An organisation that doesn’t exist.
A spy that can’t be caught.
1989: The fall of the Berlin Wall is imminent and the Cold War will soon be over. But for BOX 88, a top secret spying agency known only to an inner circle of MI6 and CIA operatives, the espionage game is heating up.
Lachlan Kite, recruited straight from an elite boarding school, is sent to France – the frontline of a new secret war. Kite is tasked with gathering intelligence on a mysterious Iranian businessman implicated in the tragic Lockerbie bombing. But what he uncovers is even more deadly…
2020: MI5 hear rumours of BOX 88’s existence and go after Kite – only for Iranian intelligence to get to him first. Taken captive and subjected to torture, Kite is presented with a simple choice: reveal the truth about what happened in France thirty years earlier – or watch his family die.
Past and present merge, as MI5 and BOX 88 are caught up in a race against time to save Kite.
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Average rating from 88 members
Charles Cumming is rapidly becoming my favourite writer of espionage novels and this is surely one of his best. It grabs the reader's attention from the first page and tells a fascinating story a secret intelligence unit, Box 88 and how Lachlan Kite, an impressionable public schoolboy was recruited 30 years ago to help find the perpetrators of the Lockerbie disaster. The action swings from then to now and is relentlessly exciting and packed full of tradecraft. Hopefully this will be the first of a series after the successful Thomas Kell books and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Past and present collide in this excellent spy thriller. In 2020 the mysterious Lachlan Kite is kidnapped after attending the funeral of his old school friend and threatened with torture if he des not reveal certain information. As Lockie tries to save his life and that of his wife and unborn child who are also in danger, he reveals information about a Summer long ago when, as an 18 year old 6th form student, he was recruited by a top secret spy ring to find information about the Lockerbie bombing and those responsible. The story slips backwards and forwards effortlessly between a Summer in the South of France after Lachlan’s A levels, when it seems Lockie began his espionage career and the present day where he has to use all his acquired knowledge to try and escape his enemy whilst protectIng his family and colleagues. This is a great spy thriller- I loved reading about the innocent Lachlan in the 1980s, how he was recruited and how he managed to carry out his mission and then the current day Lockie who obviously stayed in the espionage business. The characters were well described and the settings evocative, particularly the villa near Mougins where they are all staying. The old fashioned methods of planting bugs in a game boy and the use of a Walkman as a spying listening device reminded me how far technology has moved on in the space of a few years. I enjoyed this well paced thriller and would certainly like to read more about Lachlan Kite and his organisation: a clue on the last page of the novel led me to believe there is indeed another book on the way. Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for my arc in exchange for an honest review.
As espionage novels go Box 88 is up there with the best. Past and present colliding make for a tense and compelling page turner. Characters which all have depth and layers which are peeled back as the story progresses. Fantastic read.
Box 88, not exactly a catchy title or a clue as to the contents. However, we quickly learn that Box 88 is the name of a top secret subset of MI6 and the CIA in joint collaboration. The books spans the grooming of Lachlan Kite from his school to become an 18 year old asset, to over three decades later when Kite finds himself captured by prior events. The ease with which Box 88 tested the young Lochlan Kite prior to him being approached to become a spy was rather fanciful and almost impossible to pull off in real life, witnessed by the lack of explanation of the ticket inspector. Lochlan realises his USP when Box 88 mentions his forthcoming holiday in the South of France and just as quickly understands the implications on his friendship with Xavier and his family. The main body of the book fleshes out what happened on his holiday, something which I found quite fascinating. I was most pleased to read of the actualité when it came to bugging devices, especially ones which need to transmit over a mile. However, having been the lucky owner of an Olympus Trip 35, I was bemused by the allusion to motor drive noise. The Trip 35 had a silent, manual advance. I do believe though that the Trip name was hijacked a few years later by a plastic userper which may have had a motor. Other than a brief mention of plant varieties, cicadas, snails and Absinthe (the author should know that Absinthe could not be sold as such in France in 1989) there was little that reminded me of the South of France from my youth there. The most striking thing I recall was the heavenly smell of the place. Nit-picking aside, I thought that Box 88 was a really good spy thriller and if you think so too, you'll be pleased to learn that the ending left the possibility of further books featuring Lachlan Kite.
