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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 listeners say about A Spy by Nature

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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At first a bit slow stick with it.

Interesting tale, initially a bit slow but once it got in it's stride, quite enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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Dull and infuriating

This book is tedious and dull. The central character is singularly unlikeable. I can’t fathom whether his poor decision making and sense of superiority is part of his character or whether he is simply deluded. Either way, it makes for a deeply uninteresting story and little sympathy for his plight.

Charles Cumming has written some decent spy books, this is not one of them.

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A spy by nature

Story Very slow to develop- at times painfully so - unlikely to read more by this author

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Weak plot and naive spy story

I persisted with this book expecting that what appeared to be a naive story would turn into something interesting and unexpected. The surprise never came. Most disappointing spy fiction and predictable in the extreme.

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Disappointing

Unbearable main character. Liked author's other books but won't read this series. Highly disappointed.

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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 !!!

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spy

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