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A Divided Spy: A Novel (Thomas Kell) Hardcover – February 14, 2017
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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
CHARLES CUMMING is the author of the Alec Milius books and the Thomas Kell books, A Foreign Country, A Colder War, and A Divided Spy, as well as the New York Times bestselling thriller The Trinity Six and others. He lives with his family in London.
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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
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.
The main plot of DS focuses on how best to leverage the knowledge of the illicit, by Russian standards, gay relationship. Ruin Minasian? Turn him? Interestingly, Kell's former boss, Amelia, aka "C", shows little interest in pursuing Minasian; she suspects it's a Russian trap, too risky.
There is also a very interesting sub-plot. ISIS has planted a "warrior" in the UK. He is on a mission to kill a large number of Brits but little more is known about him. The source of this rumored attack? - Minasian.
A very good story, with two back-to-back climaxes, both well done. Excellent prose. Great dialog. Can you enjoy DS, if you haven't read the two previous Kells? Absolutely. I must confess that I remember very little of the two previous books, each written at two year intervals.
This feels to me like a 5 minus. I suspect it is the last Kell. I think Cumming can do better, so I look forward to the next. Generally, I prefer series, but I believe Cumming's best might be the next stand-alone novel. Or the next....