Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Typhoon: A Novel by Charles Cumming

Typhoon: A Novel

by Charles Cumming

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
153478,096 (3.58)6



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 6 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
Joe Lennox seems to be the perfect spy. Having graduated from Oxford with a first class degree in Mandarin in the mid 1990s he is, almost as a matter of course, recruited into MI6. Equally predictably, he finds himself posted to Hong Kong in the run up to the handover of the colony back to Chinese rule in 1997. All in all, his career seems to be developing entirely as he and MI6 might have planned.

Shortly before the handover an aging Chinese man swims across the straits to land in Hong Kong. He is found by a British soldier from the Black Watch regiment who takes him into custody. This is no ordinary refugee, however. He speaks exceptionally good, idiomatic English and recognises the Black Watch insignia.

He is removed to a safe house for questioning, which is undertaken by Lennox, who establishes a rapport him. We learn that he is Professor Wang, and he gradually spins a story about potential insurrection in Western China where the Uighur Muslim community is showing signs of rising up against decades, or even centuries, of suppression by the Han Chinese. Wang seems able to offer a wealth of detail, and Lennox thinks that he may be on to a major espionage coup.

Lennox never gets to find out. While he is taking a break for sleep, Wang is spirited away by some of Lennox's MI6 colleagues, working in association with Miles Coolidge, senior CIA operative for that area. No explanation is forthcoming, and Lennox finds himself out in the cold.

Seven years later and the world, post-911 is completely different. Lennox is back in the Far East, now based in Shanghai, as is Coolidge.
Cumming spins a complicated tale but never lets the reader's attention flag. The plot is certainly on a par with le Carre at his finest. Cumming can't quite match le Carre's unique prose style, of course, but then who can? Lennox is an engaging and likeable character, and his relations with colleagues, counterparts from other agencies and also the 'civilian' bystanders whom he deals with are all plausible.

This was a very entertaining novel, and a worthy heir to le Carre's 'The Honourable Schoolboy'. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jun 4, 2014 |
Really good thriller that gives a look into contemporary life in Hong Kong & Shanghai. Also presents a scenario for unrest in the westernmost province of China. ( )
  EctopicBrain | Dec 4, 2012 |
Typhoon is another excellent spy story from Cumming, rated 5.0 and completed 7/4. In 20 pages, Isabella is intro'd and book is a sure winner! Deals with handover of Hong Kong, 6/30/97, 2 spies but 1 woman, Brit vs USA in China, Shanghai. ( )
  maneekuhi | Jul 28, 2011 |
I am a little disappointed of this book. The premise sounded interesting, reviews are great, and it starts as a nicely done spy thriller in the tradition of Len Deighton, but the story develops very slowly, especially in the middle. So it took me quite some effort to go through with it. At the end, it gains again some pace, but kind of anti-climactic as it is not so complicated as it pretends to be during the whole set-up which takes up most of the first 300 pages. ( )
  stembrook | Nov 3, 2009 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Cummingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gudmundsen, Per KristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Hong Kong 1997 - only a few short months of British rule remain before the territory returns to Chinese rule. It's a febrile place. And in that claustrophobic environment of uncertainty and fear the spooks are hard at work, jostling for position and influence.… (more)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
14 wanted4 pay5 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.58)
2 3
2.5 3
3 10
3.5 1
4 14
4.5 1
5 5


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

» Publisher information page

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 99,716,064 books! | Top bar: Always visible