The IPCRESS File
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Len Deighton's best-selling first spy novel which revolutionised the genre, now published in Penguin Classics for the first time

About the Author

Len Deighton was born in 1929 in London. He did his national service in the RAF, went to the Royal College of Art and designed many book jackets, including the original UK edition of Jack Kerouac's On the Road. The enormous success of his first spy novel, The IPCRESS File (1962), was repeated in a remarkable sequence of books over the following decades. These varied from historical fiction (Bomber, perhaps his greatest novel) to dystopian alternative fiction (SS-GB) and a number of brilliant non-fiction books on the Second World War (Fighter, Blitzkrieg and Blood, Tears and Folly). His spy novels chart the twists and turns of Britain and the Cold War in ways which now give them a unique flavour. They preserve a world in which Europe contains many dictatorships, in which the personal can be ruined by the ideological and where the horrors of the Second World War are buried under only a very thin layer of soil. Deighton's fascination with technology, his sense of humour and his brilliant evocation of time and place make him one of the key British espionage writers, alongside John Buchan, Eric Ambler, Ian Fleming and John Le Carre.

Reviews

They don't, as they say, write them like this anymore. You will be entertained, informed, thrilled and dazzled. Long may he, and his creations, live on. -- Jeremy Duns * The Guardian *
Len Deighton's spy novels are so good they make me sad the Cold War is over. -- Malcolm Gladwell
Deighton's fiction has stood the test of time. His habitually acerbic narrative voice still has much to say to contemporary readers ... Now a fresh generation have the chance to sample Deighton's wares as Penguin republishes many of his books. -- Vanessa Thorpe * The Observer *
The Ipcress File helped change the shape of the espionage thriller ... the prose is still as crisp and fresh as ever ... there is an infectious energy about this book which makes it a joy to read, or re-read. * Daily Telegraph *
The self-conscious cool of Deighton's writing has dated in the best way possible ... stone-cold Cold War classic. -- Toby Litt * The Guardian *
To read it today is like taking a ride in a time machine, so accurate and astute are its evocations of its era ... Deighton knows how to pinch the ephemera that stick in our souls ... Never not a joy to read. It is also a book that changed the way we see the world. -- Peter Millar * The Times *
The IPCRESS File has lost none of its nerve-tingling fascination ... [and] the pleasure of engaging with a master of his craft. -- Barry Turner * Daily Mail *
A wonderful mixture of the exciting and the amusingly humdrum ... James Bond may be thinner, but so is his dialogue. -- Jake Kerridge * Daily Telegraph *
Deighton is a fearless observer of the deceptive human world. -- John Gray * New Statesman *
A dazzling performance. The verve and energy, the rattle of wit in the dialogue, the side-of-the-mouth comments, the evident pleasure taken in cocking a snook at the British spy story's upper-middle-class tradition - all these made it clear that a writer of remarkable talent in this field had appeared. -- Julian Symons * New York Times Book Review *

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