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Book giveaway this week: A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming

(35 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 11-Jul-13 17:57:41

If you're looking for a gripping and suspenseful spy thriller to take on your hols, Charles Cumming's A Foreign Country is a great choice.

Amelia Lavene is about to take up her post as the first female head of M16 when she goes missing without trace. M16 is plunged into crisis and are desperately trying to figure out what's happened before the story is leaked. However, the crisis offers disgraced M16 Thomas Kell a chance of redemption and he embarks on a dangerous journey throughout France and North Africa to track her down.

A Foreign Country was winner of the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012 for Best Thriller of the Year and selected by Sunday Times and The Guardian as best thriller. Author Charles Cumming has written a special note to tell mumsnetters about the inspiration behind his novel. Read his note and apply for a free copy. If you're one of the lucky 50 do come back when you've read and discuss.

FrootLoops Wed 04-Dec-13 12:22:13

I haven't finished this book. I tried and then tried again to get into it and just couldn't. It should have been a quick read as the writing seemed to flow well but I just couldn't make myself care about any of the characters or the outcome of the story. I was disappointed as it did sound intriguing.

BigGapMum Thu 07-Nov-13 11:54:47

I enjoyed reading this book.

I found it fairly light reading for a spy thriller. It started a bit slowly, but I wouldn't have described it as a very slow start. The storyline developed well and the characters seemed rounded.

There was a certain amount of gender stereotyping within the book, which I did find a tad annoying, but it did not ruin the book for me.

By the end I felt satisfied that all the aspects of the story had been answered, and it didn't leave me asking "but what about..."

bettybooboo1 Tue 27-Aug-13 19:51:55

I did give it another go and finished it quickly . It was (fortunately) an easy read and I did want to know how it ended but still didn't change my view that it's a boys book. I found it incredibly irritating that the male protaganist was constantly referred to by his (macho) surname but his female superior was referred to by her (girly) first name. I would have watched it on TV but it read too much like a script to me not a novel. Sorry, I did try!

AugustRose Mon 26-Aug-13 14:38:29

I didn't really enjoy this book sorry. As others have said it was a very slow start and I was 2/3rds of the way through before it picked up at all. I found the main characters a bit too cliched but then perhaps I have watched too many films with similar stories! It's a shame because I love a good thriller but this didn't do it for me.

hanbee Wed 21-Aug-13 20:33:02

I really enjoyed reading this and found it a quick read too. As others have said, I found it a bit slow to begin with but tge last third was fast paced and kept me reading on way after I should have been sleeping! I've already passed the book on to my Dad who's into spy stories.

mindingalongtime Mon 19-Aug-13 17:36:33

Just started to read this, strange having a paperback in my hands, normally use mini iPad or kindle. I am enjoying it and I am really keen to finish it.

SunshinePanda Fri 16-Aug-13 08:07:33

I thought the plot moved at a god pace and I was soon hooked into the story. It was well written and an engaging read. Thank you

TabbyM Tue 13-Aug-13 10:10:53

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but this was a pleasant surprise. A slow start which soon became page-turning, a good solid spy thriller without too much graphic violence and multi-faceted characters. I will be recommending to my Dad!

SisterMatic Sat 10-Aug-13 10:16:14

Finished it last night.

Have to say, it didn't grab me until towards the end. I thought it was quite slow to begin with. I thought the characters, on the other hand, were very well written and I did buy into them.

wibblyjelly Fri 09-Aug-13 22:46:21

Just finished it. I will admit it took me a while to get into the story. The first half of the book was quite slow, but I enjoyed the 2nd half where there was a lot more action. I think it would make a good film as well.

fedupofpoo Fri 09-Aug-13 15:25:27

Not my cup of tea I'm afraid,found it slow and not interesting,didn't even finish it,and that doesn't happen often!

wibblyjelly Thu 08-Aug-13 18:34:13

I'm still reading through this on the tube into work. I'm enjoying it so far, hoping to read most of it tonight.

clux73 Wed 07-Aug-13 14:58:19

Hello, I've finished this now, read it in about two days. I enjoyed the book but found the ending a bit rushed. Thought there were some good strong characters and it wasn't as unbelievable as some spy based books I've read. I would read another book by this author.

aristocat Mon 05-Aug-13 21:51:56

Finished reading this now and I cannot say how much I enjoyed it smile Super writing and great characters especially Amelia and Kell.

