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78 of 84 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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10 of 11 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 15 months ago by Alexander Kreator


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78 of 84 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
(REAL NAME)   
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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3 of 3 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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10 of 11 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good pace but not Le Carre, 14 April 2013
By 
Dougie (Bradford, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Foreign Country (Kindle Edition)
I bout this because it has been likened to Le Carre. True, it does involve espionage. Nothing like the slow-burning intrigue that Le Carre creates. Saying that, I really enjoyed it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent spy thriller, 28 Nov 2012
By 
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece, 5 Jun 2012
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This review is from: A Foreign Country (Kindle Edition)
I had been waiting for another Charles Cumming book for months; having read all his previous works and really enjoyed them, particularly Typhoon. This is another great story that reveals itself to the reader with perfect pace.

The story has a contemporary backdrop in modern Europe with the Arab Spring as a co-protagonist. It deals with sympathy, clarity and understanding the very real issues facing modern intelligence officers who aim to do their jobs under the spotlight of sensationalist press, media-weakened politicians against an enemy that is prepared to exploit these societal weaknesses.

In common with Le Carre Cumming has a knack of introducing characters that have sufficient depth to carry the story. His characters are well-rounded, not extreme in any sense, who respond to events exactly in the way well-rounded characters do. It would be easier and somewhat lazy to create characters with personality flaws rather than real people facing difficult circumstances.

Well done again.
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26 of 30 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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2 of 2 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 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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A Foreign Country
A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming (Paperback - 28 Mar 2013)
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