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The Hidden Man

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  445 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Mark and Benjamin Keen haven't seen their father, Christopher, for more than twenty years.

He has only just begun to shed light on his life as a master spy when he is murdered in cold blood by an unidentified assassin.

Was his death connected to his MI6 past? Had Christopher uncovered a dangerous conspiracy involving his eldest son? And what were his links to Moscow, Afghani
Paperback, 352 pages
Published 2003 by Michael Joseph
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(showing 1-30 of 1,278)
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Mar 25, 2011 Ahsan rated it liked it
Pretty good. I picked this up because I'm following the author on Twitter (@CharlesCumming). And spy novels - I love em.

It's a different kind of spy novel, though. It's very much the story of two ordinary young men whose father, a retired MI6 spy, is murdered. It captures, convincingly, the portrait of ordinary people faced with unusual circumstances.

I like the writing. You feel involved with the characters' flaws, you want to hit them over the head sometimes and sometimes you want to reach out
Kevin Scott
Oct 14, 2011 Kevin Scott rated it liked it
This book was remarkably difficult to find in the US. It is not (legally) available as an ebook, it is in very few libraries, and difficult to find on Amazon or on book swap web pages. It's a good read, but like the other Cumming books it's a slow build (and it's a lot slower build than his others, which are slow to build). The first 60% of this book, until the first murder, just seems like padding to make the book get to novel-length. If you make it that far (and a little bit farther), then the ...more
Feb 29, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
Charles Cumming is a “newish” author in the spy/espionage genre, his books dating back to 2001, and he has been favorably compared to John LeCarre. Now before you George Smiley fans start hyperventilating, here’s the good news and maybe the bad news. The author’s characters are very reminiscent of LeCarre’s. They are self-centered, manipulative, scheming, secretive and more than occasionally, flat-out liars – in a word smarmy. Cumming also likes to mix his amateur spies with the professionals. O ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Zhiqing rated it liked it
Having read all of the other spy thrillers written by Charles Cummings (A Spy by Nature, Spanish Game, Typhoon & Trinity Six), I was stoked to finally lay my hands on Cumming's very first novel. This debut novel painted a grim picture of contemporary intelligence world that is as compromising, ruthless and dirty as the Cold War espionage portrayed in Jon Le Carre's novels. Though not as complex and intriguing as Cumming's other wroks, it is still a very impressive debut from a former spy.
Mal Warwick
Nov 25, 2015 Mal Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you look for the best contemporary spy novels, you’ve probably come across the work of Charles Cumming. His books, including The Trinity Six, A Spy by Nature, Typhoon, A Colder War, and A Foreign Country represent some of the best espionage fiction to be published in recent years. Unlike so many of his competitors in the genre, Cumming’s characters are believable and his plots generally fall somewhere within the bounds of possibility. His flawed heroes, Alec Milius and Thomas Kell, resemble J ...more
Bev Taylor
Aug 24, 2016 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
mark and ben have not seen their father for over 20 years. he walked out on them and their mother and worked as a spy

he reconciled with mark but ben refused to have anything to do with him. now he has been killed

is his death connected to his mi6 past? or connected to a dangerous conspiracy involving mark? and what were his links to moscow, afghanistan and the russian mafia in london? to discover the truth his sons r drawn into his legacy as a spy

a fast moving plot, criminal agencies with out
David Hull
Mar 31, 2012 David Hull rated it liked it
It may be because my reading of the book was interrupted a number of times but although initially I found the story line interesting, intriguing and entertaining, by the time I got to the end I was rather more confused by what I'd read than I had expected. Cummings is a recently favorite author of mine but this one won't be a memorable read unfortunately.
Sandy Kell
Dec 14, 2015 Sandy Kell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. As a fan of Charles Cummings novels and of the espionage genre in general, I was not disappointed.
This story was a little different from a lot of spy stories in that it focuses heavily on the relationship issues between a British spy (MI5) and the family he deserted when he chose his career over them. Those issues escalate when, years later, he reappears and wants some involvement in his two sons' lives. One son is open to having his father back in his l
May 12, 2016 Lynn rated it liked it
I think so far I've liked Cumming's The Spanish Game more than the others.
Aug 06, 2013 John rated it liked it
Shelves: espionage
Whilst I enjoyed this book, it disappointed me a little after the excellence of the two Alec Milius books and Typhoon. The set up, with an ex SIS father seeking to re-engage with his two sons after a twenty year gap takes a while to establish; but once the story moves into full spy mode, the momentum gathers, and because so many people are telling lies to everyone involved, it gets a little confusing; despite Cummings' usual crisp writing style and mastery of dialogue.
The background this time ro
Dec 14, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
Fortunately for this reviewer - but not for this review - the first Charles Cumming book I read was "The Spanish Game" - one of the most enjoyable novel's I've ever read in this genre. And then "A Foreign Country", which was even better and "A Colder War" which was amazing. After giving up on "Typhoon", I bought this paperback from UK Amazon because the Kindle version is not yet available in America and I could not wait for that.

