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November 12, 2009

The Spanish Game

by Charles Cumming

For anyone not familiar with Cumming, I suggest first reading A Spy by Nature, a compelling thriller which introduces the character of Alec Milius – a sharp and ambitious young man who is recruited by MI6 after a chance encounter. Milius finds himself immersed in a world of deceit which, it turns out, he is not so comfortable with after all. His world soon spirals out of control, with disastrous personal and professional consequences. The Spanish Game finds Milius living in exile in Madrid six years later, every move driven by paranoia and the torment of his past.

The disappearance of a Basque politician drags Milius back into an all-too-familiar world in which he finds himself operating alone and without the safety net of the British Secret Intelligence Service. Milius soon uncovers a plot by corrupt Spanish politicians to instigate a dirty war and it’s not long before his movements attract the attention of his former employers. But not everything is as it seems and after being kidnapped and brutally beaten and with the SIS apparently keen to have him back on board, it seems Milius’ paranoia is justified.

The first thing you should know about people is that you don’t know the first thing about them.

A cracking read from start to finish.

James’ out-of-five star rating: ****

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