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The Hidden Man Paperback – 2 Mar 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (2 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140294775
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140294774
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 2.7 x 18.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 509,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Product Description

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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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Roget's Reader on 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aggieandco on 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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Helsinki Naisten on 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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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful By charles j owen on 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 By A Customer on 15 July 2003
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 By A Customer on 30 May 2003
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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