The Silent Game - The Real World of Imaginary Spies
The Silent Game traces the history of spy writers and their fiction from creator
William Le Queux, of the Edwardian age, to John le Carré, of the Cold War era.
David Stafford reveals the connections between fact and fiction as seen in the lives
of writers with experience in intelligence, including John Buchan, Compton Mackenzie,
Somerset Maugham, Ian Fleming, and Graham Greene.
Le Queux used his spy fiction as xenophobic propaganda before and after World War
I, and le Carré’s novels have provided reflections on the Cold War and the decline
of Britain’s influence.
Anxieties about the decline of the American “empire” have helped stimulate a more
vigorous American literature of espionage, providing an index of contemporary American
concerns about power relations.
As Stafford suggests, the genre of espionage fiction rarely intends to document the
real world of intelligence. Rather, it provides a popular vehicle for exploring themes
of imperial decline, international crisis, and impending war.