Charles Cumming

A Foreign Country

" focuses on the day to day events that could and do happen..."


Six months before she is due to take up her position as the first female head of MI6, Amelia Levene vanishes without a trace. Former MI6 officer Thomas Kell is called out of retirement and ordered to find her. With only days before the story leaks to the press, Kell must make his way to France and begin to piece together Levene's final movements. Was she kidnapped? Or could Britain's most senior spy have defected?

Kell's investigation takes him to North Africa where he discovers an extraordinary secret buried deep in Levene's past. It is a secret which will come back to haunt her – and one which could make Kell pay with his life.

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I will admit to not having previously read any of Charles Cumming's books and it has been a while since a spy novel came my way. However, I always like some current politics and learning about the way our security services work, and this book won't disappoint in that regard. Whilst I enjoyed it, I felt it did not build up to a true climax and the pace stayed steady throughout, telling the story and leading you through the sequence of events. There were no surprises or moments of baited breath, but it was definitely well written and led me through how different security services work, with an insight into the resources available and the people involved. 'A Foreign Country' is not a fast paced, action packed novel, but slithers along insidiously, like a Cobra - quietly waiting to strike. 'A Foreign Country' is enjoyable as it focuses on the day to day events that could and do happen rather than the extreme scenarios that lead to dramatic endings.

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