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Charles Cumming - Author

About the Author

Charles Cumming was our Guest Editor in March 2013 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

Charles Cumming was born in Scotland in 1971. He has been described as ‘the man who most successfully gets under the skin of Britain’s intelligence agencies’ (The Times). In the summer of 1995, he was approached for recruitment by the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A year later he moved to Montreal where he began working on a novel based on his experiences with MI6, and A Spy by Nature was published in the UK in 2001.

 

Author photo © Toby Madden

Featured books by Charles Cumming

The Trinity Six

The Trinity Six

Author: Charles Cumming Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/02/2011

Europe is still littered with the darkest secrets of the Cold War. And the most deadly revelation of them all is about to be made! Hard-up Russia expert Dr Sam Gaddis finally has a lead for a book that could set his career back on track. He has staggering new information about an unknown sixth member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring -- a man who has evaded detection for his entire life. But when his source suddenly dies, Gaddis is left with just shreds of his investigation, and no idea that he is already in too deep. He is threatened, betrayed, hunted -- and alone. To get his life back, he must scour a continent still laced with lies to find the truth behind the Trinity Six. Both Moscow and MI6 will use everything in their power to keep their fragile peace intact. But why murder people to hide secrets that should by now be history? Gaddis starts to understand -- far too late -- that he is closing in on a discovery that will shake Europe to its foundations!

Other books by Charles Cumming

The Man Between The Gripping New Spy Thriller You Need to Read in 2018

The Man Between The Gripping New Spy Thriller You Need to Read in 2018

Author: Charles Cumming Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/06/2018

He risked it all to become a spy. Now he must pay the price. A gripping new standalone spy thriller from the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year and `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday). One simple task for British Intelligence takes him into a world of danger. Successful novelist Kit Carradine has grown restless. So when British Intelligence invites him to enter the secret world of espionage, he willingly takes a leap into the unknown. But the glamour of being a spy is soon tainted by fear and betrayal, as Carradine finds himself in Morocco on the trail of Lara Bartok - a mysterious fugitive with links to international terrorism. Bartok is a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement whose brutal attacks on prominent right-wing politicians have spread hatred and violence throughout the West. As the coils of a ruthless plot tighten around him, Carradine finds himself drawn to Lara. Caught between competing intelligence services who want her dead, he soon faces an awful choice: to abandon Lara to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her. `The Man Between is up there with the best - full of thrills, wit and fine writing' Peter Robinson

Man Between

Man Between

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 29/05/2018

He risked it all to become a spy. Now he must pay the price. A gripping new standalone spy thriller from the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year and 'the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday). One simple task for British Intelligence takes him into a world of danger. Successful novelist Kit Carradine has grown restless. So when British Intelligence invites him to enter the secret world of espionage, he willingly takes a leap into the unknown. But the glamour of being a spy is soon tainted by fear and betrayal, as Carradine finds himself in Morocco on the trail of Lara Bartok ? a mysterious fugitive with links to international terrorism. Bartok is a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement whose brutal attacks on prominent right-wing politicians have spread hatred and violence throughout the West. As the coils of a ruthless plot tighten around him, Carradine finds himself drawn to Lara. Caught between competing intelligence services who want her dead, he soon faces an awful choice: to abandon Lara to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her.

The Man Between The Gripping New Spy Thriller You Need to Read in 2018

The Man Between The Gripping New Spy Thriller You Need to Read in 2018

Author: Charles Cumming Format: Hardback Release Date: 21/05/2018

He risked it all to become a spy. Now he must pay the price. A gripping new standalone spy thriller from the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year and `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday). One simple task for British Intelligence takes him into a world of danger. Successful novelist Kit Carradine has grown restless. So when British Intelligence invites him to enter the secret world of espionage, he willingly takes a leap into the unknown. But the glamour of being a spy is soon tainted by fear and betrayal, as Carradine finds himself in Morocco on the trail of Lara Bartok - a mysterious fugitive with links to international terrorism. Bartok is a leading figure in Resurrection, a violent revolutionary movement whose brutal attacks on prominent right-wing politicians have spread hatred and violence throughout the West. As the coils of a ruthless plot tighten around him, Carradine finds himself drawn to Lara. Caught between competing intelligence services who want her dead, he soon faces an awful choice: to abandon Lara to her fate or to risk everything trying to save her. `The Man Between is up there with the best - full of thrills, wit and fine writing' Peter Robinson

Spanish Game

Spanish Game

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 26/04/2018

A vivid and gripping novel from `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday) which sees Alec Milius coaxed back into the secret world to face the uncontainable danger of 21st century terrorism... For six years, Alec Milius has escaped the past. In Madrid, he has rebuilt his life, but remains in exile and in danger. Slightly older, and much wiser, than the young spy who first impressed MI6, he has kept his fatal attraction to secrets. So when a prominent politician mysteriously disappears, Alec is lured back into the spying game. Only this time he operates without the protection of any official agency - isolated and expendable, with nobody to turn to if things go wrong. And they soon do. But when Alec is confronted with the nightmare of modern terrorism, he is given one last chance for redemption...

