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Typhoon Audio CD – 1 Nov 2008


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks; Unabridged Audiobook edition (1 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1407427482
  • ISBN-13: 978-1407427485
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,216,564 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

Hong Kong 1997 - only a few short months of British rule remain before the territory returns to Chinese rule. It's a febrile place. And in that claustrophobic environment of uncertainty and fear the spooks are hard at work, jostling for position and influence. So when an elderly man emerges from the seas off the New Territories, claiming to know secrets he will share only with the Governor himself, a young MI6 agent, Joe Lennox, sees an opportunity to make his reputation. But when the old man, a high-profile Chinese professor, is spirited away in the middle of the night by Joe's superiors, in collusion with the CIA, it's clear that there's a great deal more than a young spy's career at stake. The professor, it seems, holds the key to a sinister and ambitious plan that could have awesome and catastrophic repercussions for China in the 21st century.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aggieandco on 22 Nov 2010
Format: Paperback
From the opening pages of Typhoon, Charles Cumming captures his audience with his best novel so far. Typhoon is set in Hong Kong in the final months of British rule with politics and espionage at the forefront of this brilliantly written novel. Cumming has a unique way of combining clever character profiles with his familiarly well researched plot and a sexy love triangle thrown into the mix. A thoroughly excellent book which can only be recommended and I look forward to more great things from a fine author.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Bones VINE VOICE on 26 May 2009
Format: Paperback
I find that I only review books that I really like, probably because there are too many that I think that are mediocre or even truly awful. So for the few books I have reviewed I have given 5 or on the odd occasion, 4 stars. Now I find myself more than just a bit constrained by the scoring system. I need more stars !!

Because Charles Cumming is exceptional. His Alec Milius trilogy were also very fine spy novels but now with Typhoon he has produced something quite different. Typhoon is a big novel with big characters and big issues. It meets the first requirement of a thriller; it is truly gripping, often not because of breath-taking action scenes, although there are plenty of those, but simply because of the way the dialogue crackles and fizzes off the page, or the way he captures the excitement of a particular scene. Even if you have never been to Hong Kong or China you are going to feel as if you are right there.

But this is more that just a top class thriller. The author is demonstrating that he can populate a wide canvas with multiple and fascinating characters, move around the world and between decades, take on political and cultural issues, and, from this potentially complex mix, produce that most rare of things; a great novel which is also a great adventure.

We are seeing a young author just getting into his stride and, seeing the jump he has made between his third and fourth novels, well, anything is possible. So hold those comparisons ! As another reviewer says, in Charles Cumming we may have a true original.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Traveller on 11 Mar 2009
Format: Paperback
Once more Charles Cumming does not disappoint. Typhoon is a fast moving and fascinating insight into a side of China that is for the most part unknown. Few had heard of the Uighur minority in the North Western part of this vast country. Strangely life imitated art in that some months after the launch of the book there were indeed troubles in the region. This serves to confirm the detailed research which Cumming always exhibits in his novels and which, combined with his considerable powers of description confirm his position as one of our leading young writers of today. A fascinating story.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Thomas H. Burroughes on 1 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found out about Charles Cumming via a friend at Facebook, and having read his first novel, subsequently went through Typhoon in a matter of a few days. It is consistently excellent. He captures the chaos, nervousness and exhuberance of Hong Kong leading up to the 1997 handover, and fast-forwards deftly into the quasi-capitalist China of our own time. One can really feel what it is like to work there.

There are no clever gadgets, no silly car chases, or gimmicks. But I reckon that even Ian Fleming himself would have loved this book for its mixture of realism and excellent characterisations. And the twist at the end is worth waiting for.

The central character, Joe Lennox, is likeable but not sanctimonious. It is totally believable that a man like that works in the SIS.

We want more!
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Michael Stotter on 2 Jun 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If John Le Carré modernized the image of the seedier image of the British Secret Service, then Cumming's new book Typhoon combines the traditional with the contemporary of the spying game. It also signifies Cumming as perhaps the most noteworthy writer to arrive since, say, Le Carré or Frederick Forsyth.

With the end of the Cold War, writers have had to look for other political arenas for their character to perform in. Some naturally led to confrontations with Al Qaeda or other terrorist but many have focused on the glamorous (if it can be called that) side. In Typhoon, Cumming's approaches an old "enemy" from a new angle with great sensitivity. Basically Typhoon is a political thriller about a CIA plot to destabilize China on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. British SIS are involved from the start as the novel begins at the time of the handing over sovereignty of Hong Kong and spans a decade. The novel also focuses on the plight of the Muslim inhabitants of the Xinhiang region of the People's Republic of China, and it is used as a pawn by the CIA to bring about this destablization. The question is: how can the SIS prevent this?

It is also a story of three main characters whose lives are inextricably entwined, making for a novel that's poignant without ever giving into outright happiness. You get the feeling from the outset that SIS agent Joe Lennox's relationship with Isabella is doomed from the start. Basically because if something is coveted so much, there is a price to pay. And the thorn in his side is CIA agent Miles Coolidge. It is the dynamics of these characters that drives the novel.

Cumming has a knack of description that brings the novel alive, capturing Shanghai or Hong Kong so visually you actually feel you are there.
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