The Spanish Game (Alec Milius 2) Paperback – 29 Mar 2012
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'A cracking good spy thriller… the serprentine twists and the unflaggingly realistic suspense leave you breathless, but spellbound’ Daily Mail
'The Man who most successfully gets under the skin of Britain's intelligence agencies' The Times
'From the first page to the last it has the ring of absolute authenticity. Tautly written, cleverly plotted…it reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carré' Robert Harris, author of Fatherland and The Ghost
'A wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel – vivid and disturbing – immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance' William Boyd, author of Restless
‘Terrific…vividly realised…as strong on emotional literacy as it is on spycraft’ New Statesman
About the Author
Charles Cumming was born in Scotland in 1971. He was educated at Eton and graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 1994 with First 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 the summer of 1995, Charles was approached for recruitment by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A year later he moved to Montreal where he began working on a novel based on his experiences with MI6. A Spy By Nature was published in the UK in 2001. This is his fifth novel.
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Top Customer Reviews
The setting in Madrid is good, a refreshing break from the previous two novels set in London. Alec Milius is asked to explore the possibility of his finance company investing in Basque country, and in the course of various meetings, he spends an evening with a former Basque activist and politician. They get on, and agree to meet up at a later date. But on his way to meet Alec, the politician disappears. Suspecting foul play, Alec cannot help himself but investigate, and in doing so, he gets drawn into Basque politics, ETA, and back into the murky world of espionage.
It's not a perfect thriller, but it's an improvement on his first two novels. The plotting is smoother and more effective. Unlike other reviewers, I would argue that ending is not that good - for me it was a contrivance too far. I couldn't fault anything up to that point. This is mostly because Alex Milius is such a convincing, fascinating creation. Charles Cumming makes a passing reference in the novel to The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith, which is a fair comparison. Both Ripley and Milius have tremendous talents, but also the seeds of their own destruction within their character flaws.Read more ›
It's a genuinely original read. Fast-paced without being obvious and packs a punch without being heavy handed.
The hero is a gem and a character that you'll want to see again and again. His literary personality is as identifiable and strong as a Stephen Maturin or a Flashman.
You'll find yourself reading this book sooner or later. My advice is read it sooner.
Simply put I found the plot a lot more complex and more difficult to follow. The mix of ETA/Basque/Spanish politics and mixing this with dashes of Spanish Language were off-putting. It was difficult to understand and relate to. The real problem though, was that after spending considerable time trying to keep track of who was who, the author simply stands everything on it's head. A lot of it makes no sense and some of the justifications for why characters did what they did seem very little sense. I think the author may have tried to be too clever with this plot and in desperation started using some unlikely scenario's to try and pull it all together. Think Dallas and the Shower Scene. Think Schoolboys "Then I woke up and my coffee was cold" type of ending. Boxed into a corner a very poor ending is offered.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Intrigue, deception and double deception, twists at every corner against a wealth of authenticity and exciting. I must read the next book!Published 4 days ago by Old Nick
A most enjoyable read with twists and turns and delightfully painted pictures of Spanish. We are become entwined with the paranoic complexities of Alec and learn to be suspicious... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Byword
The main character is very interesting. How strange it must be to distrust everyone? And, usually to be correct in that distrust! A good novel. Read morePublished 5 months ago by ESES
Well written and full of underlying tension. However I wish I had known to read his Spy by Nature first which is the first of the Alec Millias thrillers. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Melissa