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Publisher's Summary

MI6's Head of Station in Turkey is killed in a mysterious plane crash. Amelia Levene, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, wants the incident investigated - quickly and quietly. The only man she can trust is Thomas Kell, a disgraced spy searching for redemption. Arriving in Istanbul, Kell discovers that MI6 operations in the region have been fatally compromised: A traitor inside Western Intelligence threatens not just the Special Relationship, but the security of the entire Middle East.

Kell's search for the mole takes him from London, to Greece, and into Eastern Europe. But when Kell is betrayed by those closest to him, the stakes become personal. He will do anything to see this operation through - including putting himself, and others, in the line of fire…

©2014 Charles Cumming (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"A Foreign Country is stuffed with totally credible ‘tradecraft' and human and fallible characters. It is also an excellent example of good, clear, straightforward narrative prose, confirming to me that [Cumming] is one of the brightest stars illuminating the murky world of British spy fiction." (Mike Ripley)
"Eat your heart out, Daniel Craig… Cumming vividly showcases meticulous research and insight into the undercover life of spies." (GQ)
"An utterly absorbing and compelling novel. A brilliant re-imagining of events surrounding the notorious Cambridge spy-ring." (William Boyd, bestselling author of Restless)
"Often talked of as a potential heir to John le Carré, Cumming confirms here that he's a reliably classy storyteller … an assured and richly enjoyable thriller." (Sunday Times)
"Delicate and supremely controlled, this is a spy story to be savoured, not rushed." (Daily Mail)
"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)
"Perfect for fans of John le Carré, a gripping and suspenseful spy novel from ‘the master of the modern spy thriller." (Mail on Sunday)

What members say

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  • Philip
  • 05-20-14

Credible, imaginative and unexpected - brilliant!

What other book might you compare A Colder War to, and why?

Others have been comparing it against Le Carre and Forsyth, but I suggest one should take this book on its own merit. This new master (well to me) sits along side the old masters. If you enjoy them, you will also enjoy this book too.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-26-18

Entertaining spy novel

Well constructed and entertaining spy novel. Not quite the depth of Le Carre but has good pace and better than most current writers. Narrator grates at first but soon forgot about that as I got absorbed in the story

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  • Alangiraffe
  • 12-14-17

Fabulous!

Second book in the series. I cannot recommend too highly. Great story, read wonderfully well. 5 stars to ALL concerned.

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  • Chopster
  • 04-15-17

Very Average

I am not sure who compared this to le Carre but it was nowhere near the same class. More comparable to Jack Higgins.
The story, though engaging, was obvious. The characters were predictable, unoriginal and stereotypical of the genre.
Really not that impressed.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-13-17

Terrible sequel

I loved the first Thomas Kell book, A Foreign Country. It was brilliant.

Sadly, this did not live up to expectations indeed it was so bad that I couldn't bring myself to listen to the last 2 hours it was just too awful!

The story centres on this hideous May to December style romance, yes he was friends with her recently deceased father (vomit). The descriptions of his pathetic infatuation & her obvious role as a honey trap for every man in the world is not only gross but totally disables the plot. The idea that Kell, an experienced master spy doesn't cotton on to any of this renders a good character terrible and the continuous florid descriptions of sexual infatuation that only teenage boys or old men could appreciate destroy any trace of actual plot.

All in all appalling. Won't be listening to any more of these.

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  • jo johnston
  • 11-24-16

A frustrating and lazy let down after a good start.

I really liked the first book so then bought the next two on the spot. These two, however, have been a frustrating listen.

The colder war is far too slow. The main storyline takes far too long to get going. To build the romantic aspect, but it's frankly boring and over egged. I felt a man of this age and training wouldn't let it be so consuming. It feels forced and a plot line to lead onto the next book.

What is continually frustrating is the manner in which Kell talks and treats C. I feel the author thought he would get kudos for writing the head of the the secret service as a woman. Then the way he not only talks to her but treats her, a friend and a colleague he apparently has high respect is infuriating. The author with one hand gives us a woman in the highest ranking position and with the other continues to treat her as women have been treated with the world of secret service.

Overall I found myself continually frustrated by the series and will not be returning to the next in line.

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  • Phaedo
  • 10-14-16

Character Driven Spy Series

Book 2 in series.. Interesting settings, good continuation of themes from Book 1.. Realistic scope of intelligence work relying on intelligence rather than super hero whiz bang machismo.. Narration is absolutely top notch.. Going to check if there is a Book 3!! Highly recommended.

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  • Steven
  • 06-08-16

read with all the feeling of a GCE text book

What disappointed you about A Colder War?

The performance was unfeeling and un-acted. Spoken as if reading a text book to a class of 15 year olds.

Would you ever listen to anything by Charles Cumming again?

Nope

What didn’t you like about Jot Davies’s performance?

See above, very very flat.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

disappointment? sure.

Any additional comments?

trying to exchange for another book

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  • Mark
  • 05-27-16

Another classic

Kell is destined to be immortalised on screen so catch him now before he's 'sexed up'. Dour, human, driven and great.

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  • Cathy
  • 04-12-15

Gripped

Great characters. Interesting and gripping plots and twists

I can recommend this book


Will look for more of his today