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A Foreign Country Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD: 8 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1427221812
  • ISBN-13: 978-1427221810
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 6.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Amelia Levene and Thomas Kell, once colleagues as MI6 field agents, have seen their careers move in opposite directions. Amelia is about to become the first woman to head the agency, leapfrogging ambitious—but less talented—male bureaucrats. Kell has been forced into retirement, scapegoated by those same bureaucrats in the wake of revelations and uproar about torture. Kell is recalled because Amelia abruptly takes a week’s leave in the south of France and, even more abruptly, disappears into thin air. Kell’s job is to find her. This plot synopsis is mere prelude. Cumming, once recruited to MI6, has fashioned a gripping story of conspiracy, the Arab Spring, MI6 politics, maternal love, and a man with a “talent for the clandestine.” Amelia and Kell are complex, engaging characters, and Kell’s tradecraft will delight espionage lovers. The conspiracy might strain credulity a bit, but stranger things have happened in the Great Game, and Cumming’s track record (The Trinity Six, 2011) ensures demand for this one. --Thomas Gaughan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Jot Davies’s narration ushers you in; his voice is a steady presence through the disparate events from the beginning to the satisfying conclusion…Davies’s pacing fits the narrative, quickening as tension increases, mechanical as an extraction team pursues its deadly work, wistful or angry as the protagonist’s situation demands. You’ll find yourself wishing this story would continue just a while longer.” – AudioFile Magazine

“Faultlessly performed by Jot Davies.” – BookPage

“Narrator Jot Davies’s crisp, stiff-upper-lift performance perfectly captures Thomas Kell, a former British agent who was unceremoniously dismissed from MI6…Davis’s characterizations are subtle but effective: a slightly softer delivery for females, and understated accent for French characters. His rendition of Amanda captures the character’s sophisticated haughtiness, as well as her self-doubt, while his Kell remains unflappably British in his quest for answers and redemption.” – Publishers Weekly

“[Jot Davies’s] versatility provides outstanding tone and nuance to the story’s varied cast of characters.” – The Star-Ledger


More 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 Honours in English Literature. The Observer has 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".

In 1995, Charles Cumming was approached for recruitment by the United Kingdom's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). A Spy By Nature, a novel partly based on his experiences with MI6, was published in 2001. The novel's hero, Alec Milius, is a flawed loner in his early 20s who is recruited by MI6 to sell doctored research data on oil exploration in the Caspian Sea to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

In 2001, Charles Cumming moved to Madrid. His second novel, The Hidden Man (2003), tells the story of two brothers investigating the murder of their father, a former SIS officer, at the hands of the Russian mafia. The Hidden Man also examines the clandestine role played by SIS and the CIA during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Charles Cumming's third novel, The Spanish Game (2006), marks the return of anti-hero Alec Milius, who becomes involved in a plot by the paramilitary Basque nationalist organization ETA to bring down the Spanish government. The Spanish Game was described by The Times as one of the six finest spy novels of all time, alongside Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Funeral in Berlin and The Scarlet Pimpernel.

Typhoon, published in 2008, is a political thriller about a CIA plot to destabilise China on the eve of the Beijing Olympics. The story spans the decade from the transfer of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997 to present-day Shanghai. In particular, the author highlights the plight of the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, a semi-autonomous region of The People's Republic of China. The acclaimed novelist William Boyd described Typhoon as "a wholly compelling and sophisticated spy novel - vivid and disturbing - immaculately researched and full of harrowing contemporary relevance."

In March 2008, Charles Cumming published an interactive online story, The 21 Steps, as part of a Penguin We Tell Stories project. Readers follow the protagonist's travels through Google Maps. Cumming's novels have been translated into six languages. His work is published in the United States by St Martin's Press. In 2009, Cumming left Penguin to join Harper Collins. His fifth novel, The Trinity Six, a thriller about the Cambridge spies, is published in the United States in March 2011.

Customer Reviews

It was well written with interesting characters, suspenseful and with a great flow, exciting and tension filled .
C. Toste
A slow start - a good story - an ending that disappoints a little (too many threads left hanging or too quickly dealt with - easily another 50 pages in this book.
Chris Thatcher
Both A Foreign Country and its sequal, A Colder War, were what I term "good reads" -- the kind of book one picks up and doesn't want to put down.
Bakersfield Ann

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Annie Michelle on May 31, 2012
Format: Paperback
The book starts out with many intriguing story lines...
Tunisia; a young nanny suddenly vanishes...
Egypt; an elderly couple are brutally murdered...
Paris; an accountant is kidnapped...
South of France; the first soon to be female chief of M16 vanishes...
From there it is edge of your seat subtle spy tingling tension!

