Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming

Excellent slow-boiler of a spy novel.  While not depending on constant action, this book still manages to be a real page-turner.  Well-written and fleshed out characters leave you constantly guessing as to motives and whether or not a double or triple-cross is brewing.

Cummings also manages to paint various locales vividly so they feel like real and distinct places.  Likewise, his description of the real tasks of spycraft, both exciting and mundane, add a level of sophistication to his work.  The outcome never feels like a foregone conclusion and the fact that the characters aren’t infallible lends true suspense to the plot.  The various plots are layered like an onion with the peeling back of each piece revealing something new.  Even when everything is revealed, the outcome remains in doubt, almost to the last page.

A Foreign Country is a cut above other spy novels, and Charles Cumming is clearly at the forefront of the next generation of great spy novelists.  Highly recommended.  I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.