John le Carre is his penname), only seven became motion pictures. His spymaster hero is named George Smiley. The Le Carre plots on around the Cold War from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The New York Times weekend supplement in the Manila Bulletin of October 15, 2011, in a feature article entitled "From a Spy Novel, A Bygone World Order" written by Terrence Rafferty. It said:

"The novel, Mr. Le Carre's third, had been a publishing sensation. …

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