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@Villiers53 - Have you read 'Stamboul Train'?
Thanks a million for bringing this to my attention!
I itching to read Eric Ambler's 'A Coffin for Dimitrios' and perhaps dive into another Le Carre - maybe 'The Honorable Schoolboy' or 'Tinker...'
It's a prequel to his Rain series and is set in Tokyo in the '70s and apart from having a fabulous plot, it explains how Rain became the uber-cool, single malt drinking, jazz loving, charismatic freelance assassin that those in the know have learnt to love.
It's a great way for debutants to get into Rain and for those of you that already have — you won't need my recommendation!
'Series' sounds like a commitment, but it's not like that. Just start with the first book, Flashman, and see what you think.
The idea is that the school bully, Flashy, from Tom Brown's Schooldays, goes on to great success in the army, albeit as a scoundrel, cad, coward of the first order - yet events conspire to have him fall on his feet and emerge a hero of the British Empire. It is written in the first person, looking back on his life with candour, as recently discovered memoirs. Don't worry if you haven't read Tom Brown, neither have I.
Flashy goes on to be present at most of the great historical events of the 19th century. The follow-up to Flashman, Royal Flash, is set around the time of the 1848 revolutions (though I don't rate that one so much), the next one, Flash For Freedom! deals with the slave trade, I'd skip the next one, Flashman and the Redskins as it jumps forward several decades two thirds of the way through, save it for later, but Flashman and the Charge I am currently reading, it set in Crimea and features the Charge of the Light Brigade, certainly topical with events in the Ukraine, and Macdonald Fraser's (or is it Flashman's?) view of the Russians is wonderfully unPC and with a dash of truth, one feels.
Of course, the writer helped with the script of Octopussy, though that's a bit like saying Elton John is known for playing on a John Lennon record in the mid 1970s.
Anyway, just start with Flashman to get a taste of it.
I have long thought Cumming to be one of, if not the best, in the ranks of new spy writers and his new spy opus confirms him as such.
Although Charles' Alec Milius books bored me rigid, my preoccupation with the genre lead to me giving him another try with 'Typhoon'. A book I love and one I put up there with Le Carre's 'The Honourable Schoolboy'. He followed this up with 'The Trinity Six', another fabulous stand alone and then with 'A Foreign Country' the first in a trilogy featuring a disenfranchised MI6 agent called Thomas Kell.
'A Colder War' is the second in that series and sees Kell asked by the female head of MI6 to look into the dubious death of Turkey's head of station. The story concerns a mole but is more about Kell's desire to find redemption whilst ensuring that the mole doesn't evade justice than any Tinker, Tailor type scenario.
Cumming's take on the secret world is ultra realistic but the story moves at a pace and although he is much compared to Le Carre, personally I find him more akin to a young Deighton. There is a humour and irreverence that underpins his work that reminds me of Len.
That said, he is his own man and after Milius I had some reservations when he announced that Kell would be a series character but with Thomas, he has created a character we can all like and root for. Unlike the despicable Milius who was outright dislikable.
You can read 'A Colder War' but you'll get more out of it if you take in 'A Foreign Country' first. All in all Cumming is quite the man when it comes to contemporary espionage — read and enjoy.
I've read all Cumming's books now; I do rate 'The Spanish Game' quite highly though in the Milius series, above 'A Spy By Nature' and 'The Hidden Man'. Still both worth reading to see the progression in his writing.
'Typhoon' is excellent but he's definitely onto something with Thomas Kell. Already, Colin Firth has optioned the books, so it could be a big break for Mr. Cumming.
A quick nod to Stephen Fry's 'Revenge', which has a little bit of espionage/MI5 in it. I thought this book was remarkable - it's essentially a re-telling of 'The Count of Monte Cristo'. It would make a great film and I'd highly recommend anyone reading this. Published in 2000 and rather forgotten about sadly.
Congratulations @007InVT on getting into Graham Greene. Now you've broken the ice, you must read "Brighton Rock" - I think it's his best but frankly all his "entertainments" are good and he was doubtless a strong influence on Fleming.
Another author I'm sure you would enjoy is Eric Ambler. Try his 'A Coffin for Dimitrio's'. It is fabulous.
As for TSWCIFTC, if you haven't read it, it's a must for any spy aficionado and has to be in anybody's all time top five espionage novels.
Since then, have picked up 'A Coffin for Dimitrios', am reading 'The Third Man' and read Le Carre's 'Our Kind of Traitor'.
Just started John Altman's 'A Gathering of Spies' - so far so good on that one. After that, I have Alan Furst's 'A Polish Officer' on deck.
Delighted that you are getting into Ambler, Furst and Le Carre. They are all truly excellent writers.
Frankly, they should have had it as a contender (and winner) last year.
Great writer but sometimes, the translations aren't brilliant.
Unfortunately I do not know Afrikaans.
Doubtless not the fault of the authors, just the inevitability of linguistic differences.
But, no mistake Meyer is brilliant.
But, if you like Stark you will absolutely adore the late great Ted Lewis. He's better than Stark but never repeated himself and was truly the king of 'hard boiled'.
His books are extremely difficult to get hold of. He is best known for 'Jack's Return Home' (filmed as 'Get Carter') but 'Plender', 'Billy Rags' and 'GBH' are just as good. Undoubtably the best noir I've ever read but beware, the streets are mean and there is no redemption!
That said I generally like Donald Westlake even in his Stark persona.
It's not in the same league as "The Day Of The Jackal" but what is.
Good read. I picked it up because I really enjoyed his previous book, The Cobra (2010)
Both books are edgy, contemporay espionage yarns. He's a good no nonsense storyteller.
Cobra is an interesting take on a major off-books plan to take down the Columbian drug trade.