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Spy by Nature: A Novel
     

Spy by Nature: A Novel

3.0 42
by Charles Cumming
 

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ISBN-10: 0312366361

ISBN-13: 9780312366360

Pub. Date: 11/11/2008

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

"Tautly written, cleverly plotted...it reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carré" -- Robert Harris, author of The Ghost and Fatherland

"Charles Cumming is a man put on earth to perpetuate the spy thriller." --The Daily Telegraph

"...supremely intelligent and utterly readable...Smartly paced and intricately plotted,

Overview

"Tautly written, cleverly plotted...it reminded me strongly of the early books of John le Carré" -- Robert Harris, author of The Ghost and Fatherland

"Charles Cumming is a man put on earth to perpetuate the spy thriller." --The Daily Telegraph

"...supremely intelligent and utterly readable...Smartly paced and intricately plotted, Cumming's decidedly unglamorous look at industrial espionage provides plenty of elaborate deceits, double crosses and other trappings of a first-class spy thriller." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Alec Milius, a recent graduate of the London School of Economics, is young, smart, and a bit of a slacker, stuck in a shady job and suffering from a lack of direction. So, when an old family friend offers to put him up for a job in British Intelligence, Alec begins the rigorous selection process for SIS or MI6. Though he doesn't officially make the cut, he is funneled into a prime position at a British oil company with interests in the Caspian Sea. He is directed to befriend Fortner Grice and Katharine Simms, two charismatic employees of Andromeda, a rival American oil firm. Lured into the murky world of industrial espionage, Millius finds himself trapped in a life of secrets and lies, manipulated by MI6 and the CIA, and confronted by the reality of a ruthless business environment in which priceless information can come at the cost of human life. Compellingly told, utterly authentic, and heart-racingly tense, A Spy By Nature will grip you until the very last page.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312366360
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
11/11/2008
Series:
Alec Milius Series , #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
368
Sales rank:
705,512
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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Spy by Nature 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Aglaia More than 1 year ago
I stumbled upon this book by accident. First off, I would say that this is not a typical spy novel (though I haven`t read many of those). The main character, Alec Milius, is more of an antihero, someone that I found very hard to symphatize with. But then again, he seemed more real than most spy heroes are - he seemed like one of us (a God brought down to Earth and crushed to mere human in front of our eyes - hm, I am not sure that we like that). The story is also, I would say, slower-paced and less action-packed than the average spy book. I personally didn`t mind that, but I can imagine that some do. That, everyone has to decide for her/himself. I liked the author`s style, short, succinct,efficient, it suited the theme very well. Sometimes it could gave read better...but this, I think, was the author`s first novel, so we have to cut him some slack there. Anyway, I spent a cozy, rainy day with this book, and I liked it.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
When writing a spy novel, the author hopefully looks to be original, thus avoiding what we have already seen many times. Cummings is very original in this one, creating a spy whose perspective is much different than that of the typical guy. Alec Milius is a temporary spy, on probation to see if he can make the grade. But he finds to his dismay and danger that he is being used on many levels. There is the usual deceit and betrayal, but we find it from surprising corners. Given his effort to do something different, Cummings takes chances, and expects the reader to indulge him as he does. In this respect I think he overestimates his reader, as some of his approaches require more patience than most readers can provide.
jericho81 More than 1 year ago
I remember how excited I was to see Star Wars Episode 1. I couldn't wait for the sweet action sequences and all the fun of a good Star Wars movie. What I wasn't ready for was the tedium of dialogue that took up a good half of the movie. Such a disappointment. It¿s exactly how I felt when I finished this book. When I pick up a spy book, I expect a little espionage, a little edge-of-your-seat excitement, and although this book delivered on the former, it failed on the latter. There was such a great deal of character development, that the story seemed to be pushed off to the side. Now don¿t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of character development, but not in replacement of story. There isn¿t even a really good mystery. If the point of this lack of typical spy plot was done purposefully, it should have been made a little more obvious to the reader. It was a decent read, but ultimately left me very unsatisfied with the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this as a "Free Friday" book for my Nook. I got what I paid for..... I am a big fan of espionage books so this looked like an interesting read. The story was disjointed and I really doubt people get killed over an oil field report. It was completely unbelievable.
Jay-Argee More than 1 year ago
For me, this book was a big yawn. I picked it up because the title suggested an action-packed spy novel - wrong! This book is about the psychosis of a young industrial spy asked to funnel dis-information to an American oil company. Unfortunately, it's devoid of action and way too heavy on the thought process of a young person with an inferiority complex. There is an old adage that says "you can't judge a book by its cover." Oh so true in this case.
sleblanc1976 More than 1 year ago
Title says it all.. I wanted to like it, and the first 1/3 showed promise, but there was no tension, no sense of high stakes, no real effective conflict (I felt his inner conflict to be over the top), and a horrible ending...
Wiliam_Maltese More than 1 year ago
DON’T EXPECT A SPY THRILLER! As a book whose author, Charles Cumming, was approached, in real life, for recruitment by the British secret service, A SPY BY NATURE, proved primarily of interest to me by way of it providing insight into the vetting of potential candidates for MI5 and MI6. Aside from that, I found its segue into the how and why of industrial espionage filled with lots and lots of (yawn!) dialogue, and very little action. On page 17, recruiting officer offers up a description of work as an SIS agent, to the effect that it’s all disappointingly void of macho derring-do. He paints a lusterless picture of a man engaged in the simple act of gathering intelligence, the more traditional aspects of espionage—burglary, phone tapping, honey traps, bugging—a fiction. Officers are certainly not licensed to kill. And if all of that doesn’t prove entirely true, during the course of the novel, it had this reader wishing that there was more of a James Bond element than there turned out to be. Our protagonist seems ill-suited for the job. Not that inept people aren’t likely recruited along with the rest, but this one lies a lot, unnecessarily, even when his job description doesn’t require it, and his lying eventually trips him up. And the fact that he’s signed a secrecy agreement seems of little consequence. I, as reader, never really felt that the hero was in any real danger, even when it turned out that he likely was. And the ending leaves a lot to be desired, as if the book cuts off midway, like some kind of a serial, scheduled for a quick next installment. No way, though, do I bother with any follow-up(s) in the future. In this case, the one book, unsatisfactory as it was, was more than enough; thank-you very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a good book. I regret wasting my time reading it. 
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tcr5900 More than 1 year ago
While many people might be looking for more action in their spy novels, I liked this book as it was more on the cerebral side.what was driving Alec Milius to make the decisions he did. I found there was enough drama and twists to keep my interest to the very end. I like the author's writing style enough that I will try another of his books.
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