The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John LeCarre is alternately tabbed as LeCarre's best novel and the best spy novel of all time. Very few novels live up to as much hype as this, however, this one does. Here is why:
1) The tension is so palpable it makes the novel impossible to put down - this is the Cold War at its height.
2) It is does not rely on action scenes - there are no fight to the death shootouts and the book is all the better for it. This is not The Bourne Series but a more meditative take on the cost of being a spy.
3) The mind blowing twist - you sort of see it coming but definitely not in its entirety. The rug is pulled clean out.
LeCarre has written a book that works on a number of different levels and highlights the ideological differences between east and west. This is a powerful, spare, lean novel that deserves the many accolades it has recieved for cutting the spy business down to the bone and then forcing readers to fully understand the moral freezone in which it operates.