Thanks to HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Charles Cumming really is THE master of the 21st century espionage thriller. No longer is Cumming the pretender to the throne of John LeCarre, but a much vaunted peer increasingly held in the same esteem. Deservedly so, too. If the distorted reality of Cold War politics was LeCarre’s forte, Cumming straddles the old and new of the espionage world with uncanny dexterity. If 21st century spying is increasingly akin to a technocracy, Cumming reminds us of its rather more basic, yet complex, human element: the spy as the ultimate human dissembler. As this book straddles the 1980s to the present day, we are treated to good old fashioned dead drops, Moscow rules and the long entrenched traditions of classic spy craft, as well as it’s more contemporary, more impersonal equivalents - the spawn of the technological revolution. Cumming, in this book, transforms the history of espionage - It’s change and continuity, into a tour de force of thrilling, literal and rapidly page-turning intensity. In a melting pot that throws into the mix the concept of a ‘deep state’ the very real events of the Lockerbie tragedy, and the rival factions of a melee of security services, ‘Box 88’ is the espionage thriller to end all espionage thrillers. One Laughlin ‘Lockie’ Kite is our leading man in this twisty tale. An unlikely public schoolboy, plunged prematurely into the murky world of international espionage, Lockie is tasked with uncovering any potential Iranian links to the Lockerbie terrorist atrocity. Typically, not everything is as it seems in the classic smoke and mirrors narrative that unfolds with pitch-perfect pace. Heroes can be unlikely villains and likely villains can be unlikely heroes. in the increasingly intimate world of Laughlan Kite. What marks this book out as special - as well as the obvious authenticity of Cumming’s account of the spy world, are the very human faces of its impeccably drawn protagonists. How the personal elides with the professional is an aspect of espionage largely forgotten in the zeitgeist of the modern spy thriller - not in Cumming’s books. As an espionage thriller, ‘Box 88’ is in a class of its own, but this is a human tale, too. One told with great poignancy, pathos and tenderness by the author, but tragic nonetheless. More than an espionage thriller, no less than a masterpiece of literature. A sublime read.
I simply couldn't put it down! Lachlan Kite works for a deeply secret intelligence agency that MI6 is dying to investigate so they set a tail on him. He realises immediately but in the end they could save his life, or at least one of them. The story starts in 2020 but soon goes back to 1988 when Lachlan is just leaving school and he is recruited by Box 88 to gather whatever information he can about an Iranian businessman who is friends with his best friend's father. In 2020 the consequences of what happened then threaten the life of Lachlan and his pregnant wife. All the characters are very real and I really cared for Lachlan and his team, that they would reach him in time. Loved it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought the transition between then and now was masterfully handled with the action playing out seemingly in real time in both time points. Although the story of then was being told at least in part under interrogation it did not come across that way and made it flow so much better than if interspersed with lots of questioning and/or torture. The investigation Kite was embroiled in was almost background to his relationships with the family he was holidaying with, just as it would be for any teen and felt very real. Information is drip fed to the reader just as to the interrogator and the reveals that happen are all the more enjoyable for it!
If you are a writer this is one of those novels you dearly wish you had written yourself. Superbly paced with brilliant, sharply crafted characters and a gripping back and forth narrative. Lachlan Kite (who sounds hot as well as clever and extremely likeable!) has spent decades working for "Box 88" a top secret international spy agency. He was recruited out of an elite boarding school and as a teenager put to work that very summer - spying on a controversial figure at the family summer home of his best friend in the south of France. The consequences and fallout are devastating for the family. Back in the present day when Kite is kidnapped and tortured he is given an ultimatum - reveal what really happened that summer in France or both he, his wife and their unborn child will be murdered. This is a slick, gripping, sexy thriller. I absolutely adored it and look forward to the follow up. Bravo Mr Cumming!
Thank you, thank you, thank you to Charles Cumming, Harper Collins UK and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and give my unbiased opinion of this book. This is my first novel by Charles Cumming and I am now addicted to his work. I found the beginning quickly heldmy interest and this continued throughout the book. I read for most of the night and finished the novel in less than 24 hrs. The plot was well written and researched and the characters were described in such detail that I felt I knew them intimately. I now want to read everything Charles Cumming has written and will look out for his next novel.
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. A well-written and gripping thriller, with great characters, and I hope to read more about Lachlan Kite. The switch between different time periods was dealt with well, and in a very natural way. I wouldn't ordinarily read a "spy thriller" but this book may just have converted me.
Box 88 by Charles Cumming was intense and gripping. The story never faltered and the characters had great depth and humanity (& often cruelty too!) I hate it when a book’s ending leaves me up in the air but this time I’m delighted as I’m confident there’s more to come! The storyline is believable and consistent and the evolving skills of Lachlan initially and now Cara is a great opening for a series. This would translate well to a mini series Loved it all Five stars for this one as it answers enough questions in this book to satisfy yet leaves enough open to create anticipation
A riveting novel, that had me on the edge of my seat until I was able to read it, it took two days. I am assuming there are many more books by this author, and I want to read them all, judging by this one. Recommended.