I am looking forward to reading more Thomas Kell books .....

SisterMatic Mon 05-Aug-13 20:03:25

I too am enjoying the short chapters..I will come and write my thoughts down when I have finished it..taking me longer than usual but then there is a lot of teething going on in the SisterMatic household!

clux73 Mon 05-Aug-13 16:28:26

Hello, received my copy but only starting it today. Will read and post feedback as quickly as I can!

BookwormMummy Sun 04-Aug-13 17:11:08

tinypumpkin I know what you mean, short chapters can be lifelines when you're a mother!

aristocat Sun 04-Aug-13 16:33:58

I am loving this book and unable to put it down. It is one that I would easily recommend. i also have found myself a new stash of books to read - thank you Mr Cumming.

tinypumpkin Fri 02-Aug-13 17:54:19

I have to say that I really enjoyed this too. I could not put it down at all which is a good sign. I really liked the short chapters, perhaps that is just more reflective of reading when you have small children!

I found the characters believable and really did think the plot was well written. I was not able to second guess anything so that was all good.

Thank you very much. Off to find more of the same by the author.

mirai Fri 02-Aug-13 13:57:19

Noooo keep going Betty!!

bettybooboo1 Fri 02-Aug-13 13:46:57

I received a free copy which was great., I started the book but couldn't really get into it, the prose was a bit clunky and it felt a bit too much of a boy's thriller - the sort of thing my DH loves in fact so he will be taking it on holiday. I'll report back on his thoughts.

mirai Fri 02-Aug-13 05:51:49

I didn't know this was a mumsnet read, I stumbled across it by accident but I absolutely loved it, and agree with much of bookworm's review. In fact I'm now halfway through my fourth CC novel, love his style and of course I love a good spy mystery! He writes very well and I like the intriguing twists and turns in his novels.

BookwormMummy Thu 01-Aug-13 09:56:09

Wow! Surprisingly enough this turned out to be a book that I just had to stay up and finish off...

When I saw my favorite L.P Hartley quote at the beginning I was curious although I was not expecting to enjoy this book because it's not a genre that I would usually chose to read. I think it's because the whole spy genre tends to be written in a very masculine way, and full of testosterone which I just have no enthusiasm for but Charles has managed to write in such a way that makes it approachable for a woman to read, understand and even enjoy this subject whilst not losing any credibility.

Amelia was such a well drawn character but above all believable. What made her even more refreshing though was how she conducted herself. Not once did we see her stumble, fluff or embarrass herself with some stupid phrases or awkward conversations, not once did she falter in the presence of other males and not once did we have to witness her deciding on her wardrobe, make-up, etc or droning on about her emotions.

I read constantly like there's no tomorrow and I have yet to come across a female character like Amelia and it makes me realise just how much we are missing out on by not having such strong characters both in the literary sense and in real life.

(Charles' note to Mumsnet summed this up perfectly)

I have to admit though, I loved the character of Kell. Everything about his character was commendable especially when placed against a barrage of unscrupulous characters such as Luc.

I actually gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads after I finished it and I do believe I may just go and buy another of his books. If anything I think I have now found myself a new genre...

hanbee Thu 01-Aug-13 09:38:32

Arrived home from our holiday yesterday and found a copy of this waiting for me. Was very pleased as I hadn't received an email telling me I was getting one. Perfect timing as I had just finished my last book. Thank you!

lottietiger Wed 31-Jul-13 22:15:14

Received my copy today, thank you.. hopefully its ok to wait a little for the review as i would love to take this on holiday to read on the beach

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