Monday, 9 June 2014

A Colder War - Charles Cumming


Courtesy:www.janklowandnesbit.co.uk
A spy thriller with a slow paced plot.

I was excited to receive this book as part of goodreads giveaway. I heard a lot about its prequel A foreign country and was eager to get started on this one. The slow placed plot was a major disappointment, aren't spy stories supposed to be racy from the word go? Thomas Kell as a character who is a disgraced spy is good and intriguing. Although slow to begin with the last 150 pages is where the action and a reader's delight from that point.

Gist:

Thomas Kell, an out of favour agent is called in by his boss to investigate the suspicious circumstances surrounding a close friend's death. The idea is that there is a mole who has been sniffing out secrets and passing them on to the enemy and Kell has to identify and the nail the guy to clear his friend's name and the find out the reason for his death.

What works:


  • Thomas Kell as a central character is great and Cumming provides sufficient background to acquaint and endear the reader to him.


  • The whole idea of spy world is quite authentic too. It reminded me of the BBC drama Spooks, the concept of duplicity and secrecy that goes with it and this story contains layers of it.
  • The writing style in in keeping with the kind of story: simple, straighforward manner even when it comes to painting the complexities of characters.
  • The  love-hate relationship between the MI-6 and CIA is also well done


What doesn't:


  • The plot is too slow for a spy story. Cumming spends a lot of time explaining the background perhaps for the benefit of those who have not read A foreign country. This however, does not help the story much and this reader who has not read the prequel feels a bit trapped with so much background info when all she wants to do is get on with the story.
  • Too much time spent in the heads of characters which delays the action. Though it helps in setting the story quite elaborate, it restrains the pace of the story .

However, action really picks up in the second half and the reader is in for a treat as Kell chases the mole down and nails him. The story also has an open ending, paving way for the third book in the triology.

In a nutshell:

A good read. However, this writer demands patience on the part of the reader. The back of the cover indicates the possibility of a film in future and will be looking forward to it.
Perhaps in this case, the movie will be better than the book.


No comments:

Post a comment