Typhoon

( 69 )

Overview

Typhoon, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year a Top Ten Thriller of the Year (London Times), further confirms what all the critics around the world have been saying:  Charles Cumming is a modern master of the classic espionage thriller, heir to le Carre and Deighton.

In 1997, a few months before the British government is scheduled to return Hong Kong to Chinese rule, Joe Lennox, a brilliant young operative for SIS (MI6), loses both his girlfriend and his first ...

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Typhoon: A Novel

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Overview

Typhoon, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year a Top Ten Thriller of the Year (London Times), further confirms what all the critics around the world have been saying:  Charles Cumming is a modern master of the classic espionage thriller, heir to le Carre and Deighton.

In 1997, a few months before the British government is scheduled to return Hong Kong to Chinese rule, Joe Lennox, a brilliant young operative for SIS (MI6), loses both his girlfriend and his first high profile asset – a prominent defector who disappears from a safe house. The girlfriend, the ravishing Isabella Aubert, he lost to Miles Coolidge, a hard-bitten CIA agent; the asset to collusion between his bosses and the CIA.

A decade later, Lennox is back in China, facing his old nemeses. With the CIA plotting to use an Islamic group to destablize China, the SIS seeking to thwart them and his old asset the key to all of this, Lennox, Coolidge, and the girlfriend they shared are hopelessly intertwined in a plot where trust is impossible and truth is unknowable.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Typhoon is easy to like. The plot is tight and complex, and the local details are accurate about the three main cities where it is set: Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing."—James Fallows, The New York Times Book Review

 

"In the tradition of old-school espionage fiction, Cumming lets character rather than plot carry this compelling thriller. William Lasker, a second-string agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, takes on the job of writing a book about a rogue CIA plot against the People's Republic of China. The action, which takes place mainly in Hong Kong and Shanghai, focuses on Joe Lennox, an SIS undercover agent in China, and an older CIA veteran, Miles Coolidge. Several months before the turnover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997, a defector, Professor Wang Kaixuan, climbs out of the South China Sea and announces he has important secret information. After the professor disappears, Joe slowly learns the defector has become part of Typhoon, a secret CIA plan being run by Miles whose aim is to destabilize China. The conflict between Joe and Miles, both personal and professional, fuels this complex and satisfying novel."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

James Fallows
As a thriller, Typhoon is easy to like. The plot is tight and complex, and the local details are accurate about the three main cities where it is set: Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing. The questions and tensions set up in the first 300 or so pages are resolved in a multifront action scene through the final 100 pages, as characters converge from around the country to create or thwart terrorist violence. I think of spy fiction set in Europe—by John le Carre, Alan Furst, Charles McCarry—as being dark in ambiance and mood: twilight scenes, drizzle, disappointed characters with their best years and opportunities behind them. Cumming's tone is correspondingly bright, partly thanks to the pep of urban China, partly because the characters are young and on the make.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In the tradition of old-school espionage fiction, Cumming (The Spanish Game) lets character rather than plot carry this compelling thriller. William Lasker, a second-string agent of the British Secret Intelligence Service, takes on the job of writing a book about a rogue CIA plot against the People’s Republic of China. The action, which takes place mainly in Hong Kong and Shanghai, focuses on Joe Lennox, an SIS undercover agent in China, and an older CIA veteran, Miles Coolidge. Several months before the turnover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997, a defector, Professor Wang Kaixuan, climbs out of the South China Sea and announces he has important secret information. After the professor disappears, Joe slowly learns the defector has become part of Typhoon, a secret CIA plan being run by Miles whose aim is to destabilize China. The conflict between Joe and Miles, both personal and professional, fuels this complex and satisfying novel. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
An MI6 agent must balance the personal and the professional as he tries to thwart the American agent who stole the woman he loves. Joe Lennox, a British agent operating under deep cover in Hong Kong, is everything Miles Coolidge, his CIA counterpart, is not. While Joe is soft spoken and calm, Miles is brash, loud and confrontational; while Joe has a conscience, both personally and professionally, Miles is unburdened by nagging thoughts of right and wrong. So when Miles plans to steal Joe's beautiful and charming girlfriend, he uses all the dirty tricks at his disposal. Not satisfied with wrecking Joe's personal life, Miles also steals a career-making asset from him, namely Professor Wang, a Han Chinese scholar with information about human-rights abuses carried out by the Chinese government against the Uighur population in Xinjiang. Joe is left heartbroken and adrift as the 1997 handover of Hong Kong from British sovereignty to Chinese rule marks the end of his mission. Flash forward to 2008, when the Brits begin to suspect that the CIA is thinking about reviving a dangerous operation, code-named Typhoon, to undermine stability in China. All evidence points to Miles' involvement, so Joe, given his personal history with the rogue CIA agent, is just the man to do a little digging, provided he can keep his personal feelings for his target-and his target's wife-from getting in the way of duty. The spy trade as rendered by Cumming (The Spanish Game, 2009, etc.) is all about uncertainty, caution, subtlety and a feel for human relationships, which rings truer, if less adrenaline-inducing, than the testosterone-soaked, knockout-karate-chops-to-the-necks-of-mujahideen approach favored by many ofhis peers. The tension here is delivered with style, grace and a great sense for the interpersonal, which provides a true sense of depth, as does Cumming's knack for writing about expat life in contemporary China in a way that feels very real. A stately thriller for grown-ups.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312654207
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 255,322
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

CHARLES CUMMING is the author of  the international bestselling thrillers A Spy by Nature and The Spanish Game, as well as the forthcoming The Trinity Six. He is a contributing editor of The Week and currently lives in London.  

