Cumming talks about missing out on that M16 job and the role of gender in the world of spies.
Just before Amelia Levene takes over the British foreign spy service, she disappears in the south of France. No one knows where she is and British authorities scramble to locate her before word leaks to other countries or, worse, the media.
Panicked executives at MI6 summon disgraced agent Thomas Kell, a longtime friend and colleague of Amelia, to figure out what’s happened and why. The personal and the political soon collide, with forays into North Africa and across Europe.
Welcome to the brainy spy world of Charles Cumming, a young British author who, with the publication of “The Trinity Six” in 2011, drew comparisons to renowned thriller masters Alan Furst, John le Carré and Olen Steinhauer, among others. He returns this month with the story of Thomas Kell in A Foreign Country.
Readers first meet Kell seven months after the spy service coerced him to retire at the ripe old age of 42. Childless and on the verge of divorce, Kell awakes in a strange bed, nursing a “hangover comparable in range and intensity to the reproduction Jackson Pollock hanging on the wall of his temporary bedroom.”
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