I enjoy the occasional thriller featuring daring deeds undertaken by agents working for MI6 or the CIA. The stories tend to be complex puzzles you have to be on your game to unravel and usually told in a manner that ensures you have to pay very close attention to the detail. I’ve always found John le Carré’s novels to be impenetrable (I can’t even track the films or television adaptations of his books) but I’ve grown to rely on the scribblings of Charles Cumming - I’ve found his style of espionage much more digestible. We’re first introduced to Lachlan Kite when he attends the funeral of his one-time close friends. We know little of him other than the fact that he works for a secret group collected from former members of British and American intelligence agencies. The team call themselves Box 88 and their aim is to ensure that the conflicting goals of whatever government happens to be in power do not prevent the ‘right’ sort of operations being undertaken. But soon Kite finds himself in peril and with no means of communicating with his team. As Lachlan fights for his own survival members of Box 88 are frantically searching for him. Can they find him in time? As this plays out we start to learn in flashback of Kite’s background and how he was recruited into this exclusive and mysterious group. We begin to learn how events of the past have created the challenge he now faces, and what a story it is. We track events from his days as a bright student at a posh public school to a daring escapade accompanying the family of his close friend to their villa in the South of France, as he awaits his A Level exam results. It’s brilliantly done: the pace and structure of the story and the character development (of all the leading players) drew me in totally. It's a great story, brilliantly told. I could hardly put this one down and totally raced through the whole thing. I think this is the author’s best book to date and even better it appears to be the start of a series featuring Lachlan Kite. Personally, I cant wait to get my hands on book 2. Perhaps my top read of the year so far.
An excellent spy thriller which opens in 2020 when our protagonist, Lachlan Kite attends a funeral of an old school friend and our antennae should start twitching when he accepts a lift from someone he met at the funeral. The timeline then shifts between the Summer when he was 18 and recruited to spy on his hosts in a villa in the South of France following the Lockerbie bombing – and present day. Brilliantly constructed, great characters and Lockie’s recruitment by his mentor at 18 had me recalling the recruitment of the famour spies when they were at Cambridge. Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for providing an ARC via my Kindle in return for an honest review.
A neat take on a spy novel. Not normally a fan of “flashback” books (or films) where every other chapter takes you back so many years but for me, as the book went on, so the relevance of this became more integrated to the story. Spanning 30 years of Lachlan Kites espionage career as he first becomes involved as an 18 year old school boy, the characters are established and their individual roles fleshed out whilst in the present day Lachlan is kidnapped and his pregnant wife held hostage. The scene setting from school to holidaying in the South of France with his wealthy school chums family outlines the reasons for his recruitment and leads somewhat unexpectedly to his current predicament. It’s as well others have taken an interest in Box 88. The story and its conclusion nicely sets up a potential next book and has put the author on my must read list.
‘Box 88’ is a superbly written spy thriller. Not only does the plot intrigue and the pace remain appropriately frenetic throughout but Charles Cumming is also able to create living breathing characters whose actions are wholly plausible, quite an ask of any writer immersed in an enigmatic world of espionage. At the centre of the novel is Lachlan Kite, recruited at 18 as a member of Box 88, the super- secret organisation operating outside the remit of MI5 and MI6. In this novel we are taken back to his teenage years during which, whilst always remaining an outsider of sorts, he attends an elite boarding school (a thinly disguised Eton). Here, he is befriended by Xavier Bonnard whose parents have a villa in the south of France and asked to report to Box 88 on their Iranian guest, Ali Eskandarian, whom they suspect of funding the Lockerbie bombing. Cumming’s skill in depicting place is such that the reader can instantaneously smell the furniture polish of school and the concrete dank of an underground carpark, as well as imagining the heat of the Provencal stone and the plastic sheeted floor of a probable torture chamber. Cumming presents Lachlan equally convincingly whether he is the young man learning his craft or the established spy decades later faced with death. In both time frames he regrets the duplicity which threatens the integrity of his romantic relationships but he is also a quick-thinking pragmatist with the greater good in mind. This is an excellent read. The final paragraphs of the novel suggest that Charles Cumming has more adventures in store for Lachlan. There will be plenty of us keen to learn of them! My thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollinsUK for a copy of this novel in exchange for a fair review.
