Charles Cumming - Shastrix Books

Charles Cumming

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A Divided Spy

A Divided Spy

Charles Cumming

16th August 2020

The third Thomas Kell novel is an interesting one. Everything that happens is a follow-up to what’s gone before, so it wouldn’t work as a standalone read, and my memory of the second book was a bit patchy and probably could have done with more of a refresher than this book gave.

Kell is surprised when an opportunity for revenge appears in front of him, and naturally he snaps it up. In keeping with the previous novels, it is really good at being a spy novel - the action moves at a decent pace and it keeps my attention reasonably well.

My struggle with this novel though is that it felt a bit light on plot. There are two plot lines, but it almost feels like one of them is the story that Cummings wants to tell, and the other is just there to add a bit more excitement to it, and so the two don’t feel well balanced or blended.

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A Colder War

A Colder War

Charles Cumming

29th July 2019

The second Thomas Kell novel sees the exiled former spy called back into action when his former boss suspects one of their colleagues of being a mole, leaking intelligence to Russia.

As with the first book, it really quickly grabbed my attention and was a compulsive read. There’s a lot going on, and yet the author manages to put it together in a way that’s easily readable and fun to roll along with.

I’ve really got back into spy novels recently and Cumming’s have been a big enabler of that. It’s the classic mix of exotic locations, mixing work and pleasure, and that impression of a secret world just below the surface that you can almost see out of the corner of your eye.

Another excellent story, and a series and author I will return to soon.

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A Foreign Country

A Foreign Country

Charles Cumming

15th December 2018

I’m not entirely sure where I picked up this, the first novel by Charles Cumming that I’ve read, but I’m very glad I did.

Thomas Kell is a recently excommunicated intelligence agent, struggling to find his place in the outside world, when the opportunity comes to find his way back in, when a case comes up that nobody on the inside can be trusted with.

I’ve got back into spy novels over the past few years, and I really loved this one. The character of Kell feels very real and relatable, and spending time with him was a pleasure. The plot is similarly enticing,

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Unreviewed books

A Spy By Nature
Box 88
The Hidden Man
The Man Between
The Spanish Game
The Trinity Six
Typhoon

Top books

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  2. A Divided Spy
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  4. A Foreign Country
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  6. A Colder War