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A Spy by Nature

Narrated by: Charlie Anson
Series: Alec Milius, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 38 mins
4 out of 5 stars (108 ratings)

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Summary

For all fans of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy comes this master class in suspense about a spy caught up in his own web of deception....

Alec Milius is young, smart and ambitious - with a talent for deception. When a chance encounter opens the door to a career with MI6, he is desperate to make his mark.

But life as a spy begins to take a terrible toll on himself and those around him, and soon Alec is chasing not just success but survival. Forced to work alone, he spins a web of deceit that traps him centre stage in a game of global espionage.

In this new job, the difference between truth and a lie can be a matter of life and death. And for Alec, it's getting harder to tell them apart....

A Spy by Nature is the best-selling novel with which Charles Cumming announced his arrival as heir apparent to masters like John le Carré and Len Deighton; compellingly told, utterly authentic and heart-racingly intense, it will grip you until the very end.

©2011 Charles Cumming (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Gripping, exciting and deftly plotted.... A book one would be seriously annoyed to have put down." (Sunday Telegraph)

"Tautly written and believable...a complex tale of code words, betrayal of friendship, bluff and counterbluff.... Cumming writes it like it is." (Mail on Sunday)

"Eerily good...a strong and serious entertainment. Don't miss." (Literary Review)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Mediocre compared with his later works

The later novels are more restrained and nuanced and feature more likeable characters. The narrator did a good job with the cards he was dealt.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A new voice in a traditional spy story.

Like len Deighton and john le Carrie, it is good slow detailed stuff with that air of melancholy. No gadgets, fast cars and pretty girls. Just a twisting narrative with inner turmoil, deception, etc. I hope he writes more as he deserves to be well known. A great "how I became a spy" novel.

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Tedious

The plot was interesting and credible, the intelligence knowledge seemed authentic but the book was rendered tedious by the protagonist. Normally when you have an anti-hero they need some redeeming features such as a sense of humour or an interesting strength or weakness. Milius has none of these which made this book a bit of a chore.

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Unrealistic and turgid

The story was not in any way plausible, the characters clichéd and the narrative slow. Other reviews referenced John Le Carre, I don't think so !!!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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spy

Not up to previous books, too many obvious traits and fillings such as email addresses

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👍

Great story and excellent performance by narrator. i just hated the ending - maybe a sequel would be possibility.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Spy story with a gripping edge.

I could not put down this splendid story. A young potential spy must act as bait for two CIA oppratives in this tale of industrial espionage.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful