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A Divided Spy: A Novel (Thomas Kell, 3) Hardcover – February 14, 2017
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In A Divided Spy, a brilliant novel of modern espionage by New York Times bestselling author Charles Cumming, MI6’s Thomas Kell faces off against a handsome and charismatic Russian double agent.
"Astonishingly masterful . . . riveting." ―Valerie Plame, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Game
Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the Service, but it has left him with nothing but 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 a top Russian spy who is in possession of a terrifying secret. As Kell tracks his man from Moscow to London, he finds himself in 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?
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“Breathtaking . . . suspenseful . . . Kell brings a note of grace to the treacherous world of the spy novel." ―Washington Post
"A gripping tale of revenge, betrayal and the personal price that spying exacts." ―People magazine
“A smart, nuanced, readable tale, reminiscent of Olen Steinhauer or Robert Littell . . . Cumming has mastered the texture and language of espionage . . . [A Divided Spy is] a fine specimen of a genre headed back toward the Kremlin.” ―USA Today
“Agent Kell ishell-bent on revenge ― but his quest ends up endangering Britain’s nationalsecurity. Classic spy fiction at its best.” ―New York Post (Must-Reads)
"A magnetic tale of the New Cold War: not since George Smiley trapped Karla have we seen such a delicious recruitment between East and West." ― Jason Matthews, New York Times bestselling author of Palace of Treason
"Cumming not only tells a moving human story here, he also constructs an airtight espionage plot full of unanticipated twists and leading up to a perfectly orchestrated finale." ―Booklist (starred)
“Nuanced, suspenseful . . . a perfectly constructed plot proves once again that Cumming is among today’s top spy thriller writers.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Cumming writes with ruefully brittle intelligence and keeps the twists coming.” ―Kirkus Reviews
"Charles Cumming is astonishingly masterful at capturing the grey and sometimes amoral world of espionage. A Divided Spy feels authentic and is a riveting read that should be devoured in one sitting." ―Valerie Plame, New York Times bestselling author of Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House
“A convincing and gripping spy thriller with a clever, twisty plot, believable characters and an abundance of credible spy lore. Highly recommended.” ―The Age
“Thomas Kell has become one of the most interesting and well-drawn spies in contemporary literature ― a man who now deserves to be spoken of in the same breath as George Smiley, and who is every bit as discreet. . . . Delicately written, with Cumming’s customary subtle humor, [A Divided Spy] confirms him as le Carre’s heir.” –The Daily Mail
“Cumming has a growing reputation as the heir to the John Le Carré tradition in British fiction.” ―Alan Cheuse, NPR
“Compelling. . . complex. . . dangerous. . . Hard to put down.” ―The Washington Post
About the Author
- ASIN : 1250021049
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press (February 14, 2017)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 368 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781250021045
- ISBN-13 : 978-1250021045
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.54 x 1.25 x 9.45 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,938,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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Cumming describes his protagonist as a man with "a facility for deceit and manipulation [that] was as much a part of Kell's character as his decency and capacity for love." And Kell's Russian counterpart notes that "[t]he constant process of lying, of subterfuge, of concealment and second-guess, is exhausting. It is bad for the soul."
In A Divided Spy, Kell at age 46 has left MI6 after a bruising run-in with the bureaucrats who made his life miserable. He is brooding over the murder of his lover, Rachel Wallinger, at the hands of a Russian spy named Alexander Minasian. When Minasian unexpectedly surfaces, Kell resolves to avenge her death. He plans an elaborate entrapment scheme to "turn" Minasian. This plan brings Kell into conflict with Amelia Levene, an old friend who is the Director General of MI6.
Meanwhile, a high-profile terrorist plot is unfolding. A young British man who has fought for ISIS in Syria has reentered England on a false passport and is establishing his new identity in the seaside resort of Brighton. Though it may seem unlikely, these two plotlines are destined to intersect. As they do, Kell is tested in ways he has never before been required to face.
Like le Carre, Cumming grounds his tales in the realities of spycraft. Just as CIA officers were said to devour the George Smiley novels, I imagine that operatives for both the CIA and MI6 are reading the saga of Thomas Kell. Or perhaps they should be.
A Divided Spy is the third book in Charles Cumming's compelling series of espionage novels featuring MI6 officer Thomas Kell. It may be the last.
Here we are, with Tom Kell, disallusioned, grieving his lost love, Rachel, and moving on. He has given up booze and nicotine, and goes to the gym. He unexpectedly receives a call from an old MI-6 friend and goes to meet him. Over dinner he learns that the Soviet mastermind who may have been responsible for Rachel's death is caught in a gay relationship, and that could cause problems for him. The Russian spy Alexander Minasian could be a way for Kell to seek revenge. Kell seeks Amelia's assistance, and with some misgiving she provides some.
Kell devises several plans to set up Minasian, but along the way he discovers a larger, more dangerous plot. This is a tricky situation, and one in which Kell must decide what is most important. As an excellent spymaster, Kell knows all the tricks of his trade, but he also uses empathy to gain some kind of trust. "The constant process of lying, of subterfuge, of concealment and second-guessing is exhausting, It is bad for the soul." says one of Kell's antagonist. This has worn Kell down, and as he makes his choices, he realizes what the future will bring.
In a release for this novel, it has been mentioned that Colin First has purchased the rights to Cumming's first book, 'The Foreign Country'. Indeed, First would be the perfect Kell.
Recommended. prisrob 02-16-17
Top reviews from other countries
And now he has a chance to redeem himself by recruiting an SVR bigwig. But is it a personal grudge, or is the SVR trying to recruit Kell? Or is something entirely different going on?
It's subtle, intriguing, and as far as I know, realistic.
Kell is no longer a fully paid up agent of SIS. He is still on personal terms with Amelia its chief. Who knows what and who trusts whom is always in doubt and they all lie to each other knowing that the other knows they are not getting the real story. No wonder Kell has detached himself from the world of espionage, but then he hasn't of course or there would be no story to tell in this book.
I am not a fan of modern espionage fiction and accidentally bought the first book in this series "A Foreign Country" without properly reading its publicity. I am glad I stumbled into it, I enjoyed it and have now completed the series. I hope Thomas Kell has third thoughts about his future.
As A Divided Spy opens he is still wracked alternately by grief and guilt over the death of Rachel Wallinger. He is, however, shocked out of his torpor when a former associate contacts him with news about the Minasian, Soviet agent believed to have been the instigator of Rachel’s death. Glad of an avenue back into ‘the game’, Kell runs his own unofficial operation to try to ensnare Minasian. Things don’t go as planned.
Cumming is masterful at building suspension and constructing delicately layered plots. Of course, in the nature of things I don’t know much about the world of secret services. This book did, however, have a pleasing air of plausibility, with a consistent internal logic. The story may progress more quickly than one of John le Carre’s plots, but displays the same meticulous planning. Kell is subject to the same frustrations, hopes and failings that Smiley and le Carre’s other protagonists display. Gripping, plausible and. Most importantly, entertaining.