Internationally acclaimed as "a premier writer of espionage thrillers" (USA Today), Charles Cumming is "among the most skillful spy novelists" (Washington Post) and "a worthy successor to the masters…like John le Carré and Len Deighton" (Chicago Sun-Times).
Now, with A Colder War, Cumming returns with MI6 agent Tom Kell, in a tour de force that will dazzle readers and critics alike.
A top-ranking Iranian military official is blown up while trying to defect to the West. An investigative journalist is arrested and imprisoned for writing an article critical of the Turkish government. An Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated on the streets of Tehran. These three incidents, seemingly unrelated, have one crucial link. Each of the three had been recently recruited by Western intelligence, before being removed or killed.
Then Paul Wallinger, MI6's most senior agent in Turkey, dies in a puzzling plane crash. Fearing the worst, MI6 bypasses the usual protocol and brings disgraced agent Tom Kell in from the cold to investigate. Kell soon discovers what Wallinger had already begun to suspect—that there's a mole somewhere in the Western intelligence, a traitor who has been systematically sabotaging scores of joint intelligence operations in the Middle East.
Cumming's intricate sequel to 2012's A Foreign Country finds British operative Thomas Kell, who's been indefinitely suspended from the SIS, reevaluating his life between pints of pale ale at a London pub. But when the call comes from "C" SIS's first female chief, Amelia Levene Kell is back in the game, tasked with unraveling the mystery surrounding the suspicious death of Paul Wallinger, an SIS agent stationed in Turkey who happened to be C's former lover. The death, coupled with the murders of a growing number of "assets" throughout the region and the failure of numerous joint operations between SIS and the CIA, point to a mole inside western intelligence whose existence threatens every SIS operation and operative in the Middle East. It's hard not to root for a character like Kell deeply cynical but still very much an idealist and the bombshell plot twists toward the novel's conclusion will have spy fiction aficionados eagerly awaiting the next installment.
Great book. Highly recommended.
A Colder War
Typically excellent. Hope there's more Kell to come.
A master of the genre
I've read all his books and he never lets me down. Stands in the ranks of le Carré, Furst, Greene, etc.