A Book Spy Review: ‘A Divided Spy’ By Charles Cumming

Charles Cumming A divided Spy.jpgThomas Kell, a former MI6 officer who left the world of spying behind, gets pulled back into the shadows when he’s offered a shot at revenge.

A year ago, MI6 Agent Rachel Wallinger, Kell’s girlfriend, was killed when a mission went terribly wrong. Kell, now retired, has carried a deep hatred for Alexander Minasian, the man he blames for Wallinger’s death, ever since. 

Minasian, a high-ranking Russian SVR officer, has been off the MI6’s radar since the botched mission took place. That changed when Harold Mowbray–who has worked with British Intelligence agencies throughout his career as a private contractor–spotted him at a luxury resort in Egypt. While not much was known about Minasian prior to Mowbray’s running into him, Harold’s surveillance of him turned up a surprising chink in the Russian’s armor. 

As fate would have it, the Russian was not alone during his stay at the fine Red Sea resort. Accompanying him was his secret lover, a German man named Bernhard Riedle. And the two were observed arguing and fighting throughout their time together before Minasian left alone. 

As Harold Mowbray relays this information to Kell over dinner, the retired spy begins formulating a plan to get close to Minasian by using Bernhard Riedle, which is easier said than done. With the blessing of his MI6 handler, Kell sets his plan into motion. 

Using a veteran spy trick, Kell finds a way to introduce himself to Bernhard, under false pretenses of course, and befriends the man while keeping his true identity and motives a secret. One thing leads to another, and eventually he gains enough trust for Riedle to begin spilling details about his affair with a Russian spy. 

Cumming lays out his story with authority and confidence, pulling readers along at a fast clip. The real fun, though, comes when an unexpected plot shift takes hold, revealing a well-referenced character to be a major player. Suddenly, Kell finds himself at a crossroads between satisfying his thirst for revenge and pursuing a new lead suggesting there is a large-scale attack in the works. 

What was once a low-key personal mission for Thomas Kell quickly grows into something much larger, with much more at stake. 

A choice must be made, and either way, it’s bound to have serious ramifications for Kell. Without giving anything away, the daring, complex conclusion to Cumming’s latest novel is a satisfying ending to a cunning tale of espionage. 

Written in the same vein as legendary spy writers John le Carré and Daniel Silva, A Divided Spy proves that Charles Cumming’s is among the genre’s most talented authors working today. 

Book Details

Author: Charles Cumming
Series: Thomas Kell #3
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250021049
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: February 14, 2017 (Order Now!)

 

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