cover image A Colder War

A Colder War

Charles Cumming. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-250-02061-1

Cumming’s intricate sequel to 2012’s A Foreign Country finds British operative Thomas Kell, who’s been indefinitely suspended from the SIS, reevaluating his life between pints of pale ale at a London pub. But when the call comes from “C”— SIS’s first female chief, Amelia Levene—Kell is back in the game, tasked with unraveling the mystery surrounding the suspicious death of Paul Wallinger, an SIS agent stationed in Turkey who happened to be C’s former lover. The death, coupled with the murders of a growing number of “assets” throughout the region and the failure of numerous joint operations between SIS and the CIA, point to a mole inside western intelligence whose existence threatens every SIS operation—and operative—in the Middle East. It’s hard not to root for a character like Kell—deeply cynical but still very much an idealist—and the bombshell plot twists toward the novel’s conclusion will have spy fiction aficionados eagerly awaiting the next installment. Agent: Luke Janklow, Janklow & Nesbit. (Aug.)