For all fans of TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY comes this masterclass in suspense about a spy caught up in his own web of deception…
Alec Milius is young, smart and ambitious – with a talent for deception. When a chance encounter opens the door to a career with MI6, he is desperate to make his mark.
But life as a spy begins to take a terrible toll on himself and those around him, and soon Alec is chasing not just success but survival. Forced to work alone, he spins a web of deceit that traps him centre stage in a game of global espionage.
In this new job, the difference between truth and a lie can be a matter of life and death. And for Alec, it’s getting harder to tell them apart…
A Spy By Nature is the bestselling novel with which Charles Cumming announced his arrival as heir apparent to masters like John le Carré and Len Deighton; compellingly told, utterly authentic and heart-racingly intense, it will grip you till the very last page.
Praise for A SPY BY NATURE:
'Gripping, exciting and deftly plotted…A book one would be seriously annoyed to have put down' Sunday Telegraph
'Tautly written and believable… a complex tale of code words, betrayal of friendship, bluff and counterbluff… Cumming writes it like it is. Mail on Sunday
'Eerily good… a strong and serious entertainment. Don't miss' Literary Review
Praise for Charles Cumming:
'From the first page to the last it has the ring of absolute authenticity. Tautly written, cleverly plotted…it reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carré' Robert Harris, author of Fatherland and The Ghost
'The master of the modern spy thriller' The Mail On Sunday
'A wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel – vivid and disturbing – immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance' William Boyd, author of Restless
‘Terrific…vividly realised…as strong on emotional literacy as it is on spycraft’ New Statesman
About the author
Charles Cumming was born in Scotland in 1971. He was educated at Eton and graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1994 with First Class Honours in English Literature. The Observer has described him as "the best of the new generation of British spy writers who are taking over where John le Carré and Len Deighton left off". In the summer of 1995, Charles was approached for recruitment by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A year later he moved to Montreal where he began working on a novel based on his experiences with MI6. A Spy By Nature was published in the UK in 2001. This is his fifth novel.
This incredibly atmospheric spy-thriller is read wonderfully by Vance. Cumming's debut-part fiction and part memoir-is beautifully realized by Vance, whose rich British accent seems perfectly suited for this appealing tale. With a variety of pitch-perfect dialects and accents, Vance brings a stark realism to the many mysterious characters that protagonist Alec Milius comes across in this sprawling account. Entrenched in the story, Vance captures Milius's hesitation and excitement upon being accepted in the secretive MI6 unit. There is something innately believable about Vance's Milius as well as just about every other character that pops up in this taut performance. Vance captures his audience's attention in a virtuoso one-man show that has all the power and variety of a big-budget theater production. He makes this intense story a memorable experience. Simultaneous release with the St. Martin's hardcover (Reviews, May 14).
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is a novel about spying rather than a spy novel but as we all know Charles Cumming developed into one of our most polished and admired espionage writers. It explores a spy’s entry into his murky world, learning his craft and figuring out his motives. It is good stuff and sweeter for knowing what the writer will do with the skills he, like Milius, is learning
Dreary and pretentious.
I didn’t enjoy this at all. It consists of page after page of self regarding lifeless introspection by a dull and uninteresting character. The thin, dull plot is hidden beneath further interminable pages of detailed descriptions of insignificant ordinary places and things. A competent editor should have removed 80% of this manuscript. I cannot recommend and regret the time wasted reading it.