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
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).
A well-crafted and necessary purchase for espionage fiction collections in all public libraries.
Starred Review. This is spy fiction of the highest order; Cumming deserves to be ranked with the best of the genre's practitioners.
The Observer (UK)
Charles Cumming is probably the best of the new generation of British spy writers who are taking over where Le Carré and Deighton left off.
The Sunday Telegraph (UK) The Spanish Game shows why Charles Cumming has won so much praise for his contemporary spy stories…Cumming has woven an intricate web from a combination of fact - Spanish history and politics, terrorism and the links between them - and a fictional story about a secret dirty war involving America's allies at a crucial stage of their war in Iraq. It's impressive and convincing, with a stunning twist at the end.
The Times (UK)
The factual background is detailed and accurate, the first-person narration edgy and direct, the plot a suitably messy, just plausible reflection of the muddled reality of a dirty game in a dirty world. If Cumming keeps up this standard he deserves to become an institution in his own right.
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). During World War II, SIS adopted the name
MI6 as a 'flag of convenience', becoming one of 17 wartime military
intelligence units. The name MI6 fell out of official use years ago
but much of the media still refers to the SIS as such. For more
about the SIS, see the sidebar to Cumming's...
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