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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Foreign Country -Excellent spy thriller
Spy fiction has an impressive list of luminaries, John Buchan, Erskine Childers, Len Deighton, John Le Carre and so on to which I feel you can add, Charles Cumming.

Tom Kell is an MI6 agent who has left the department under a cloud and finding life tedious, outside the service, is enticed back to working for the department.

The task he is given is no...
Published on 9 April 2012 by Champollion

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick easy read
Saw this book in Tesco for £1.95 and read the back cover, recommendations and the first page and thought it would be a good 24 hour read. It proved to be just that. Ingredients good especially in the first half. Mixed and cooked well. Characters all right. Up to date on the spy industry issues. After the middle twist in the story it became more run of the mill. Enjoyed...
Published 21 months ago by Alexander Kreator


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82 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Foreign Country -Excellent spy thriller, 9 April 2012
By 
Champollion (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
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Spy fiction has an impressive list of luminaries, John Buchan, Erskine Childers, Len Deighton, John Le Carre and so on to which I feel you can add, Charles Cumming.

Tom Kell is an MI6 agent who has left the department under a cloud and finding life tedious, outside the service, is enticed back to working for the department.

The task he is given is no ordinary one. The new head of MI6 Amelia Levene has gone missing and he must investigate and find her. There are lots of twists and surprises along the way and nothing is quite as it seems.

"A Foreign Country" is a supremely structured story, impressively written, with sharp dialogue and an authentic, gripping plot-line, which I found to be a page turner. It is an engaging tale with credible characters and one which will hold your attention from the first page to the last.

Will this be the last story involving British agent Tom Kell? There is scope for more and it would be well worth another run. This book may not have the complex, analytical depth of Le Carre, but it is an entertaining read.

If spy thrillers are to your taste, then look no further, this is top drawer. Recommended.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sexy plot, good dialogue - great spy thriller, 27 May 2013
By 
Lynda V. Mccarthy "book-kitten" (Surrey, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Foreign Country (Kindle Edition)
Charles Cunning is one of my favourite British spy fiction writers of today. His novels are beginning to surpass some of my all time British spy fiction favourites like Desmond Cory's Dead Man Falling which share many similarities such as a sexy plot, good dialogue, and a certain English charm about the main characters. Cunning's novels are perhaps more serious in their nature, and they are all the better for it. I strongly recommend his novels, and A Foreign Country is among his best.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An odd disappearance, a kidnapping, a vicious double murder and we're OFF!, 14 Jun. 2012
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
An odd disappearance, a kidnapping, a vicious double murder and we're OFF! Thomas Kell has been hoisted abruptly from England's Special Intelligence Services for mishandling a case. He's drifting, he's destroying his already fragile marriage, he has no direction. Spying is all that truly interests him. Then the call comes from a former co-worker asking him to work freelance to find his missing friend and former boss, Amelia Levine, who's gone missing on the eve of her promotion to head of the service.

The settings are Tunisia right after the recent Arab Spring, England and France. He's back in his element which is why, after locating Amelia and reporting his findings back to headquarters, he can't let things go. He continues to look for answers. Who is Amelia with and why is she with them? What is their relationship? Thomas and Amelia have also been friends over the years they've worked together which also makes this case more personal for Kell. He wants to make sure she's safe in the odd circumstances in which he finds her.

There are plenty of twists and turns in this tale but it's not over complicated as some espionage fiction can be. The action is based in reality and is character driven. Kell's thoughts and movements seem logical as do his contemplations concerning his personal life. He loves his wife and wants to make it work but, as always, his work gets in the way. So does his wife's drinking. This is the first Charles Cumming book I've read and though there were references to previous books it was still easy to follow. Perhaps I missed some of the depth that Kell's back story would have provided but it was an intriguing, action packed story. Also, it was well written and as already stated believable. Very entertaining.