If you love spy thrillers you'll love Box 88. Extremely well written and unputdownable. An excellent read for a thriller fan!
Charles Cumming writes a remarkable espionage thriller that is the extraordinary coming of age of Lachlan 'Lockie' Kite in the late 1980s, with a narrative that shifts back and forth in time to allow the reader to compare and contrast the nature of espionage and spycraft in two markedly different eras. Close to his alcoholic father, young Lockie is devastated and griefstricken at his death. He is not so close to the chilling and distant beauty that his mother, and plays an instrumental part in helping to run their Scottish hotel. Despite not being able to afford it, his mother wangles him a place at an elite public school, Alford College, in England, leaving a lost and rootless Kite having to come to terms with this new milieu, the divisions of social class and its hierarchies, the male only boys culture, with some beaks (teachers) rather keen on touching their young charges. He eventually settles down, becoming friends with the wealthy Xavier Bonnard, accepted by and staying with Xavier's family in their various homes in the holidays. It is Xavier's casual invitation to spend the summer of 1989 at their villa in the South of France, where they will be joined by his Iranian godfather, Ali Eskandarian, that leads to Kite's unlikely recruitment to the highly secretive Anglo-American spy agency, Box 88. Eskandarian is a person of interest in the Lockerbie disaster which claimed so many lives, and there are rumours another atrocity is in the pipeline. The events and tragedy of that summer and his mission is to have an indelible impact on his life and future, having repercussions through the years that leave him with a burden of guilt that is to affect his friendship with Xavier and the Bonnard family. Decades later, a significant girlfriend from his past, Martha Raine, phones him to let him know that the heavy drinking Xavier has committed suicide. Lockie attends Xavier's funeral, he is being investigated by MI5 for being a spy, only to be abducted by the Iranian Intelligence Service, who wish to interrogate him on the events of that 1989 summer, and at stake is the life of his pregnant wife and their unborn child. Cumming skillfully weaves Lockie's present day dilemmas with the past, his personal history and what happened that fateful summer in the South of France. The highlight for me was the human story of Kite, to all intents and purposes still a naive schoolboy, drawn into the dark, intense, pressurising, dangerous and fraught world of global espionage. He wants to please, he wants to help his country, and help avoid another terrorist incident, but he has only the tiniest of glimpses of the fast changing picture, left in the dark about what is going on. He finds his loyalties torn, and guilt accumulating when it comes to the Bonnard family, and in the midst of it all, is the flowering of his romantic relationship with Martha. This will appeal to all those who love quality espionage fiction. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
Box 88 is a brilliant spy thriller told across to timelines .Lockie Kite works for a very secret intelligence unit ,he attends an old friends funeral when he is kidnapped .The story goes back to when Lockie was 18 and first recruited to spy when staying with his friend and his family in their villa in the South of France .Box 88 is such a clever story full of surprises the descriptions are brilliant I felt I was there with Lockie A very enjoyable read I hope to read more about Lockie and his work .Many thanks to the Publisher the Author and NetGalley for my copy in return for an honest review .
This is a good book and moves very quickly. It all starts with Lachlan Kite attending a boarding school and showing one of his teachers that he is a good candidate for a top secret spying mission. He is only 18 when he is approached and asked to gather intelligence on a Iranian business man who is staying in a villa in France owned by the father of a friend of his from boarding school. He realises that the covert operation will be difficult but has been told he can cope. He finds it very difficult as the time goes by as his friend Xavier could find out and his does not like to dishonour their friendship. The story goes backwards and forwards from this time and when he is in his late 30s when the past comes back to haunt him and affects his wife and unborn child. He is kidnapped and has to reveal information which is against all his principles and he has to decide which way to go as he knows his wife and child are in danger. He is hoping that before he has to do something against his better nature he will be saved. Gripping story.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an advanced copy of this book. I have never read an espionage book before but if they are as good as this one I will certainly read more of them. As he finished boarding school Lachlan Kite was persuaded to spy on his friend’s father and his Iranian business associate whilst holidaying with the family during the summer. He was recruited by a “secret” spy organisation. The book jumps backwards and forwards between the holiday and years later when Kite is held hostage and interrogated knowing that his pregnant wife is also being held captive elsewhere. The characters and storyline keeps the reader enthralled and wanting to know what happens next. Can’t wait to see if there will be more instalments in the life of Lachlan Kite. I certainly hope so.