This is Charles Cumming's second novel. It's starts with killing of
J. Ewbank
This book by Cumming is not your usual quick read mystery. It takes time to read this book--no skipping from first sentence of one paragraph to the first sentence of the next paragraph. There are several main characters and they have to be sketched out for us to understand and know. The plot is twisted enough to keep you reading until the end--and what an end.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the Isms" "Wesley's Wars" "To Whom It May Concern" and "Tell Me About the United Me
Marty Fried
Jun 24, 2016 Marty Fried rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This was my first book by Charles Cumming. I came across a review, which compared him to Le Carre, an author I liked a lot in the past and read most of his books. So that got my interest, and I can see the similarities.

I enjoyed the book, and finished it pretty quickly. There was a lot going on, and I was slightly lost at the end, probably due mostly to the Russian names, and the fact that at least one had multiple names. Also, the main English characters were two brothers and their father, so t
Feb 12, 2016 Fred rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Russians are coming!

Maybe they are, but not in this book. The characters are mostly forgettable and plot never really engaged me. One assignation at the end was a surprise - the rest of the story not so much.
Ryan Mac
Dec 08, 2015 Ryan Mac rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
That...was mediocre. I have enjoyed a number of this author's other books but this one was not great. In the author's note at the beginning, he says that this was his second book, written over a decade ago. It definitely shows--his more recent efforts are significantly better.
Feb 12, 2016 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sophisticated – and convoluted – spy thriller. The book demonstrates how bad things can go in an espionage operation when ego and human weakness get in the way.
Jon McClintock
A story that never gets started

I'd hoped that the author would give a hint of a bigger picture after hours of shallow character development. A wasted read. Really.
Jun 13, 2016 Jonathan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyable page-turner from my favourite thriller-writer. This one even has a message - don't imagine it is fun to be an amateur spy! Leave it to the professionals!
Thomas Dale
Feb 12, 2016 Thomas Dale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My librarian friend and I share a liking for this author. She let me borrow this book which she had to order from the UK. It is a good spy novel.
Chris Drake
Mar 13, 2015 Chris Drake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Cumming

He just gets better and better. At last, after early Le Carre, we have a new gold standard for this genre.
Siobhan Burns
Didn't come together in that satisfying way of a good spy novel -- I basically didn't understand what the eff happened.
Marian Kendricks
Although the same themes were present throughout The Hidden Man as in his most recent novels. Cummings has added more tension and better pacing since writing THM. My main enjoyment reading THM was reflecting on how Cummings style evolved.
I often find his main spymaster characters cold or detached, I also expect the spy to be aloof, but admirable to a degree. Keen, the father and his sons, were tiresome. Maybe he did such a great job creating the self absorption era of the 1990's that his chara
Jul 31, 2009 Penny rated it it was ok
Mark and Benjamin Keen have had no contact with thier father for over twenty years. When he suddenly appears, hoping for reconciliation, he begins to tell the brothers of his secret life as an espioage agent. His story is just emerging when he is murdered by an unknown assasin. To discover the truth and to avenge thier father's death - Mark and Benjamin must immerse themselves in a covert world where nobody can be trusted and information commands a heavy price.

never really caught the line of thi
Feb 08, 2016 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Predictable and terrible ending, felt like it was rushed
Normal spy thriller. Involving Russian Mafia. Not very impressive.
One of his early books, and his writing has improved since. Still, has some interesting plot twists.
Apr 23, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
nothing to say.
Steve Hansen
Eric Grounds
May 13, 2015 Eric Grounds rated it really liked it
Cracking good tale
Apr 24, 2016 Anna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Kind of hard to follow, but was pretty decent.
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Charles Cumming is British writer of spy fiction. His international bestselling thrillers including A Spy By Nature, The Spanish Game, Typhoon and The Trinity Six. A former British Secret Service recruit, he is a contributing editor of The Week magazine and lives in London.
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