“Charles Cumming has breathed new life into the spy novel.” —Ben Macintyre, bestselling author of A Spy Among Friends
Published in the UK as The Man Between
In this gripping contemporary thriller, reminiscent of the classic Casablanca, a successful spy novelist is drawn into a real-life espionage plot when he’s ordered to find a mysterious fugitive on the alluring but deadly streets of Morocco.
Renowned author Kit Carradine is approached by an MI6 officer with a seemingly straightforward assignment: to track down a mysterious woman hiding somewhere in the exotic, perilous city of Marrakesh. But when Carradine learns the woman is a dangerous fugitive with ties to international terrorism, the glamour of being a spy is soon tainted by fear and betrayal.
Lara Bartok is a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement whose brutal attacks on prominent right-wing public figures have spread hatred and violence across the world. Her disappearance ignites a race between warring intelligence services desperate to find her—at any cost. But as Carradine edges closer to the truth, he finds himself drawn to this brilliant, beautiful, and profoundly complex woman.
Caught between increasingly dangerous forces who want Bartok dead, Carradine soon faces an awful choice: to abandon Lara to her fate, or to risk everything trying to save her.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Charles Cumming’s novel is a ripped-from-the-headlines spy novel for the present day, where terrorists are egged on via social media and operatives arrange meetings over WhatsApp. London-based spy novelist Kit Carradine is bored with his tame existence, so he’s all in when a foreign intelligence officer approaches him with a mission to find a mysterious woman in Morocco. This seemingly simple and irresistible assignment gets wildly complicated before Kit’s even left the country. Cumming’s detailed and carefully constructed thriller made us realize we’ll never, ever get sick of spy thrillers.
At the start of this uneven spy novel from bestseller Cumming (The Trinity Six), thriller writer Kit Carradine is accosted on a London street by Robert Mantis, who claims to be a big fan of his books. Mantis, whose card identifies him as a British government "operational control center specialist," persuades Carradine to do some spying for the U.K. in Morocco, where he's to attend a literary event. His tasks: carry some cash to one of Mantis's associates and keep an eye out for a "remarkable young woman, cunning and unpredictable." In Morocco, Carradine succeeds in identifying the girl of the title: Lara Bartok, the former girlfriend of Ivan Simakov, the leader of a revolutionary group that's been kidnapping right-wing journalists. The Russian government wants to stop Simakov; the American government may also be involved. Cumming is a terrific stylist with a great sense of place, but the convoluted plot becomes tiresome. Readers will struggle to care about Carradine, a romantic dreaming of glory, who's more sad sack than hero.
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The Moroccan Girl
If looking for a spy novel with illogic and absurd story lines centered around inept British "agents" who constantly proclaim their moral and intellectual superiority over the hated Americans, then this is the read for you.