Six years ago, Alec Milius got out of the spy game after unbearably great personal cost and being drummed out by MI5. Now living in exile in Madrid, quietly and as far under the radar as possible, Milius keeps a constant eye out for the enemies he made, hoping to avoid any future involvement. Yet when a prominent politician goes missing, the urge that drove Milius to originally enter the spy game comes roaring back, and soon Alec finds himself in the midst of another international conspiracy in which he finds himself in the middle of a brutal power struggle. A compelling, modern espionage novel from a writer who, from his debut novel on, has been widely acclaimed as a modern master of the for
1 E x i l e
The door leading into the hotel is already open and I walk through it
into a low, wide lobby. Two South American teenagers are playing
Gameboys on a sofa near reception, kicking back in hundred-dollar
trainers while Daddy picks up the bill. The older of them swears
loudly in Spanish and then catches his brother square on the knot of
his shoulder with a dead arm that makes him wince in pain. A passing
waiter looks down, shrugs, and empties an ashtray at their table.
Theres a general atmosphere of listless indifference, of time passing
by to no end, the prerush lull of late afternoons.
"Buenas tardes, señor."
The receptionist is wide shouldered and artificially blond and I play the part of a tourist, making no effort to speak to her in Spanish.
"Good afternoon. I have a reservation here today."
"The name, sir?"
She ducks down and taps something into a computer. Then theres a smile, a little nod of recognition, and...
The Spanish Game does have idiosyncrasies that may lessen its appeal for some readers. Cumming's attention to the set-up in the first half may frustrate readers looking for an action-adventure novel ... In addition, the history of the Basque separatists is complex, and at times the way Cumming chooses to relate it comes off as clumsy -- too forced and too much like an encyclopedia entry ... Nevertheless, this is an exceptionally well-written addition to the genre. Readers who appreciate high-quality spy fiction will want to put this one high on their list.
(Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).
Full Review (1332 words).
Like many spy thrillers, The Spanish Game is awash in an
alphabet soup of acronyms. Below is a brief translation for the
MI5: "Military Intelligence, Section 5." Formed in 1909, MI5 is a UK counter-intelligence and security agency which concentrates its efforts mainly on security issues within the UK (approximately equivalent to the FBI). For more about the Military Intelligence Units & MI5 see the sidebar to At Risk by Stella Rimmington.
SIS: "Secret Intelligence Service" (sometimes incorrectly known as MI6). Formed in 1909 as the Secret Service Bureau, the SIS is the UK's external intelligence-gathering agency (approximately equivalent to the CIA). ...
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