A Spy by Nature: A Novel (Alec Milius)


by: Cumming, Charles
Format: Hardcover

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Product Description This is what they told me a long time ago. Only make contact in the event of an emergency. Only telephone if you believe that your position has been fatally compromised. Under no circumstances are you to approach us unless it is absolutely necessary in order to preserve the security of the operation. This is the number. Alec Milius is young, smart, and ambitious.  He also has a talent for deception.  He is working in a dead-end job when a chance encounter leads him to MI6, the elite British Secret Intelligence Service, handing him an opportunity to play center-stage in a dangerous game of espionage. In his new line of work, Alec finds that the difference between the truth and a lie can mean the difference between life and death--and he is having trouble telling them apart.  Isolated and exposed, he must play a role in which the slightest glance or casual remark can seem heavy with unintended menace.  Caught between British and American Intelligence, Alec finds himself threatened and alone, unable to confide in even his closest friend.  His life as a spy begins to exact a terrible price, both on himself and on those around him. Richly atmospheric and chillingly plausible, A Spy By Nature announces the arrival of British author Charles Cumming as heir apparent to masters like John le Carré and Len Deighton.  A bestseller in England, it's the gripping story of a young man driven by ruthless ambition who finds himself chasing not just success, but survival. From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Loosely based on the author's real-life experience of having been recruited by the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in 1995, Cumming's supremely intelligent and utterly readable debut will delight fans of such British masters of spy fiction as John le Carré, Robert Ludlum and Len Deighton. Alec Milius, a 24-year-old marketing consultant for a tiny London company that solicits business people in central and eastern Europe to advertise in a dubious publication called Central European Business Review, welcomes the chance to join the SIS, which after an exhausting selection process places him as a support agent with a British oil company. Alec initially thrives in his new job, but as he becomes increasingly entangled in his mission, he begins to face unexpected dangers as well as the loss of his identity. 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. (July) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From Booklist Industrial espionage is where aging cold warriors go to die and where silly, young twits with illusions of grandeur go to feel like contenders. Alec Milius is one of the twits; when he is turned down for Britain's SIS, he lands with a quasi-rogue offshoot whose mission is to steal secrets from an American oil company. It all seems glamorous enough at first, albeit without any Bondish derring-do, or even much le Carré tradecraft, but gradually the dirt comes to the surface, and young Alec has been reduced to a piece of detritus floating in an ocean of hazardous waste. Cumming, who survived a tour with the SIS in the 1990s, appears to speak with authority, and he certainly amasses a convincing arrary of details to support his view of industrial espionage as a soul-destroying exercise in postmodern absurdity. Although he never quite succeeds in making his twit-hero altogether sympathetic, he comes remarkably close: poor Alec Milius gets sucker punched just like Alec Leamus in le Carré's Spy Who Came In from the Cold, but the more gullible the sucker, the less we feel the punch. Ott, Bill Review “A pulsating thriller… The author transforms the mundane — transmitting a fax, playing tennis, attending a dinner party — into tension-packed scenarios." -- Entertainment Weekly   "Well rese


Product Code: 9780312366353
ISBN: 0312366353
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 2007-07-10
Number of Pages: 368 pages
Languages: english
Edition: First Edition/First Printing
Dimension: 6.3 x 1.42 x 9.21 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds