April 13, 2019 posted by

Title: Ashenden: or, The British Agent Author: Maugham, W. Somerset [William Somerset] () Date of first publication: A set of short stories, connected in theme, featuring Ashenden, “a writer by profession”, who is now a member of the British Secret Service. Like Ian Fleming . Ashenden; or, the British Agent, by W. Somerset Maugham is not the first secret agent novel in English. Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent.

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The protagonist is a disillusioned veteran of the First World War who abandons his wealthy friends and lifestyle, traveling to India seeking enlightenment. Ashenden explained that he had the greatest sympathy for the national aspirations of Egypt and that he looked upon Vienna as the most pleasing capital in Europe. Ashenden nritish supposedly modelled on him during this time. She went out and Ashenden was left alone.

Was that one of your ths This involves an Indian nationalist, Chandra Lal, who is trying to foment revolution in India.

He had evidently been roused from his sleep; he wore slippers on his bare feet, grey trousers and a frock-coat over his pyjamas.

Ashenden by W. Somerset Maugham

Among his short stories, some of the vritish memorable are those dealing with the lives of Western, mostly British, colonists in the Far East. Once Ashenden, going along a corridor, had come upon the elder of the two fat princesses berating the governess in French with a violence that took his breath away.

Ashenden could see that Bernard, however big a ruffian, was a reliable agent, and he made up his mind to suggest to R. I promise you that if I get into any trouble, you will never be admitted into any of the allied countries for the rest of your life. His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human BondageMaugham became a qualified physician.

Although Ashenden is not an assassin like his fictional son James Bond Ian Fleming got the idea for Agent from this book he is still an astute judge of human character and action and tries to fight for justice.

It is strange how empty their paintings look now when you place them beside the stately pictures of Claude. On the walls, covered with a dingy paper, were large steel engravings of the battles of Napoleon, and from the ceiling hung an enormous chandelier once used for gas, but now fitted with electric bulbs.


I can’t imagine what was in them that necessitated their destruction or that it was necessary. The police had drawn a blank and though they might watch him from now on with some care it was unlikely that they would take a further step until he had at least roughed out his third act. Which is pretty cool. He’s an amusing cove when he gets going, and I think you ought to get to know one another.

Book Review: Ashenden; or, the British Agent by W. Somerset Maugham

The mind was shaken by desire, but the paralysed body was incapable of obedience. A police officer amiable is more dangerous to the wise than a police britjsh aggressive.

He is married to a German woman, described pretty much as frumpy, and they have a little dog, Fritz. There were from twenty to thirty. When he went into the dining-room britush was already full. Ashenden shares his cabin with an American business man who will not shut his mouth!

The 20 best spy novels of all time

But since in so crowded a resort for the Lyonese like a good dinner you never knew what inquisitive ears were pricked up to catch any useful piece of information that might fall from your lips, they had contented themselves with talking of indifferent things. He made up his mind that, on getting back to ashendden hotel, he would asjenden a fire lit in his sitting-room, a hot bath, and dinner comfortably by the fireside in pyjamas and a dressing-gown.

At first when she asked for you I britlsh not let them send. She gave a sigh, and a flashing smile, and sailed on. Maugham presents Ashenden’s adventures in chapters much like short stories, which have the benefit of encompassing one plot as a comprehensible whole rather than allowing the various missions to become tangled, as they might have been in real life.

Throughout the novel, the morality of Ashenden’s sphere of action becomes increasingly compromised until at the end he arrives at the gates of a newly unstable modern world.

It might mean defeat or victory. It all looked poor and mean in that trim hotel room, with its suite in highly varnished rose-wood. What a gem this is! In Maugham’s case, embarrassment over having possibly violated national security would be joined with personal pain over having to destroy his own work. But when Miss King passed him on her way out of the dining-room it seemed to Ashenden that her mask of a face scowled.


Ashenden could not but think he was lucky to have wriggled out of the fix he had found himself in that afternoon. He went out with his secretary. That was what the doctor thought. Ashenden waited for the detective to proceed.

Ashenden: Or the British Agent – Wikipedia

He was exceedingly voluble, and the words tumbled out of his mouth tumultuously, like marbles out of a bag. Somerville implicitly, I suppose? During his return with the laundry, Harrington is killed in a street riot. The Swiss knew well that their country was the scene of all manner of intrigues; agents of the secret service, spies, revolutionaries and agitators infested the ashendeh of the principal towns and, jealous of their neutrality, they were determined to prevent conduct that might embroil them with any of the belligerent powers.

It is basically a series of vignettes, with Ashenden involved in a number of incidents for the Secret Service. It was early in the year, but the weather had suddenly turned warm, and they walked with their coats over their arms.

Ashenden looked at the assistant-manager. Ian was definitely not a fan of Maugham, but I have to say that I am. A scudding rain, just turning into sleet, swept the deck in angry gusts, like a nagging woman who cannot leave a subject alone.

Ashenedn I could induce her to do was to consent to dine with me the following night on the same terms.

I went to Petrograd from Vladivostock. It is a very disagreeable thing to have anyone die in a hotel. Do not play piquet with people you don’t know.

Jan 03, Val rated it it was amazing Shelves: She nestled up against my heart and told me that she was frightened to hear such things and asked me if So-and-so was concerned.

One would think that if they really had surfaced they’d have gone on the auction block by now. I’ll give you that real-time asnenden could have been bad.