Oswald de Lacy is growing up fast in his new position as Lord of Somershill Manor. However, there is still the same amount of work to be done in the farms and fields, and the few people left to do it think they should be paid more—something the King himself has forbidden.
Just as anger begins to spread, the story of the Butcher Bird takes flight. People claim to have witnessed a huge creature in the skies. A new-born baby is found impaled on a thorn bush. And then more children disappear. Convinced the bird is just a superstitious rumor, Oswald must discover what is really happening. He can expect no help from his snobbish mother and his scheming sister Clemence, who is determined to protect her own child, but happy to neglect her step-daughters.From the plague-ruined villages of Kent to the thief-infested streets of London and the luxurious bedchamber of a bewitching lady, Oswald's journey is full of danger, dark intrigue, and shocking revelations.
Alec Milius is young, smart, and ambitious. He also has a talent for deception. He is working in a dead-end job when a chance encounter leads him to MI6, the elite British Secret Intelligence Service, handing him an opportunity to play center-stage in a dangerous game of espionage.
In his new line of work, Alec finds that the difference between the truth and a lie can mean the difference between life and death—and he is having trouble telling them apart. Isolated and exposed, he must play a role in which the slightest glance or casual remark can seem heavy with unintended menace. Caught between British and American Intelligence, Alec finds himself threatened and alone, unable to confide in even his closest friend. His life as a spy begins to exact a terrible price, both on himself and on those around him.
Richly atmospheric and chillingly plausible, A Spy By Nature announces the arrival of British author Charles Cumming as heir apparent to masters like John le Carré and Len Deighton. A bestseller in England, it's the gripping story of a young man driven by ruthless ambition who finds himself chasing not just success, but survival.
Look out for Charles Cumming's next novel, The Trinity Six, in March. William Boyd calls The Trinity Six "Utterly absorbing and compelling. A brilliant re-imagining of events surrounding the notorious Cambridge spy-ring."