Long time readers of CR will know that I am a big fan of Charles Cumming’s spy thrillers. Ever since Typhoon, I’ve eagerly anticipated each new novel from the author. Box 88 was no different, and I’m very happy to report that it lived up to my high expectations. Really enjoyed this. Kite’s story is told from two perspectives: that of the older, experienced operative, decades into his career as a spy; and that of Kite as an 18 year old, on his first mission. I thought the juxtaposition of the spy “origin story” on the one hand, and the supremely talented operative on the other worked extremely well, and over the course of the novel we get a pretty great portrait of Kite, his work, and his evolution as a person and spy. The events of that first operation have finally caught up with him, and he must confront not only his actions for BOX 88, but also what his actions meant for his friends and family. The novel therefore has a blend of espionage and coming-of-age fiction at times that works very well. Cumming keeps us in the dark and guessing for most of the novel, adding a few excellent red herrings here and there. It makes for a gripping read with plenty of revelations that will keep you reading well into the night. (I stayed up very late to finish it.) As someone who grew up unhappy (and not belonging) at a British boarding school, there were a lot of amusing, sometimes uncomfortably reminiscent, flashback details and moments when I felt sympathy for Kite — Cumming critiques the elite school system brilliantly, highlighting its inequities and bizarre Darwinian elements. The author includes many great details of “current” events during the flashback chapters — many of them I recall hearing in the news at the time, but only later learning more about them — giving extra depth to the story. The novel is filled with little details that are either very telling or were such touchstones in the UK at the time. It’s not just the events, though: Cumming is able to bring each of the settings to life brilliantly, without over-describing or spoon-feeding the reader. Whether the story is taking place at an expensive home in France in the 1980s, or a remote hotel in Scotland, or in contemporary London, each scene is excellently crafted and staged. His characters, too, are realistic and engaging. An excellent update on the classic espionage genre, I very much enjoyed this. If you are in any way a fan of spy fiction, then I would absolutely recommend you read Box 88. I’d also just recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a gripping read. It reaffirms Cumming’s place as one of my favourite authors, and is a must read. I can’t wait for his next novel!
This is the story of Lachlan (Lockie) Kite and how he is recruited into Box 88, a covert, below the radar US/UK espionage group. We meet Lockie, now in his forties at the funeral of friend Xavier Bonnard from his school days at Alford - think Eton. It is here that Lockie aged 18 is recruited by his ‘beak’ (public school speak for teacher) to spy on high ranking Iranian Ali Eskandaria, a friend of Xavier’s family, whilst they are on holiday at a Bonnard villa in France. The Lockerbie bombing looms large in people’s minds, Salman Rushdie is in protective custody following Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa and events in Tehran continue to cause concerns. This is the background to this clever, intricately plotted thriller with what happens to Lockie at eighteen skilfully woven into events after Xavier’s funeral creating a tense narrative. I do enjoy a good espionage thriller and this isn’t just good, it’s outstanding. Real events are used to give the plot a feel of authenticity and I find the Iranian aspect fascinating. There are some excellent characters especially Lockie whose teenage naivety contrasts so well with the experienced operator in his forties, he’s a skilful agents utilising all his mental agility and physical strength. It’s clear from the start that Lockie is going to be a great asset as he shows real initiative even as a young man. The novel depicts political dangers as well as personal ones and daring risks. There are some shocks along the way and moments of breath holding suspense which glue you to the pages. Overall, this is a slick, very intelligent and well written thriller. The plot is excellent, it unfolds organically and naturally through the high quality writing. Very mean Mr Cumming to leave us hanging at the end! I sincerely hope the next instalment is under way and sign me up now! With thanks to NetGalley and special thanks to Harper Collins UK/Harper Fiction and Charlie Cumming for the much appreciated arc for an honest review.
Charles Cumming is definitely still the King of the modern spy thriller! Long live the King! Another really well written, suspenseful story of espionage spanning several timelines, starting with the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103, the collapse of the Berlin Wall to current times. Lachlan Kite is part of Box 88, a covert transatlantic intelligence unit of both M15 and CIA. M15 have Kite under surveillance and while attending a funeral of his school friend Xavier, Kite is abducted. Kite quickly learns that his abduction is connected with a summer spent in France many years ago when he was first recruited to Box 88 as a young public school boy. It is here that Kite meets the charismatic Iranian politician, Ali Eskandarian, while on holidays with Xavier and his family in their luxury villa. Cumming unwinds a wonderful plot as the connection between Eskandarian and his captors is revealed. There are some wonderful examples of good old fashioned tradecraft, such as dead drops and chalk marks on walls, which really appealed to me. The story and plot, while very clever and tense, are easy to follow, which is part of the appeal of Cumming to the modern day reader. The conclusion also strongly suggests a sequel which is very good news indeed. A definite 5 star read from me! Many thanks to @netgalley and @HarperCollinsUK and @chalrescumming for this ARC in return for my honest review.