Thomas Kell is a disgraced agent who was put out to pasture and reluctantly called back in from "the cold" for his particular set of skills along with his past relationship with the soon to be new M16 Chief, Amelia Levene. Should news of the missing Chief get out all hell would break loose... so he must not fail!

It just gets better as you read more! I had not read anything from Charles Cumming before but, now I will be checking out all of this guys books starting with the first one "A Spy By Nature"

This book kept me on the edge of my seat and turning pages one right after the other well into the night. Great finger nail biting suspense & tension...a perfect spy thriller, my mother will also love this one!
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl on April 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
Tom Kell has been having a bad year; he and his wife are separated and he was forced to leave his job as an SIS agent due to a scandal in Afghanistan where he was made the fall guy. Now, the soon-to-be Chief of the SIS, and first female chief, has gone missing in France and the SIS wants her found before she's to be sworn in in two weeks. This makes them turn to Kell, who can keep things quiet, knows how to operate and is friends with Amelia Levene, the missing woman.

His search for her takes him to a couple of different countries and I was surprised that he found Amelia relatively quickly; I thought that might take up most of the book. However, it turns out that there was more to the story than about why Amelia went to France in the first place, more than even she knew. Kell, though he's technically finished his job since he located Amelia, feels there's more than meets the eye and uncovers something going on that no one could've suspected.

I won an ARC of this book and wasn't sure what to expect of A Foreign Country, but I've been into spy books and really like books set in England. Most spy/international mystery books I've read have quite a bit more action than this one. If you're looking for a lot of it, this isn't the book for you, but I imagine that this is actually more the pace of the spy business; a lot of hurry up and wait. While I did like the characters, and I'd definitely read a sequel, if there is one, I wish at least some of the characters were at least a little bit happy. Everyone seemed so miserable and unhappy with their lives and relationships, and it was a little depressing at times. Also, a touch of sarcasm or humor, especially that snarky British wit I love, would've been a great addition and offset some of the mopiness nicely.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bryan on August 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A Foreign Country is the third novel by Charles Cumming that I've read; after I've finished the last page I always have the same reaction- missed it by THAT much. The parts are there, but don't mesh into a top-flight whole. In A Foreign Country, the reader is led to believe through the first two-thirds of the novel that a monstrous secret will be revealed, but in the end it turns to be not so much. And after the long buildup, Cumming takes perhaps 30 pages to bring the story to a quick and predictable close. On the bright side, there's some interesting tradecraft, and the decision to portray the head of MI6 as a woman with all-too-human flaws is a good one. But the villians of the piece seem in the end more clownish than menacing, especially when up against professionals.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on August 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Within the (relatively) short space of a few years, Charles Cumming has been favorably compared to such espionage fiction stalwarts as Graham Greene and John le Carre. With the publication of A FOREIGN COUNTRY, his latest novel, it's time to stop making such comparisons. Cumming has reached the point where he is setting the standard of quality in the field of espionage fiction, establishing a high-water mark to which others must aspire.

A FOREIGN COUNTRY is one of those very rare books that from its first page demonstrates that it's something out of the ordinary, one of those tales that the reader hopes will never end. It begins in 1978 with an account of a short but obviously doomed May-December love affair before jumping to the present and presenting two brief accounts of seemingly unrelated incidents: the brutal and senseless murders of an elderly couple on holiday in Egypt and a street kidnapping in Paris. The narrative then proceeds along a fairly straight path, one that introduces Thomas Kell, a former MI6 officer. When we meet Kell, it has been several months since he was summarily kicked to the curb for an offense that is slowly revealed over the course of the book. Kell's forced retirement does not sit well with him; he has been frittering away his days, quietly brooding over the loss of his job and perhaps more so over the end of his marriage.

When Kell's former supervisor at MI6 calls him with the opportunity for a mission --- as well as the chance for redemption and reinstatement --- he jumps at the chance. The mission is of the utmost importance for both MI6 and Great Britain. Amelia Levene, who is about to be take her position as the first female head of MI6, has suddenly gone missing without a trace.
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