The Oxford Book of Spy Stories

ISBN 13: 9780192832672

The Oxford Book of Spy Stories

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9780192832672: The Oxford Book of Spy Stories

"The redline of a laser gunsight split the darkness and targeted the wall next to his head. There was a muffled sound like a dry cough and a bullet thudded into the wall above him. He slid forward under the bed...." Graham Greene's classic spy tale "A Branch of the Service" leaves the heart pounding and nothing to the imagination. On the run during a fictional mole hunt of the mid-eighties, Greene's spy faces an uncertain fate at every turn. Indeed, the dashing spy on the run is one of the great icons of twentieth-century fiction, reflecting the shifting currents of national and international politics for a century and more.
The Oxford Book of Spy Stories offers a panorama of the best spy stories which have forever fixed the concept of espionage in the popular imagination. In twenty-nine tales of political intrigue, wartime heroism, and peacetime scheming, we see the spy at work and at rest, sometimes the romantic savior of a nation's secret, more often an embittered loner, wracked with disillusion and uncertainty. The stories--by such famous authors as Ambrose Bierce, W. Somerset Maugham, Frank O'Connor, Ian Fleming, Len Deighton, Graham Greene, and Edward D. Hoch--range from traditional thrillers with the spy as hero to explorations of the metaphoric potential of espionage and the moral, political, and psychological issues that such an activity brings into question. Together with Michael Cox's fascinating introduction, they form a wonderfully entertaining literary insight into a world of intrigue and deception.

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About the Author:


About the Editor:
Michael Cox has compiled a number of highly popular anthologies, including The Oxford Book of English Ghost Stories, Victorian Ghost Stories (both with R. A. Gilbert), and Victorian Detective Stories.

From Publishers Weekly:

Seeking to provide a panorama of those spy stories that define espionage in the public imagination, Cox, an editor at OUP, selects 28 short stories covering a variety of international (and in one case, interplanetary) settings and epochs. His choices concentrate on Europe and, particularly the U.K. during WWI. Despite contributions by authors including Ambrose Bierce, John Buchan, Somerset Maugham, Frank O'Connor, John Galsworthy, Len Deighton, Graham Greene and Ian Fleming, these stories may seem simple and sentimental to readers accustomed to Cold War treachery and moral ambiguity, and to the convoluted plot twists now associated with spycraft. Many read like anecdotes or droll jokes with no real tension or suspense. Even the iconic James Bond seems a drab version of his big-screen incarnation. In spite of its limitations, the collection does succeed in showing the vast evolution of popular notions about spying. Readers searching for sheer entertainment, however, will long for better examples of latter-day, action-oriented or intrigue-intensive tales.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Published by Oxford University Press (1997)
ISBN 10: 0192832670 ISBN 13: 9780192832672
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