Box 88 by Charles Cumming is an outstanding espionage novel which is is superbly written has an excellent main underlying storyline and well drawn out main and supporting characters. The story is told over two timelines but in the hands of this author this does not cause any issues due to the excellence of the writing which kept this reader fully hooked from the first page to the last one Cumming has written some excellent novels but Box 88 is probably the best one of the bunch. Don’t miss out
Excellent spy thriller with well developed characters. The time changes keep it moving at a good pace and I really enjoyed it.
This is a brilliant read. Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start. Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable. Great suspense and action with wonderful world building. Can't wait to read what the author brings out next. Recommend reading. I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher. This is my own honest voluntary review.
I am so pleased to be able to give feedback on yet another fantastic, unputdownable book by Charles Cumming, who is right up there for me with Le Carré, with a dash of Ludlum thrown in for thrills. Having read (and loved) several of Cumming's previous works, most recently, The Man Between, I was so excited to be offered an ARC of this book and it did not disappoint. This time the action centres around Lachlan Kite, a young Scottish lad recruited to the enigmatic Box 88 espionage unit. I really hope that this is going to be part of a bigger series involving Lachlan Kite because he's been built up so well in this novel - he feels like a fleshed out character, which is sometimes missing from fast-paced thrillers. Put it on the Christmas lists for those who love well-written espionage thrillers! Many thanks to HarperCollins, NetGalley and Charles Cumming for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review and I look forward to seeing promotion events up here in Scotland so I can get a copy signed.
I have never come across Charles Cumming before however I will now be looking out for any books by him. From the start with the description of the Lockerbie plane I was hooked. The pages were turned very quickly on a fantastic story. Bravo we have a brilliant series in the making. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the arc in return for an honest review
Great spy story with an eighteen year old taking his first steps as a spy. Needed to stay focused as the story oscillates between past and present.. Definitely a story I couldn't put down with lots of action and tension. Open ended conclusion, possible sequel..
Stunning and ruthless . What I like about Cumming"s thrillers, and I've read many..are the atmospheres and characters who come alive to me as I read .. the moral dilemmas of performing their covert v activities and the sheer intelligence of the author in navigating and refreshing the tropes of spy thrillers. An excellent addition to his works ...
What a read! A blend of John le Carre, William Boyd and Rory Clements (Wilde series) at their best with a twist of something different - a truly winning combination. I started reading on Friday evening and had finished by Saturday lunchtime (with some time for sleeping!). I rarely use the phrase ‘unputdownable’ but this book fits the cliche. Well-drawn characters, a pacy plot full of twists, turns and heart accelerating suspense with a very plausible and likeable (both at 18 and when older) narrator. The backdrop of the Cold War in the early narrative is expertly drawn, giving relevant contact in an engaging way. Do not miss out on this superb read! I am hoping the ending means there will be at least one or more sequel/s and soon. Enjoy!
Jolly good spy thriller - espionage in a rather old fashioned way but all the better for the book is a good enjoyable read. Lachlan Kite has spent decades working for "Box 88" a top secret international spy agency. He was recruited out of a typical English boarding school and as a teenager ended up spying on a controversial figure at the family summer home of his best friend in the south of France. The tragic Lockerbie murders are the background with the shadowy and controversial figures behind it being of immense interest to Box88. Besides the spying, the characters are excellent and small episodes like Lachlan's trip home on the train, typically well described, and well written. Thank you Mr Cumming. Thanks also to Net Galley and Harper Collins UK for the chance to read and review.
As soon as I have finished one of Charles Cumming's' spy novels, I am waiting impatiently for the next one. I've enjoyed his latest, "Box 88", which for me has a slightly different vibe from the previous books, but is certainly no less enjoyable. The backstory emerges as the book progresses and there are different, but closely related and topical, mysteries in the past (set in the late 1980s) and the present. With many thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for giving me a copy in exchange for this honest review.
This is an excellent spy thriller that is set in 1989 and 2019. When Lachlan Kite is kidnapped after attending his friends funeral he has to give up secrets from when he was a teenager and was a spy in order to save not just himself but his wife and unborn child. The story takes you from the Lockerbie bombing to the South of France, the story flows effectively and really draws you in from start to finish.