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"The best of the new generation of British spy writers taking over where le Carre and Deighton left off." -- Observer (London) on The Spanish Game
"The serpentine twists and the unflaggingly realistic suspense leave you breathless, but spellbound." -- Daily Mail (London) on The Spanish Game
"Tautly written, cleverly plotted...reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carre." -- Robert Harris, author of The Ghost, on A Spy by Nature
Six years ago, Alec Milius was released by MI6 after a disasterous operation. His world shattered, Milius has been living in Madrid, attempting to put his former life as a spy behind him, and quitely rebuild his life. But all his plans come crashing down when the head of a separatist movement goes missing, and Milius is lured back into the world of espionage, the brutal world of lies and desperation. This time, though, Milius is forced to work alone - with no back-up, no support, and no one to save him should something go wrong.
And in an operation like this, something is certain to go wrong. Horribly wrong.
Alec Milius, the protagonist of Cumming's well-received first novel, A Spy by Nature (2007), has created a new life in Madrid working as a researcher for a British private bank in this sterling sequel. His former employer, MI6, dismissed him in disgrace after a plot against the CIA went wrong. Alec lives alone, constantly watching for agents from his past who he thinks are intent on hunting him down and exacting revenge. He's having an affair with his boss's wife, drinks too much and is consumed by regret and guilt. When his boss, Julian Church, sends him to Basque country on a project, he meets Mikel Arenaza, a former member of the ETA, the Basque separatist party, who quickly turns up dead. The plot is pleasingly convoluted, the twists unexpected, the characters flawed and interesting. This is spy fiction of the highest order; Cumming deserves to be ranked with the best of the genre's practitioners.