Typhoon: A Novel

Typhoon: A Novel

4.4 56
by Charles Cumming
     
 

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Charles Cumming, lauded internationally as the successor to John le Carré, returns with his biggest, most ambitious thriller to date. Beginning in 1997, just as the British are about to re - turn Hong Kong to Chinese rule, Joe Lennox, a young opera tive for SIS (MI6), loses both his girlfriend and his first high profile asset—a prominent defector who

Overview

Charles Cumming, lauded internationally as the successor to John le Carré, returns with his biggest, most ambitious thriller to date. Beginning in 1997, just as the British are about to re - turn Hong Kong to Chinese rule, Joe Lennox, a young opera tive for SIS (MI6), loses both his girlfriend and his first high profile asset—a prominent defector who disappears from a safe house. The girlfriend he lost to Miles Coolidge, a hard-bitten CIA agent; the asset to collusion between his bosses and the CIA. Over ten years later, during the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, Lennox is back in China, facing his old nemeses. With the CIA plotting to use an Islamic group to destabilize China, the SIS seeking to thwart them and his old asset the key to all of this, Joe Lennox, Miles Coolidge, and the girlfriend they shared are all hopelessly intertwined in a plot where trust is impossible and truth is unknowable.
PLUS SPECIAL BONUS CONTENT: FIRST CHAPTER "SNEAK PEEK" OF CHARLES CUMMING'S THE TRINITY SIX.
The 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…
"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." – Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on The Trinity Six

The Trinity Six is a Kirkus Reviews Best of 2011 Thrillers title.

Editorial Reviews

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429985444
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/27/2009
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
216,554
File size:
679 KB

Meet the Author

CHARLES CUMMING is the author of the international bestselling thrillers A Spy By Nature and The Spanish Game. He is a contributing editor of The Week magazine and currently lives in London.


CHARLES CUMMING is the author of the first Thomas Kell book, A Foreign Country, as well as the New York Times bestselling thriller The Trinity Six, and others including A Spy by Nature and Typhoon. He lives with his family in London.

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Typhoon 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
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
KenCady More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Touches noses with moonpaw
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked over and touched noses with Dovepaw. "This'll be fun" she smiled at Dovepaw and raised her head to chant the new apprentice's names.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I vote to keep this a clan. ~Dawnsky
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Are going to die
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Bluefeather rose, brushing noses with Shypaw <p> Roseleaf cheered, "Shypaw! Juniperpaw!"
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He bows his head respectfully. He looks up, his eye glowing with suprise and pride. "I won't let you down." He purred. Moon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He smiled as they touched noses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smiled. She touches noses with JuniperPaw.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nightfall?
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They watch.
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She pads through the undergrowth, searching for prey.
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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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She angrily looked at Striking's rules
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E
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Do we have to use symbol for our name? (Sick)
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The pure white shecat pads in sadly and lays down
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Hi?
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Fox.