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The Spanish Game (Alec Milius Book 2) [Kindle Edition]

Charles Cumming
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A vivid and gripping novel from ‘the master of the modern spy thriller’ (Mail on Sunday) which sees Alec Milius coaxed back into the secret world to face the uncontainable danger of 21st century terrorism…

For six years, Alec Milius has escaped the past. In Madrid, he has rebuilt his life, but remains in exile and in danger.

Slightly older, and much wiser, than the young spy who first impressed MI6, he has kept his fatal attraction to secrets. So when a prominent politician mysteriously disappears, Alec is lured back into the spying game.

Only this time he operates without the protection of any official agency – isolated and expendable, with nobody to turn to if things go wrong. And they soon do.

But when Alec is confronted with the nightmare of modern terrorism, he is given one last chance for redemption…

Books In This Series (2 Books)
Complete Series

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    Product Description


    'A cracking good spy thriller… the serprentine twists and the unflaggingly realistic suspense leave you breathless, but spellbound’ Daily Mail

    'The Man who most successfully gets under the skin of Britain's intelligence agencies' The Times

    'From the first page to the last it has the ring of absolute authenticity. Tautly written, cleverly plotted…it reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carré' Robert Harris, author of Fatherland and The Ghost

    'A wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel – vivid and disturbing – immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance' William Boyd, author of Restless

    ‘Terrific…vividly realised…as strong on emotional literacy as it is on spycraft’ New Statesman

    Daily Mail

    'Cracking ... the serpentine twists and the unflaggingly realistic
    suspense leave you breathless, but spellbound.'

    Product details

    • Format: Kindle Edition
    • File Size: 1550 KB
    • Print Length: 395 pages
    • Publisher: Harper (15 Sept. 2011)
    • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0007416938
    • ISBN-13: 978-0007416936
    • ASIN: B005IH0M62
    • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
    • X-Ray:
    • Word Wise: Enabled
    • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
    • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
    • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,076 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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    More About the Author

    Charles Cumming is a British writer of spy fiction. He was educated at Eton College (1985-1989) and the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994), where he graduated with 1st Class Honours in English Literature. The Observer has described him as "the best of the new generation of British spy writers who are taking over where John le Carré and Len Deighton left off".

    In 1995, Charles Cumming was approached for recruitment by the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A Spy By Nature, a novel partly based on his experiences with MI6, was published in 2001. The novel's hero, Alec Milius, is a flawed loner in his early 20s who is recruited by MI6 to sell doctored research data on oil exploration in the Caspian Sea to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

    In 2001, Charles Cumming moved to Madrid. His second novel, The Hidden Man (2003), tells the story of two brothers investigating the murder of their father, a former SIS officer, at the hands of the Russian mafia. The Hidden Man also examines the clandestine role played by SIS and the CIA during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

    Charles Cumming's third novel, The Spanish Game (2006), marks the return of anti-hero Alec Milius, who becomes involved in a plot by the paramilitary Basque nationalist organization ETA to bring down the Spanish government. The Spanish Game was described by The Times as one of the six finest spy novels of all time, alongside Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Funeral in Berlin and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

    Typhoon, published in 2008, is a political thriller about a CIA plot to destabilise China on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. The story spans the decade from the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997 to present-day Shanghai. In particular, the author highlights the plight of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, a semi-autonomous region of The People's Republic of China. The acclaimed novelist William Boyd described Typhoon as "a wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel - vivid and disturbing - immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance."

    In March 2008, Charles Cumming published an interactive online story, The 21 Steps, as part of a Penguin We Tell Stories project. Readers follow the protagonist's travels through Google Maps. Cumming's novels have been translated into six languages. His work is published in the United States by St Martin's Press. In 2009, Cumming left Penguin to join Harper Collins. His fifth novel, The Trinity Six, a thriller about the Cambridge spies, will be published in February 2011.

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    Customer Reviews

    Most Helpful Customer Reviews
    24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Top Drawer 7 Feb. 2006
    Was delighted to find out that Alec Milius has returned. Charles Cumming has researched this book superbly and our hero returns a few years older but still paranoid and with the essence of his character still in tact which is refreshing in a sequel. Set in Madrid our hero takes on a foreign city with enthusiasm and too much trust in the wrong people. Alec is caught up with ETA and without giving too much away there are parts that really shake you to the core. This is not for the faint hearted as it has everything you want in a thriller. Intelligently written, well plotted and in true Cumming style a book you will want to tell all your friends about as it will keep you up most of the night. Welcome back Alec Milius.
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    26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Almost perfect 23 Oct. 2007
    By Donaldo
    I think this is the strongest novel Charles Cumming has produced to date. He has matured quite a bit since his first novel, A Spy By Nature. It was a good decision to re-visit the main character from the first novel, Alec Milius, who is now in exile in Madrid, working for a British finance company. He fills his time having an affair with his boss's wife, and being paranoid that enemies from his previous life in Britain working for MI5 are still out to get him. His counter-surveillance measures he carries out partly out of necessity, but also partly because he enjoys the secret life, and hasn't been able to let go of it.

