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This is the story of Magnus Pym, from his childhood to the end of his career in middle age. As a young man, there is little doubt that his father Rick was the most influential character in his life. Rick was a raconteur, con man, thief, black marketer and all in all, simply larger than life. From a young age, Rick included Magnus in his schemes and the young man learned that you would do anything for the ones you love. When a university student in Switzerland, Pym meets the other person who will have the greatest influence in his life, Axel, a Czech refugee. As Pym enters his career in the British Secret Service, his relationship with Axel and the values he developed in childhood lead him down his own path of betrayal and loyalty. Written by
Without doubt the best of the novels of John Le Carre, exquisitely transformed into a classic film. Performances by Peter Egan (Magnus Pym, The Perfect Spy), Rudiger Weigang (Axel, real name Alexander Hampel, Magnus' Czech Intelligence controller), Ray McAnally (Magnus' con-man father) and Alan Howard (Jack Brotherhood, Magnus' mentor, believer and British controller), together with the rest of the characters, are so perfect and natural, the person responsible for casting them should have been given an award. Even the small parts, such as Major Membury, are performed to perfection. It says a lot for the power of the performances, and the strength of the characters in the novel that, despite the duplicity of Magnus, one cannot help but feel closer to Magnus and Axel than to Jack Brotherhood and the slimy Grant Lederer of U.S. Intelligence. I have read the book at least a dozen times, and watched the movie almost as many times, and continue to be mesmerized by both. If I had one book to take on a desert island, A Perfect Spy would be the choice above all others.
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