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A Foreign Country: A Novel Audiobook, by Charles Cumming Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Charles Cumming Narrator: Jot Davies Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2012 ISBN: 9781427221827
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (643 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From the internationally acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of The Trinity Six, comes a compelling tale of deceit and betrayal, conspiracy and redemption

On the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously-planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain's top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself - find Amelia Levene at any cost. The trail leads Kell to France and Tunisia, where he uncovers a shocking secret and a conspiracy that could have unimaginable repercussions for Britain and its allies. Only Kell stands in the way of personal and political catastrophe.

A Foreign Country is one The Washington Post's Best Audiobooks of 2012.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”


  • “Smart and intricate, with a large cast of cool characters and an authentic feel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A tale of European intrigue and conspiracy from a novelist who knows how the espionage game is played.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “Superb…Cumming is particularly skilled at sketching his characters, most notably Kell (a classically reluctant spy) and Weldon, who’s haunted by personal demons central to the elaborate puzzle of a story. The elegant prose will appeal to those who don’t usually read spy fiction.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Eat your heart out, Daniel Craig…Cumming vividly showcases meticulous research and insight into the undercover life of spies.”


  • “Simmers and crackles until the explosive finale.”

    Library Journal

  • “Charles Cumming makes his espionage novel feel fresh.”

    New York Times

  • “A fast-paced and absorbing spy thriller.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • Bestseller Cumming follows 2011's The Trinity Six with another superb stand-alone…Cumming is particularly skilled at sketching his characters…The elegant prose will appeal to those who don't usually read spy fiction. Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
  • A 2013 Barry Award Nominee for Best Thriller
  • A New York Times bestseller
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August 2012
  • Winner of the 2012 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger
  • Among longlisted titles for Washington Post Best Books of the Year, 2012

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 2/17/2014

    " About a fourth of the way through, I thought this was going to be a fairly standard, rather predictable spy novel. Then the twists started! Not perhaps a great work of literary art, but a thoroughly enjoyable read. I reached the end wishing there was more and will definitely see what else this author has written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 2/15/2014

    " This is a straight forward spy thriller - the hero being an MI6 agent. No gadets or fast cars or unlimited funds in this story. It's the way the spy service really is in most countries. Gathering and slogging through the facts - following suspects, sleepness nights and not enough in your pay packet. It is a very fast moving and thrilling story, however, and you'll want to keep reading to see how everything turns out. The author, Charles Cumming, was actually recurited by MI6 so he knows how things work in the real world of spying. The enemy in this book is not the country you might expect - in the real world you never know who the enemy is or what their motivations are. The writing style is first-rate - the story is as real as today's headlines. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tammy | 2/13/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book. I received it as a first read book back before it was supposed to come out in August 2012 but did not get chance to read it until now. It was a very gripping story and I wasn't sure where it was going at first. I really enjoyed the intrigue and how Thomas figues out what is really going on with a brutal murder and the appearance of Amelia's son after so many years. It keeps you in the story and looking for what is going to happen next. I really liked Thomas and Amelia. Thanks for the chance to read a great book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/30/2014

    " Not Fredrick Forsythe ... Not a great novel but definitely a quick, fun engaging read. I'm looking for Cummings other books now. Yes, I recommend this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Karl | 1/26/2014

    " The start was exciting, the writing was excellent, the execution was more than satisfying, but the wrapping-up did not fullfill the promises made earlier in the book. But I will undoubtly read another Cummings book when I come across one... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 1/25/2014

    " Really 3.5 stars. A very interesting storyline but I was not gripped as much as I was by his previous book Trinity Six. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joann | 1/19/2014

    " Cumming is a fine writer who holds your interest, develops his characters well and progresses with intelligence toward a well controlled ending. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 1/17/2014

    " Good espionage novel, particularly in what seems to be its realism regarding MI6 procedures, etc. It has the feel of the real thing rather than the melodrama of less credible efforts. I'll definitely read more by Cumming. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Linda | 12/12/2013

    " A fast paced thriller that spans twenty-five years and a forced retired Thomas Kell is called back to the British MI6 to find a missing soon to be chief of operations but finds himself in the middle of solving a double murder in Egypt and Amelia's secret. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mary | 11/11/2013

    " I loved Trinity Six and his previous two Alex Milius novels, but I could hardly tell this was written by the same author. The writing lacked the biting honesty of his previous two books, and seemed melodramatic, the kind of writing you might expect from mediocre spy novels. Don't bother. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Catherine | 11/8/2013

    " This reads like a film script, which is both a strength and a weakness. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cindy | 8/23/2013

    " An ok spy story - I wouldn't say thriller. I may try other books by this author. Some reviews compared him to LeCarre' and Steinhauer - I wouldn't put this book in that company, but maybe other works. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Peter | 8/20/2013

    " Enjoyed this book. Story about a security officer pulled off the scrap heap to assist in the search for his boss. Well located in southern France and UK. Good characters and plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 6/19/2013

    " I liked it. A good modern spy plot. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Francis | 2/11/2013

    " Although there are some plot holes and an ending that is not fully satisfactory (a bit rushed in my view) it is still a good spy thriller. An enjoyable read. Not a John le Carre by any measure though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 9/5/2012

    " Anyone pining for "Spooks" could do a lot worse than this, which has pace, tradecraft and credibility. Bonus points for the nationality of the main antagonists, and and extra point for a breathless train chase that includes scenes on very familiar railway platforms in Basingstoke and Reading. "

About the Author

Charles Cumming is the author of the New York Times bestselling thriller The Trinity Six, as well as others including A Spy by Nature and Typhoon. He lives with his family in London.

About the Narrator

Jot Davies is a television and voice actor who has recorded dozens of audiobooks, including Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma and multiple works by Charles Cumming and Paul Strathern. His acting credits include roles in the television shows Casualty, New Tricks, and Hotel Babylon, as well as the video game Haze.