Sunday, January 24, 2010

Great Book Guru X

Dear Great Book Guru, My husband received a Kindle for Christmas and he is looking for books to download. As he will be traveling to the U.K. next week, can you recommend something perhaps with a British setting? Traveler's Wife

Dear Traveler's Wife, My husband too has a Kindle he bought himself for Christmas and he loves it with a passion. He just downloaded (on my recommendation, of course) a great tale of international intrigue set in London- A SPY BY NATURE written by Charles Cumming. Alex Milius is a young man recently graduated and somewhat at loose ends when he meets a family friend who suggests he apply for a job with the British Foreign Service. After a series of interviews and qualifying exams, he finds himself working for MI6 - the equivalent of our CIA. He quickly becomes enmeshed in a secret plot surrounding oil rights in a series of East European countries. This leads him to become involved with a mysterious, very glamorous couple from America who appear to work for the CIA. While clues abound, the reader is never sure who is the enemy, who is the friend. Alex himself is a complex, flawed individual but remarkably likable. One is left with the question, though, does he have what it takes to be a successful spy. Is it in his nature? The author Cumming was himself recruited by MI6 and, while it is never clear if he accepted the position, he does have a deep understanding of the workings of the agency and the psyches of its agents. Alex appears in two more novels, each set in different parts of Europe so in reading these novels, you learn much about the intelligence communities of England, Spain, and Russia. A very good read indeed and, of course, available at the Sea Cliff Library.
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