Spy by Nature

Spy by Nature

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 29/03/2018

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 Carre and Len Deighton; compellingly told, utterly authentic and heart-racingly intense, it will grip you until the very end.

Thomas Kell Spy Series, Books 1-3

Thomas Kell Spy Series, Books 1-3

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 12/12/2017

From the internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of The Trinity Six and Typhoon, the Thomas Kell series is a compelling, revealing tale of deceit and betrayal, conspiracy and redemption. Read the first three books in the series, now available in one ebook. A Foreign CountryOn the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, on the streets of Paris, a young French accountant is kidnapped. When Amelie Levene, who in six weeks is due to take over as the first female Chief of MI6, disappears without a trace while in the south of France, it is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep the press from learning that she has gone missing, Britain's top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced former MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself and find Amelia Levene at any cost.A Colder WarA top-ranking Iranian military official, an investigative journalist, and an Iranian nuclear scientist are targeted in seemingly unrelated attacks, but they have one crucial link: Each of the three had been recently recruited by Western intelligence, before being removed or killed. When Paul Wallinger, MI6's most senior agent in Turkey, dies in a puzzling plane crash, Tom Kell discovers what Wallinger had already begun to suspect-that there's a mole somewhere in the Western intelligence, a traitor who has been systematically sabotaging scores of joint intelligence operations in the Middle East. A Divided SpyTom Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit a top Russian spy who is in possession of a terrifying secret. As Kell tracks his man from Moscow to London, he finds himself in a high stakes game of cat and mouse in which it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is playing whom. As the mission reaches boiling point, the threat of a catastrophic terrorist attack looms over Britain, and Kell is faced with an impossible choice. Loyalty to MI6-or to his own conscience?

Alec Milius Spy Series: Books 1 & 2

Alec Milius Spy Series: Books 1 & 2

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 07/11/2017

The first two books in the richly atmospheric and chillingly plausible Alec Milius series announced the arrival of Charles Cumming as heir apparent to masters like John le Carre and Len Deighton. A SPY BY NATUREAlec Milius is young, smart, and ambitious. He also has a talent for deception. He is working in a dead-end job when a chance encounter leads him to MI6, the elite British Secret Intelligence Service, handing him an opportunity to play center-stage in a dangerous game of espionage. In his new line of work, Alec finds that the difference between the truth and a lie can mean the difference between life and death--and he is having trouble telling them apart. Caught between British and American Intelligence, Alec finds himself threatened and alone, unable to confide in even his closest friend. His life as a spy begins to exact a terrible price, both on himself and on those around him.A SPY BY NATURE tells the gripping story of a young man driven by ruthless ambition who finds himself chasing not just success, but survival.THE SPANISH GAMESix years ago, Alec Milius was released by MI6 after a disastrous operation. His world shattered, Milius has been living in Madrid, attempting to quietly rebuild his life. But all his plans come crashing down when the head of a separatist movement goes missing, and Milius is lured back into the world of espionage. This time, though, Milius is forced to work alone - with no back-up, no support, and no one to save him should something go wrong. And in an operation like this, something is certain to go wrong. Horribly wrong.

The Hidden Man

The Hidden Man

Author: Charles Cumming Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/03/2017

From the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012 for Best Thriller of the Year comes a gripping and suspenseful spy novel. Perfect for fans of John le Carre, Charles Cumming is `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday) Mark and Benjamin Keen have not seen their father, Christopher, for more than twenty years. Hoping for a reconciliation, Christopher reappears, but he has only just begun to shed light on his life in the secret service when he is murdered in cold blood by an unidentified assassin. Was his death connected to his MI6 past? Did Christopher uncover a dangerous conspiracy involving his elder son? And what were his links to Moscow, Afghanistan and the Russian mafia in London? To discover the truth - and avenge their father's death - the brothers are drawn into the legacy of his life as a spy. And inheritance can be deadly...

Typhoon

Typhoon

Author: Charles Cumming Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/03/2017

From the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012 for Best Thriller of the Year comes a gripping and suspenseful spy novel. Perfect for fans of John le Carre, Charles Cumming is `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday) Hong Kong, 1997. Only a few short months of British rule remain before the territory returns to Chinese control. It's a feverish city. And the spooks are hard at work, jostling for position and influence. So when an elderly man emerges from the sea, claiming to know secrets he will share only with the British Governor, a young MI6 officer, Joe Lennox, sees the chance to make his reputation. But when the old man, a high-profile Chinese professor, is spirited away in the middle of the night by the CIA, it's clear that there's a great deal more at stake here than a young spy's career. The professor holds the key to a sinister and ambitious plan that could have catastrophic repercussions for the world in the twenty-first century...

