Milius_Alec2 Milius_Alec1
Full Name: Alec Milius
Nationality: British
Organization: MI6
Occupation Agent

Creator: Charles Cumming
Time Span: 2001 - 2006


Alec Milius is an agent with MI6.

Well, actually, he is and he isn't. A recent college graduate who, at age 24, is living mostly on a very small inheritance from his father and adding to that income with money earned selling advertisement space on a quarterly magazine that has no real subscription list and exists mainly as a means to take money from unsuspecting clients. A meeting with an old friend of his parents results in an offer for a job interview in the Diplomatic Service. In truth it was the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6.

Thinking himself about to become a spy, Milius is dejected when he does not make the final cut. Instead, he is offered a chance to go to work with a British oil company operating in the former Soviet republics. But whether it is to spy on the company, or spy for the company, or use the employment to spy on others for others, Milius is not immediately sure.

What is certain to Milius is that his talent and his penchant for lying come in handy. This young man has the bar set very low when it comes to conscience. Falsehoods come off his tongue with such ease that he begins to have doubts about the truth himself. When he learns that he has been, in fact, lied to by British Intelligence, he is not sure whether to be impressed or angry.

As the series progresses, Milius finds himself several years old and on his own, no longer needed by MI-6, but still with his innate desire to lie coupled with an insatiable hunger for secrets. The latter gets him into trouble but the former often gets him out of it, at least partially.


Number of Books:2
First Appearance:2001
Last Appearance:2006

1 A Spy By Nature A Spy By Nature
Written by Charles Cumming
Copyright: 2001

New to MI6, Alex Milius finds that he has no trouble telling lies to others but he does begin to have trouble when those lies come back to haunt him, both from his nation's enemies and from his own superiors.
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2 The Spanish Game The Spanish Game
Written by Charles Cumming
Copyright: 2006

Older and somewhat wiser than he had been, Alec Milius has been cut loose by his agency and is living in Madrid when the disappearance of a Spanish politician interests him and he finds that looking into it is a good way to get himself very dead.
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Talk about mixed signals here in my opinion of this series!!

Seldom can I find pleasure in reading books about anti-heroes, and these two books about Milius do not change that. There is really very little to like about Milius and nothing to like about those for whom he works. This results in a lack of caring and a lack of interest in the storyline. Add to that a natural dislike for tales told in the first person present tense and you end up with a series not to my liking....except!!

Having said that, the writing and the flow of the story is extremely well done. The author is a good craftsman who deserves attention. So is the dichotomy of the Alec Milius series. The character is not likeable but IMHO he is not meant to be liked. The writing most certainly is likeable. And I do like it. A lot.


My Grade: A-

Your Average Grade:   A-


Sir Gerald A+ 5/9/2012 4:03:22 PM

Spot on - Cumming is a phenomenal writer but the Milius books are not his best work. His stand alone (so fare) books; Typhoon, Cambridge Six and A Foreign Country are the ones to read. I rate Cumming as absolutely the best of the new bread and "Typhoon" is up there with "The Honarable Schoolboy". He is that good!

009 B 2018-08-21

Indeed, the Milius books are Charles finding his feet in the genre. I rate A Spanish Game a lot higher than A Spy By Nature too.

dbuhler A- 2020-09-17

I suspect Cumming realized that in the world of super spies, Alec is just a dud. But no one writes a better tale than Cumming, even with these two early books in his career. By now Alec would be in the Old Spies Home spinning lies and tales, so I doubt we see him again.

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