4.5/5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 4 April 2013
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. I thought the storytelling was crisp and the plot moved along at a snappy pace making it a page turner. A few years ago I read Cumming's first book - A Spy by Nature - and didn't really rated it, this book is different and well worth reading. OK there are some plot points you feel that wouldn't happen but are other spy books that different? Thoroughly recommended.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Spy Story., 13 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: A Foreign Country (Kindle Edition)
Charles Cumming's best to date. The main characters from his previous book-'Typhoon' are all present and the
story develops naturally from their earlier relationships. one has to admire the skill with which Cumming fleshes out his characters
and their habitats in great detail whilst still maintaining a good pace in this topical, realistic and complex story. SUPERB.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Spy novel, and the bad guys are from....., 25 April 2012
By 
Kenneth C. Mahieu (McLean, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
A Foreign Country doesn't feel like a spy novel because the other side is major European power generally thought of as an ally. So it's reminiscent of the old Mad magazine Spy v Spy cartoons, except for the dead bodies. A newly appointed Chief of MI6 is missing and a forcibly retired agent is brought in from the cold to find her before it becomes a major embarrassment for the Brits. Strengths: Another well written book by Cumming, well-paced, interesting, lots of foreign locations with excellent descriptions. There are several long passages about the craft of the spy business, including how to distract a hotel clerk so that the desk computer can be searched for guest info. Good spy vs. spy stuff. Weaknesses: Many modern spy novels go out of the way to pop the few remaining assumptions we make about who the good guys are and where the lines fall which demarc moral, or at least acceptable, behavior. But Foreign Country seems to go a bit too far and really stretches credibility in casting the French, particularly its intelligence services, in their roles. The ending was OK, but not exactly nail-biting. I much preferred Trinity Six, but will read more Cumming.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Quick easy read, 2 May 2013
By 
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Paperback)
Saw this book in Tesco for £1.95 and read the back cover, recommendations and the first page and thought it would be a good 24 hour read. It proved to be just that. Ingredients good especially in the first half. Mixed and cooked well. Characters all right. Up to date on the spy industry issues. After the middle twist in the story it became more run of the mill. Enjoyed the read but will not read again.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent spy thriller, 28 Nov. 2012
By 
Wintings (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
Charles Cumming is a writer whose spy novels (apart from the rather disappointing "Typhoon") rank with the very best in the genre. If you like the novels of Charles McCarry, David Ignatius, Alan Judd, Alan Furst or David Downing you will certainly enjoy this latest one by Mr Cumming.

One minor niggle, though. Would someone please tell Mr Cumming and his proof-reader that people who have made their home in a foreign country are expatriates, not ex-patriots. They may indeed no longer be patriotic, and so be ex-patriots, but this is not the meaning he was trying to convey when writing of the "ex-patriot community" and referring frequently to "ex-pats".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disgraced intelligence officer - Thomas Kell returns, 13 Mar. 2012
By 
Susman "Susman" (London Mills IL) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
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After the demise of the Ottoman Empire, who had joined the losing side during the First World War, both France and Britain carved out slices of Middle East and North Africa for themselves. So begins a long history of control and influence in the region by these nations. The Latest manifestations show the almost central role these countries still play, by their involvement to varying degrees in the so called `Arab Spring'. It is apt then Mr Cumming latest novel seems very up to date with current events being played out today.
This is a sophisticated spy thriller which is cleverly constructed with attention to detail. There is an interesting and intriguing back story of disgraced intelligence officer - Thomas Kell. Mr Kell for those who have read Mr Cumming's other books is our main protagonist here, and from the beginning, he does not disappoint, and we soon became immersed in his thrilling quest to find the missing female chief of MI6 Ms Amelia Levene. Our Ms Levene has disappeared while on holiday in France before taking up her new post. For if she has been compromised then the consequences for MI6 are too terrible to imagine. Please note Kell is no James Bond but a flawed character with his troubles and demons, `to boot' his methods of work are outside what may be considered the norm, and that makes this novel all the more realistic in my eyes. From the opening sequence in Tunisia, through to the thrilling final conclusion, the story evolves at a furious pace, with enough twists, turns and red herrings in the plot to gratify the most demanding of bibliophiles. The combination of good characterisation, a plausible narrative and a nail biting finish, make this a book a must on your reading list.
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good.....but not excellent, 1 April 2012
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This review is from: A Foreign Country (Hardcover)
I have read all of Charles Cummings' novels and he is a fine writer. His latest - A Foreign Country - is another really top notch read. The comparison to John Le Carre is, I think, wrong. Cummings' books develop into the fast paced thriller and he is one of the best writers who do this. But he does not have the literary style, depth and sophistication of Le Carre - what another reviewer complained of as 'over indulgent and boring'. My only complaint about this book is that the ending was too predictable. But the 'fundamental idea' of the book was brilliant - but it would have needed John Le Carre to have really exposed the complete ruthlessness that must lie at the heart of any country's Secret Service.
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A Foreign Country
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming (Paperback - 28 Mar. 2013)
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