Review: A Divided Spy – Charles Cumming

A Divided Spy Charles CummingSeries: Thomas Kell 3

My version: Hardback
Genre: Fiction Spies, Britain
Publisher:
Harper Collins
First published: 2016
Bought, signed


From the cover:

Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the service. But all it has left him with is grief and a simmering anger against the Kremlin.

Then Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit the Russian spy he blames for the murder of his girlfriend.

Kell tracks his nemesis from Kiev to London, but soon finds himself ina a high-stakes game of cat and mouse in which it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is playing whom.

As the mission reaches boiling point, the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack looms over Britain. Kell is faced with an impossible choice. Loyalty to MI6 – or to his own conscience?


I suppose the first thing to say is that it isn’t quite as good as the previous book, A Colder War, it’s not on the edge of your seat (or maybe just not the edge of my seat) as I found that one. That is in no way to say that this isn’t a very good book, it’s maybe different to A Colder War, less international, anyway – despite the Ukraine and Poland connection – as the terrorist who is going to be committing the terror attack on Britain, comes from Leeds (where I lived for 26 years) and will be committing the afore-mentioned attack…not in London. In Britain, but not London. I can’t find a reference for why Charles C chose the town he did, but it’s an interesting choice, and the terrorist’s logic is good for why it was chosen. I’ll leave it there.

Brighton PierThomas Kell, is an interesting character. The reluctant spy, wanting to get out of the great game and finding his past coming back to haunt him, or at best, not wanting to leave him alone…has been done a zillion times before. I have read an article where CC was mentioning some scenes he has written in various books, as being ‘homages’ to John le Carré. That does dissappoint me a little. I knew that he was compared to JlC on the various covers especially of paperbacks of his books I’ve got, but ‘homage’ when you’ve written a scene that is like one of JlC’s? Hmmm…Anyway, Kell is going quietly crazy it seems – leaving MI6, stopping smoking, going to his local gym. And if you’ve read the pervious book, I think, you’ll know why. I can sympathise. Not because I’ve gone crazy not being in MI6, but the guilt that I think causes the move away, I can sympathise with entirely. maybe that’s why I found Kell such a realistic, coinvincing and – as the Danse say – sympatisk – character. Holy smoke! I identified with him! Well, there you go.

The problem Kell has is, again like me, being taken seriously by his boss(es). The looking back over your shoulder and reading into normal things, or at least interpreting them to fit your own paranoia, is excellently done. Even I was getting sorely frustrated that he wasn’t being listened to in that patronising, only a British person can do, kind of way. The build up to the double ending too.

So, maybe it was a lot better than I thought at first. Like I say, it isn’t quite in page-turning territory, more in setting off the old idea bombs land. Good stuff.


You can buy A Divided Spy from Booksplea.se


Why not check out the EXCLUSIVE Speesh Reads Pinterest board for A Divided Spy, with lots of extra stuff in it

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s