BOX 88

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Pub Date 11 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021

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A secret agent comes of age—and reckons with the legacy of his first mission—in this thriller by New York Times-bestseller Charles Cumming, “the best of the new generation of British spy writers” (The Observer)

Lachlan Kite is a member of BOX 88, an elite transatlantic black ops outfit so covert that not even MI6 and the CIA are certain of its existence — but even the best spy can’t anticipate every potential threat in a world where dangerous actors lurk around every corner. At the funeral of his childhood best friend, Lachlan falls into a trap that drops him into the hands of a potentially deadly interrogation, with his pregnant wife, also abducted, being held as collateral for the information he’s sworn on his own life to protect.

Thirty years earlier Lachlan, then just out of the upper class boarding school where he was reared, was BOX 88’s newest recruit. In the haze of a gap year summer, in which the study of spycraft was intertwined with a journey of self-discovery, he cut his teeth on a special assignment on the coast of France, where a friendship allowed him special access to one of Iran’s most dangerous men. Today, Lachlan’s nostalgia for the trip is corrupted by recollection of the deceit that accompanied it but, in order to save his family, he’ll be forced to revisit those painful memories one last time.

A pulse-pounding narrative that straddles two eras — 1989 and 2020 — BOX 88 is a “wonderfully taut, exciting and up-to-date spy thriller” that introduces a compelling new character and a captivating international storyline (Spectator, Books of the Year).

About the Author: 

Charles Cumming is a British writer of spy fiction. He was educated at Eton College (1985-1989) and the University of Edinburgh (1990-1994), where he graduated with 1st Class Honors in English Literature. He's been described him as "the best of the new generation of British spy writers who are taking over where John le Carré and Len Deighton left off".

BOX 88 is his tenth novel, the start of a new series featuring Lachlan Kite.

A secret agent comes of age—and reckons with the legacy of his first mission—in this thriller by New York Times-bestseller Charles Cumming, “the best of the new generation of British spy writers”...

Advance Praise

"BOX 88 is so good. Charles Cumming is up there with the very best espionage writers." - Ian Rankin

"Box 88 is a masterpiece of plotting and character, Cumming’s best novel to date. If you haven't yet had the pleasure of reading him, then do so immediately." - Dan Fesperman

"BOX 88 is a wonderful spy novel; Charles Cumming’s most ambitious—and his best—yet." - Mick Herron

"Charles Cumming writes with intelligence, grace, and stunning verisimilitude." - Gregg Hurwitz

"The talented Cumming comes up with a spy for the 21st century in Lachlan Kite." - Daily Mail, Books of the Year

"A wonderfully taut, exciting and up-to-date spy thriller." - Spectator, Books of the Year

"An ambitious fusion of coming-of-age novel and gripping espionage thriller." - Financial Times, Books of the Year

"BOX 88 is so good. Charles Cumming is up there with the very best espionage writers." - Ian Rankin

"Box 88 is a masterpiece of plotting and character, Cumming’s best novel to date. If you haven't...

Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781613162736
PRICE $27.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Box 88 is a fantastic love letter to old-school John le Carré styled espionage thrillers that shine with a slow-burn narrative involving two different timelines that intersect beautifully for bombshell revelations. Charles Cummings introduces the world to Lachlan Kite, an operative for a super clandestine organization born of an alliance between American and British intelligence agencies. When Kite is abducted by Iranian mercenaries who believe him to hold a vault full of secrets pertaining to the Lockerbie incident, he must walk the delicate line of giving out misinformation without getting caught in the lies, for he and his pregnant wife face imminent danger. The answers lie in the past, where readers get to experience the origins of Kite as a young man in the early 90’s plucked from a strict boarding school for his first ever intelligence mission to infiltrate a family with ties to terrorist financiers. It’s a race against time for Kite to figure out a way to escape his predicament before he has to divulge the secret his captors are looking for. The narrative constantly jumps back and forth between present and past to propel the story in harmony, giving keen insights into what made Lachlan Kite the man he is today. However, the back-and-forth does not detract from the fulfilling experience of reading a fleshed-out story that’s as riveting as it is emotional in establishing the events and characters as thoroughly believable. Box 88 peeks behind the curtains to emphasize the personal consequences of secretive lives and constant deception. Along with a strong emotional epicenter, Box 88 is filled with realistic tradecraft for espionage operatives utilizing creative intelligence-gathering apparatuses to further their investigations, placing a premium on subtlety and discretion, perfect for fans of nitty gritty espionage thrillers. Box 88’s strength lies in the superb creation and sustained development of a brand-new spy icon with the cerebral charm of the golden-era spies, dramatic flair for rich expressions, and strong stomach for inflicting violence in a world where cutthroat politics has given birth to extreme measures. You will feel compelled to get your hands on the sequel. Review with blurb image posted at:

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Geez, Charles Cumming sure can write. This guy writes smart, character and plot-driven espionage stories that don’t skimp on action and suspense, but still remain a step above your average thrillers. “Box 88” is his latest, starting a new series with a new protagonist, Lachlan (“Lockie”) Kite. He is a member of Box 88, a joint US-UK black ops group founded during the height of the Cold War that does the work that other intelligence agencies can’t or won’t. Their very existence is a secret, which leads to MI-6 spying on Lockie to find out whether Box 88 actually exists. When Lockie attends the funeral of a childhood friend, he is kidnapped under their noses by an Iranian splinter group that is looking for information. But not just any information about any current situations – Lockie’s captives want to know what happened 30 years ago, when he was first recruited right out of school to spy on his best friend’s family and their (Iranian) guest in the south of France. And so begins the cat-and-mouse game as the clock starts ticking. Lockie is handing out information bit-by-bit, mixing the truth with lies in small doses hoping that his team will find him before it’s too late. His pregnant wife is being held hostage, but Box 88 is there (along with an MI-6 agent) – will they rescue her before it’s too late? And will MI-6 find Lockie and learn the truth about Box 88? All of this drama takes place as Lockie takes us back to the south of France in summer of 1989. A brand new summer love, a friend turning into an alcoholic, angry conversations behind closed doors, family drama between father and son, Iranian protestors, a taciturn bodyguard with secrets of his own. And Lockie trying to negotiate it all while doing his duty for country. A fascinating mix of traditional cold war espionage, modern politics, and a coming-of-age story. Mr. Cumming vividly paints his scenes and then populates them with wonderful, 3-dimentional characters. A wonderful start to a promising new series. I requested and received a free advanced electronic copy from Mysterious Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

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BOX 88 is the first book in a new series by seasoned mystery author Charles Cumming. Meet Lockie, a mysterious man who is being followed by MI6 and harbors a past that even his devoted wife doesn't know about or understand. When his past collides with his present, it's nonstop adventure as we learn how he became the person he is today. This book contains drama, a bit of romance, lots of action and thrilling, heart-racing scenes. There is a ton of tongue in cheek humor which kept tense sections lighthearted. The story proceeds from multiple perspectives and different timelines. I had never read anything this author. I went into this blindly and was enchanted. I absolutely adored the character development. There were so many twists and turns, that I could not believe it. I love it when a story slowly unfolds and gives you pieces bit by bit. I feel like I am not doing this book justice in explaining this book. I honestly felt, while reading this book, that I was watching a spy thriller like Mission Impossible or a James Bond movie. My one criticism is that this story ended on a cliffhanger and I simply cannot wait for the next book to come out!! I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes mysteries or spy stories. Thank you to NetGalley and Mysterious Press for the complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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