Divided Spy

Divided Spy

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 02/06/2016

A Sunday Times top ten bestseller, perfect for fans of THE NIGHT MANAGER, from the winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller of the Year and `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday). Thomas Kell thought he was done with spying. A former MI6 officer, he devoted his life to the Service, but all it has left him with is grief and a simmering anger against the Kremlin. Then Kell is offered an unexpected chance at revenge. Taking the law into his own hands, he embarks on a mission to recruit the Russian spy he blames for the murder of his girlfriend. Kell tracks his nemesis from Kiev to London, but soon finds himself in a high-stakes game of cat and mouse in which it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is playing whom.

Hidden Man

Hidden Man

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 10/11/2015

Christopher Keen, once a master spy, is murdered in cold blood. His sons Mark and Benjamin, though they hadn't seen their father for over twenty years, are now drawn into the legacy of his life as a spy as they set out to discover the truth and avenge their father's death. But as their search proceeds, more questions arise-is Christopher's death connected to his past life in MI6? Was his eldest son involved in a conspiracy that links him to Moscow, Afghanistan, and the Russian mafia? Bestselling author Charles Cumming delivers in The Hidden Man a thriller that delves into the complicated double lives of spies, and what happens when their half-told secrets die with them.

Complete Spy Thrillers: A Colder War, A Foreign Country, The Trinity Six, Typhoon, The Spanish Game, The Hidden Man and A Spy by Nature

Complete Spy Thrillers: A Colder War, A Foreign Country, The Trinity Six, Typhoon, The Spanish Game, The Hidden Man and A Spy by Nature

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 11/12/2014

THE COMPLETE COLLECTION OF SPY THRILLERS FROM CHARLES CUMMING - WINNER OF THE CWA IAN FLEMING STEEL DAGGER 2012 FOR BEST THRILLER OF THE YEAR. Perfect for fans of John le Carre, Charles Cumming is 'the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday)Read the complete spy thriller collection from award-winning author Charles Cumming. Including:The Alec Milius novels, A SPY BY NATURE and THE SPANISH GAME.The Thomas Kell novels, A FOREIGN COUNTRY and A COLDER WAR.Standalone spy thrillers, THE TRINITY SIX, TYPHOON and THE HIDDEN MAN.

Colder War

Colder War

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 05/08/2014

Internationally acclaimed as "e;a premier writer of espionage thrillers"e; (USA Today), Charles Cumming is "e;among the most skillful spy novelists"e; (Washington Post) and "e;a worthy successor to the masters...like John le Carre and Len Deighton"e; (Chicago Sun-Times). Now, with A COLDER WAR, Cumming returns with MI6 agent Tom Kell (A Foreign Country), in a tour de force that will dazzle readers and critics alike. A top-ranking Iranian military official is blown up while trying to defect to the West. An investigative journalist is arrested and imprisoned for writing an article critical of the Turkish government. An Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated on the streets of Tehran. These three incidents, seemingly unrelated, have one crucial link. Each of the three had been recently recruited by Western intelligence, before being removed or killed. Then Paul Wallinger, MI6's most senior agent in Turkey, dies in a puzzling plane crash. Fearing the worst, MI6 bypasses the usual protocol and brings disgraced agent Tom Kell in from the cold to investigate. Kell soon discovers what Wallinger had already begun to suspect-that there's a mole somewhere in the Western intelligence, a traitor who has been systematically sabotaging scores of joint intelligence operations in the Middle East.

Colder War

Colder War

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 24/04/2014

Perfect for fans of John le Carre, a gripping and suspenseful spy novel from `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday)MI6's Head of Station in Turkey is killed in a mysterious plane crash. Amelia Levene, chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, wants the incident investigated - quickly and quietly.The only man she can trust is Thomas Kell, a disgraced spy searching for redemption.Arriving in Istanbul, Kell discovers that MI6 operations in the region have been fatally compromised: a traitor inside Western Intelligence threatens not just the Special Relationship, but the security of the entire Middle East.Kell's search for the mole takes him from London, to Greece, and into Eastern Europe. But when Kell is betrayed by those closest to him, the stakes become personal. He will do anything to see this operation through - including putting himself, and others, in the line of fire...

