A Spy By Nature
, Charles Cumming's first
novel, has drawn comparisons to Len Deighton and the early works
of John le Carré. If we must make comparison to Le Carré, and
when reviewing spy novels it seems de rigueur to do so, it would
not be to the early Smiley novels but to Le Carré's more recent
works such as Absolute Friends,
set in the post Cold-War
period when the lines between state-sponsored and private sector
intelligence have blurred.
We first meet Alec Milius in a dead-end job selling advertising
space in the Central European Business Review
publication of dubious reputation*. Through a chance contact he
is invited to apply to the Secret Intelligent Service (SIS).
Having gone through the rigorous selection process he is placed
in a covert position...
Beyond the Book
was born in Ayr,
Scotland in 1971. He was educated at
Eton and graduated from the University
of Edinburgh with First Class Honours in
English Literature in 1994. In the
summer of 1995, he was approached for
recruitment by the Secret Intelligence
Service (SIS), also known as MI6. The
recruitment process described in A
Spy By Nature
is apparently based
closely on his own experience to the
point that he has been accused of
breaking the spirit of the Officials
Secret Act (as
explained in an essay on his website).
A year later he moved to Montreal where
he began working on a...