    The setting in Madrid is good, a refreshing break from the previous two novels set in London. Alec Milius is asked to explore the possibility of his finance company investing in Basque country, and in the course of various meetings, he spends an evening with a former Basque activist and politician. They get on, and agree to meet up at a later date. But on his way to meet Alec, the politician disappears. Suspecting foul play, Alec cannot help himself but investigate, and in doing so, he gets drawn into Basque politics, ETA, and back into the murky world of espionage.

    It's not a perfect thriller, but it's an improvement on his first two novels. The plotting is smoother and more effective. Unlike other reviewers, I would argue that ending is not that good - for me it was a contrivance too far. I couldn't fault anything up to that point. This is mostly because Alex Milius is such a convincing, fascinating creation. Charles Cumming makes a passing reference in the novel to The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, which is a fair comparison. Both Ripley and Milius have tremendous talents, but also the seeds of their own destruction within their character flaws.
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    5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Easily his best book yet 18 Jan. 2006
    By A Customer
    I was a big fan of Charles Cumming's previous two books but The Spanish Game takes him to a different level altogether. The action picks up about six years after the end of A Spy By Nature. Alec Milius, the hero of the first book, has been living all over Europe on the run from the CIA and MI6. Now he's settled in Madrid, is having an affair with his boss's wife, completely paranoid about being followed/arrested, etc. I can't tell you how gripping the book is. From the very first page you're completely pulled into this guy's very weird, paranoid world, but it's totally realistic. Alec gets involved with the Basque terrorist group ETA. Suffice to say there's a torture scene which literally had me sweating. An absoluetly fabulous read, could well be the thriller of 2006.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars Super book 19 Mar. 2006
    By A Customer
    There is a line late on in this book where our hero muses that "my life has become a Rubik's cube which is simply impossible to solve" and certainly there are enough twists and turns in The Spanish Game to make even Dan Brown blink, but this is such an intelligent book that the plot never feels false. And Alec Milius is a great protagonist. He has enough natural talents to get into and out of hair-raising situations in a believable fashion but is suffiently hapless for the reader to identify.
    Charles Cumming seems to have a "voice" all of his own (so my reference to Dan Brown wasn't ment to imply any comparison) and if this is what he is writing in just his third book he should have a terrific future. He certainly has the feel of a star in the making.
    I believe that Spanish Game marks the end of the "trilogy" and that the author's next book is a stand-alone set in China. I am already eagerly waiting for that one.
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    4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars FRESHNESS ON EVERY PAGE AND PARAGRAPH 28 Feb. 2006
    Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
    Alex Milius is tall, lonely and obsessed with his past having loused up his earlier career with S.I.S. Living and working now in Spain as a so called investment banker he cannot help himself from being pulled back into the dirty world of spying, which confirms the title of Cumming's first novel 'A SPY BY NATURE' His ability to write a full length spy thriller in the first person present is nothing short of brilliant, but what crowns this masterpiece of modern story telling is the fresh flow of prose on every page. Repetition, so often the bane of lesser writers never once occurs in phrase or expression.
    With an intense depth of research, the pages turn themselves effortlessly right up to the finish, leaving the reader slightly breathless and deprived of further enjoyment. Cumming's dedicatees will be deservedly proud of their selection.
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    Most Recent Customer Reviews
    4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting read.
    I liked it, but I think Alec Milius novel 1 needs to be read first, otherwise some of it might be confusing. The characters are developed and Alec gets his chance to make amends. Read more
    Published 6 days ago by Roz
    2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
    Too clever for its own good
    Published 8 days ago by James R Kennedy
    5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
    A spy story with a difference. The main character wants to be a spy but who is managing him?
    Published 8 days ago by Paul
    3.0 out of 5 stars Fatally flawed
    This is a goodish, engaging thriller from a now reliable author. But re-reading it recently I was struck by a glaring and, really, fatal flaw in the plotting. Read more
    Published 12 days ago by Arturo
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Read this carefully for it is devious to say the least
    Published 29 days ago by Scitch
    4.0 out of 5 stars good stuff
    good stuff from Cummings
    Published 1 month ago by Osmond
    5.0 out of 5 stars A great Alec Milius adventure.
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A good tale and plot with lots of twists and turns. Readable and believable.
    Published 1 month ago by Ian McFarland
    4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
    Maybe not his best but still a good read
    Published 1 month ago by judith williamson
    3.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed with Book 2
    It's five years after the end of A Spy by Nature and Alec Milius, now complete with several false passports and five different bank accounts has opted for the anonymity of a new... Read more
    Published 2 months ago by Terry D
    5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
    Brilliant,convoluted , couldn't put it down
    Published 2 months ago by grumpy
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