What happens when an author is asked by MI6 to carry out a mission while at a Morocco literary conference?

That’s the premise behind Charles Cumming’s The Moroccan Girl, a neat twist on the spy genre.

Getting funds to someone and keeping and eye open for Lara Bartok sounds like a fairly simple mission to Kit, who likes the cloak-and-dagger aspect of it all. He’s written thrillers for years, and here’s a chance to actually participate in what until now have been fictional adventures.

In Morocco, Kit finds Bartok, only to discover that she’s the former lover of Ivan Simakov, the leader of Resurrection, a terrorist group targeting right-wing journalists and politicians. After starting as a peaceful organization designed to fight opposing political views, Resurrection quickly turned violent, brutally killing when necessary to further their cause.The Russian and American governments are only two of the signficant parties after Ivan and his group.

Kit suddenly finds himself at the center of this international mess, perhaps with more heavy espionage and danger than he first thought. And the enigmatic Lara finds Kit whipping out his best spy cloak and dagger bits as the novice soon becomes determined to save her while he saves himself.

With locales as widespread as Gibraltar and England, the easy pacing early on in this novel takes off at warp speed once it heats up.

A departure from Cumming’s Alec Milius and Thomas Kell books, this one has the amateur spy giving the feel of Cary Grant in a romantic North by Northwest.