Foreign Country

Foreign Country

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 07/08/2012

From the internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of The Trinity Six, comes a compelling tale of deceit and betrayal, conspiracy and redemptionOn the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously-planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain's top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself - find Amelia Levene at any cost. The trail leads Kell to France and Tunisia, where he uncovers a shocking secret and a conspiracy that could have unimaginable repercussions for Britain and its allies. Only Kell stands in the way of personal and political catastrophe.A Foreign Country is one The Washington Post's Best Audiobooks of 2012.

Foreign Country

Foreign Country

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 29/03/2012

Winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012 for Best Thriller of the Year. Selected by Sunday Times Books of the Year and The Guardian as Best Thriller of the Year. Perfect for fans of John le Carre, a gripping and suspenseful spy thriller from `the master of the modern spy thriller' (Mail on Sunday)Six weeks before she is due to take up her position as the first female head of MI6, Amelia Levene vanishes without a trace.Her disappearance is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced for more than a decade. There has been no ransom demand, no word from foreign intelligence services, no hint of a defection.Should news of Levene's disappearance leak out, the consequences would be catastrophic. But for disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell, the crisis offers a chance for redemption. He is approached by his former employers and ordered to find her.Kell's search takes him first to France, then North Africa, where he discovers an extraordinary secret hidden deep in Levene's past. it is a secret that could fatally compromise Britain's national security - and for which Kell could pay with his life.This is another first-rate intelligent thriller which will cement Cumming's reputation as one of the most engaging British novelists writing today.

Trinity Six

Trinity Six

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 15/03/2011

A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book for 2011The most closely-guarded secret of the Cold War is about to be exposed - the identity of a SIXTH member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring. And people are killing for it... London, 1992. Late one night, Edward Crane, 76, is declared dead at a London hospital. An obituary describes him only as a 'resourceful career diplomat'. But Crane was much more than that - and the circumstances surrounding his death are far from what they seem. Fifteen years later, academic Sam Gaddis needs money. When a journalist friend asks for his help researching a possible sixth member of the notorious Trinity spy ring, Gaddis knows that she's onto a story that could turn his fortunes around. But within hours the journalist is dead, apparently from a heart attack. Taking over her investigation, Gaddis trails a man who claims to know the truth about Edward Crane. Europe still echoes with decades of deadly disinformation on both sides of the Iron Curtain. And as Gaddis follows a series of leads across the continent, he approaches a shocking revelation - one which will rock the foundations of politics from London to Moscow..."e;Cumming's novel is characterized by a gripping sense of realism. He displays a vast knowledge of spycraft and Cold War history, and the dense, three-dimensional world he crafts comes complete with seedy hotels and smoky nightclubs. The result is absolutely gripping. Taut, atmospheric and immersive-an instant classic."e; - Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on The Trinity SixThe Trinity Six is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 Thrillers title.

Trinity Six

Trinity Six

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 03/02/2011

Europe is still littered with the darkest secrets of the Cold War. And the most deadly revelation of them all is about to be made...Hard-up Russia expert Dr Sam Gaddis finally has a lead for a book that could set his career back on track. He has staggering new information about an unknown sixth member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring - a man who has evaded detection for his entire life.But when his source suddenly dies, Gaddis is left with just shreds of his investigation, and no idea that he is already in too deep. He is threatened, betrayed, hunted - and alone. To get his life back, he must scour a continent still laced with lies to find the truth behind the Trinity Six.Both Moscow and MI6 will use everything in their power to keep their fragile peace intact. But why murder people to hide secrets that should by now be history? Gaddis starts to understand - far too late - that he is closing in on a discovery that will shake Europe to its foundations...

Alec Milius Spy Series Books 1 and 2: A Spy By Nature, The Spanish Game

Alec Milius Spy Series Books 1 and 2: A Spy By Nature, The Spanish Game

Author: Charles Cumming Format: eBook Release Date: 03/02/2011

This ebook omnibus edition brings together Charles Cumming's two classic Alex Milius novels, also offering readers a sample of his following novel The Trinity Six.A SPY BY NATUREAlec Milius is young, smart, ambitious and comfortable with deceit. So when a chance encounter leads him to MI6, Alec thinks he's landed the perfect job for his talents. But working alone, relying on instinct, he's soon spinning a web of deception that has him caught between his new masters and powerful opponents. For in his new line of work the difference between the truth and a lie can be the difference between life and death. And Alec is having trouble telling them apart ...THE SPANISH GAMEAlec Milius quit the spying game six years ago - or so he thought.Living in exile in Madrid, he is lured back into a brutal world of lies and deception by the mysterious disappearance of a prominent politician. Forced to work alone, without the support of his former masters in London, Alec comes face to face with the nightmare of modern terror. And this time there's no-one to call for help...