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The Hidden Man [Kindle Edition]

Charles Cumming
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

Perfect for fans of John le Carré, a gripping and suspenseful spy thriller from ‘the master of the modern spy thriller’ (Mail on Sunday)

Mark and Benjamin Keen have not seen their father, Christopher, for more than twenty years.

When he reappears, hoping for a reconciliation, he has only just begun to shed light on his life as a master spy when he is murdered in cold blood by an unidentified assassin.

Was his death connected to his MI6 past? Did Christopher uncover a dangerous conspiracy involving his elder son? And what were his links to Moscow, Afghanistan and the Russian mafia in London?

To discover the truth – and avenge their father’s death – the brothers are drawn into the legacy of his life as a spy.

And inheritance can be deadly…


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Review

'Always intriguing...confirms that he is a talent to watch out for' -- Mail on Sunday

'Compelling...Charles Cumming is a man put on this earth to perpetuate the spy thriller' -- Daily Telegraph

'Disquieting, brutal, riveting. I hardly dared put the book down' -- Literary Review

About the Author

Charles Cumming was born in Scotland in 1971. Author of the bestselling thrillers A Spy by Nature and The Hidden Man, The Spanish Game is his third novel.

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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
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The undiscovered master of spy fiction 31 May 2007
Format:Paperback
Why has nobody told me about Charles Cumming? I bought The Spanish Game in 06 and thought it was superb so worked my way through his other books, A Spy By Nature and this one - The Hidden Man. It's a dense read, but a fascinating insight into what happens to families when one of their members (or more...) gets wrapped up in the world of espionage. It's not Ludlum-light. You need to keep concentrating and to remember who all the characters are, but it's extremely well written and very tense. Highly recommended if you want something with a bit more meat on it than Andy McNab or Stella Rimington.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 13 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Having read all of Cumming's books had pre-ordered The Hidden Man and looked forward to its arrival on my Kindle. However, I am half-way through the book and have set it aside as I cannot summon the interest to continue. The story starts well, interest is building in the characters and then, well, nothing happens. The idea of the 2 brothers and their relationship with their estranged father being a centre-piece is flawed as it goes into so much detail and, really, who gives a ----? None of these characters - the father and 2 sons - is interesting enough to me to care about how they feel. I bought the book as a thriller/spy novel - it certainly isn't thrilling to me and the intrigue angle is wedged between the angst of the brothers. Groan. Oh dear, let's hope Cumming's next book is better than this one. For me, this one's a dead loss.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden Man 7 Jun. 2003
Format:Paperback
If you want a book to keep you up in the small hours of the morning this is it. The suspense and intrigue of Cumming's second book is intelligently created and well written. The book deals cleverly with international espionage giving the reader an interesting behind the scenes look at what really goes on in the big bad world. Cumming's characters are colourful and familiar and yet unpredictable. A suspenseful thriller you have to add to your collection - it certainly won't sit on the shelf for long.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blows the bloody doors off 12 Jun. 2003
Format:Paperback
There was a famous review of an early Bruce Springsteen concert that ran along the lines of "I've seen the future of rock'n'roll - and his name is Bruce Springsteen". Well, I've just read the future of spy fiction, and if there's any justice it will be Charles Cumming. This is as immaculately plotted a thriller as you could want, with the added bonus - rare in the genre - of plausibility, literacy, and an understanding of how people tick.
The storyline is simple, and none the worse for it. Patrician M16 officer comes in from the cold to try to patch up relations with the sons he walked out on 30 years before, but just as the thaw begins he is murdered. Brother 1 - thrusting executive for a Ministry of Sound-style club - joins forces with Brother 2 - layabout artist with a flirtatious journalist wife - to find out who bumped off their old man, but are soon out of their depth as Russian gangsters and MI5 muscle in and the safety catches come off.
What distinguishes the book is partly Cumming's deft observation of contemporary London - though there is no shortage of characters meeting sticky ends, the mood in general is much more "bling-bling" than "bang-bang" - and also his grasp of human relations and motivations. It is this, rather than standard gung-ho action, that drives the book, and so renders the characters credible. The Hidden Man is thus much more of a spy novel in the tradition of Maugham or Le Carre than your average, thick-eared beach read, although Cumming's own time as an MI6 trainee (which he drew on in his previous book, A Spy By Nature) means that, as in Maugham and Greene's work, there is also no shortage of inside information on how the intelligence game is really played. Strongly recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than A Spy By Nature 15 July 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I enjoyed Charles Cumming's first book, A Spy By Nature, enormously, but The Hidden Man is even better. The complex plot revolves around two brothers whose father abandoned them when they were children to join MI6. Elegantly written and gripping from the first page to the last, I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes "intelligent" thrillers.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surpsassing the genre 30 May 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It can take a long time for so-called 'genre authors' to get the respect that their literary skills deserve. With his second book, Charles Cumming should win that battle. Espionage fans can relax, The Hidden Man' is a thriller - and a fine one - but the quality of the writing makes it much more than that. He has a real talent for bringing a scene or human face to life with one telling detail. The dialogue has both the natural swing and the uneasy depth of real speech. The storytelling is taut and gripping but never sacrifices truthfulness for plot. Readers of the first novel will notice themes re-appearing and being developed; the ever-shifting gap between appearance and reality, the way lies are woven into our most intimate relationships. It's great to read a writer who doesn't use these ideas as the jump-off point for pages of 'high-prose' but clearly sees that they are the stuff of life. With the hip young authors of the US + UK disappearing up their own neuroses, I believe that Genre is the last refuge of uncluttered writing that features real people. Graham Greene and John Le Carre set the worldwide standard for stories that combine intrigue with thoughtful investigations of the human character. Charles Cumming is one of the inheritors of that legacy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as the others
I'm glad this wasn't the first book I read by this author; I wouldn't have gone any further. I enjoyed some of his other books very much, so this was a real disappointment; a... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Cremola Foam
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
He's a great find, spy stories done with style and verve
Published 22 days ago by david mclenachan
1.0 out of 5 stars Long winded
Read this novel followed by The Kill List by Fredrick Forsyth, one i had to force myself to pick up the other i couldn"t put down. Read more
Published 25 days ago by caroline
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Convoluted plot but almost believeable.
Published 1 month ago by John
4.0 out of 5 stars Another age turner
A complex and satisfying read.
Published 1 month ago by Silvery surfer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Pretty disjointed
Published 2 months ago by roderick's reads
3.0 out of 5 stars Too slow at beginning became bored and who was the hidden man
Too slow at beginning became bored and who was the hidden man?????
Published 4 months ago by maryagreda
2.0 out of 5 stars ... reviewers have said - that this is probably the worst of Charles...
I have to concur with what other reviewers have said - that this is probably the worst of Charles Cumming's books. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jonathan A Hesford
3.0 out of 5 stars While I enjoyed this book I didn't find it especially gripping and ...
While I enjoyed this book I didn't find it especially gripping and it lacked the tension that one expects from a thriller. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Tony Silcock
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another fantastic novel by this author
Published 6 months ago by No name
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