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 69 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(50)

4 Star

(8)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an intriguing espionage thriller

    The year is 1997 and British M16 Agent Joe Lennox and CIA Operative Miles Coolidge are polar opposites in their personal lives and how they perform their job. Whereas Joe is a reflective introvert who sees the full cost of a scenario from all sides; Mile is a take the hill extrovert who does not give damn about costs even collateral damage to innocent people. This pair clash personally and professionally just a few months before the British leave Hong Kong to the Chinese.

    Miles steals Joe's girlfriend as the hand off of the city ends the latter's mission. Han Chinese scholar Professor Wang Kaixuan, climbing out of the South China Sea, claims he has proof on China's human-rights violations against the Uighur population in Xinjiang. The scholar was to work with Joe, but he vanishes. Miles takes the professor and makes him a critical element in Project Typhoon, a scheme to subvert the Chinese government. Over a decade later, M16 learns of the revival of failed Typhoon under Miles' tutelage; Joe volunteers to learn the truth though he loathes the man who married the woman he still loves.

    Typhoon is an intriguing espionage thriller in which the enemies are albeit on the same side. However, what makes this super is the chaos and personal baggage that fog professional decisions. Readers will enjoy touring China with guides Joe and Miles as Charles Cumming provides a cerebral spy thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Spies and Intrigue, Well-done

    To read a spy novel written by a British writer after the horrors of the Bush administration is a particular delight. There is no holding back on the frost that has developed over relations with the Cousins. Cumming takes a look at Hong Kong and Shanghai mostly, but brings in issues of concern to all the great powers. We follow a young and idealistic Brit as he learns the intricacies of deep undercover work. Of course, a woman, betrayal, and bombs figure appropriately. If you have wanted to live the expat life, here's a good taste of what it could be like. I really enjoyed this one and recommend it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Purple Eyes

    They watch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2014

    Sandleaf

    She ignores the thrush then picks up her mouse and squirrel and mouse and pads back to camp.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2014

    Darkspirit

    She pads through the undergrowth, searching for prey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Glimmershine's bio

    She's white with blue eyes. Mateless. Has a wittle black spot on her front left paw. No kits. No crush, but just because there aren't enough toms. And everything else I forgot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Ceaderhearts Bio

    Name: Cedarheart**Gender: shecat**Looks: gray with white spots and shining yelloow eyes**personality: loving, strong**Crush: Deadstar**

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 26, 2014

    Blazeskys bio

    Name:blazesky gender:female peltcolor:black with black dots and tail is white eyes pale blue paws white

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Ghost's bio

    Name:ghost age:idk gender:male species:wolf des:all black with strange faded white stream looking streaks through his fur and he has white eyes ((not blind)) crush:mabye mate:sadly no pups:no history:idk family:idk per:quiet nice tough on th outside soft on the inside fierce in battle anything else ask

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Darkfur

    Namr is darkfur, age is unknown ( who gives a fuq anyway?) Desc. Is black tom with red headsvruff red line from back of neck to tip of tail. One red arm otherpawtips red baby blue eyes. Red bowtie on chest ( thats his fur design. Not a real bowtie.) Hr wears a half mask over one side of his face.
    History dont ask
    Matr none
    Crush none
    Gender male

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Scorch

    Name: Scorch * Age: Teen * Apperance: Reddish brown pelt with deep brown eyes * Personality: Nice secrative and mischevious * Meet me at minka res two if ya need to talk in private.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    The Stranger

    The stranger scent marks everywhere, even over Striking's rules.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    &real to Striking or should i say (pu<_>ssy cat)

    Wat the fu<_>ck is up th he rules. Their ret<_>arded u son of a bit<_>ch. Hope u burn up in he<_>ll u moth<_>er fuc<_>ker of an a<_>ss ho<_>le.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    007 囘

    Never slime ball

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    Misery 囘

    Mhm. More idiotic rules. Rawr! I'm so scared!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    &r

    Ummmm how do u do r symbol

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2013

    B&I

    She angrily looked at Striking's rules

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    Corruption

    (Flies in) Ugh, I just got lured into the WCPD. Where are the bios.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    111#

    @#3

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 69 Customer Reviews

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