A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming

‘A Foreign Country’ starts off describing a series of seemingly unrelated events then draws them together in an intricate and exciting plot.

In 1978 a young British girl working as an au-pair in Tunisia has an affair with her boss and gets pregnant. An elderly French couple on holiday in Egypt are brutally murdered while walking on a beach. A Frenchman is kidnapped on the streets of Paris and held in an isolated location. 42 year old Thomas Kell has been forced out of MI6 in disgrace after working with the Americans in Iraq where interrogation turned into torture. Amelia Levene has been promoted to the top job in MI6, but, while visiting France before taking up her new position, she disappears.

Thomas Kell is called in (off the books) to find his long term friend Amelia. What he discovers has the potential to completely alter the direction of British intelligence, and change the British intelligence community’s relationship with their counterparts in France.

 

What I really enjoyed about this book was that it was incredibly realistic. The characters were believably flawed and many of them have a conscience – regarding their work and their private lives. This meant that I didn’t have to wade through mass murder and pointless sex scenes that seem to be part of many spy novels.

The story involved a great build-up of tension. Even though we find out what is going on fairly early in the book, the results don’t become apparent till near the end. The incorporation of current events – such as uprisings in Arab countries such as Egypt and Tunisia – was excellent.

I’ve heard that this book was slower paced than some of Cummings’ other novels. Even though I quite enjoyed the pace of this one, I’m looking forward to reading some of the earlier books starting with ‘A Spy by Nature’.

 

Book Published 2012

 

See a full list of books by Charles Cumming

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Filed under Book Reviews, Cumming, Charles, Spy, Thriller

One Response to A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming

  1. Pingback: A Divided Spy by Charles Cumming | Written Gems

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