Download Jack of Spies Audiobook

Jack of Spies Audiobook, by David Downing Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David Downing Narrator: Gildart Jackson Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: May 2014 ISBN: 9781483013602
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It is 1913, and those who follow the news closely can see the world is teetering on the brink of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, has always hoped to make a job for himself as a spy. As his sales calls take him from city to great city—Hong Kong to Shanghai to San Francisco to New York—he moonlights collecting intelligence for His Majesty’s Navy, but British espionage is in its infancy and Jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the very tenuous protection of a boss in faraway London. He knows, though, that a geopolitical catastrophe is brewing, and now is both the moment to prove himself and the moment his country needs him most.

Unfortunately, this is also the moment he begins to realize what his aspiration might cost him. He understands his life is at stake when activities in China suddenly escalate from innocent data-gathering and casual strolls along German military concessions to arrest warrants and knife attacks. Meanwhile, a sharp, vivacious American suffragette journalist has wiled her way deep into his affections, and it is not long before he realizes that her Irish American family might be embroiled in the Irish Republican movement Jack’s bosses are fighting against. How can he choose between his country and the woman he loves? And would he even be able to make such a choice without losing both?

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mr. Downing’s previous series, about journalist-spy John Russell during World War II, set a high standard for documentary authenticity. The author is a master at bringing the past to life through the careful and often loving observation of even minor players and through the artful deployment of specific detail. In addition, Jack McColl’s debut has a zest, an exoticism, and a joie de vivre well-suited to an era when bestsellers were being written by Zane Grey, suffragettes were demanding the vote, and opium parlors were a readily accessible temptation.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Downing, a fiendish researcher, does a believable job of inserting McColl into real life events, and the result is a novel marked by surprising adventures of an oddly amiable sort.”

    Toronto Star

  • “Moves along briskly and offers interesting facts about events now a century past. It’s always entertaining.”

    Washington Post

  • “Engaging…Fans of Downing’s WWII-era spy series that concluded with Masaryk Station will appreciate the author’s command of history and period detail.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “In this sparkling production, set just before the outbreak of World War I, narrator Gildart Jackson employs his husky baritone to capture the many facets of Jack McColl. He supplies confidence to the Scotsman’s persona as a luxury car salesman and provides caginess to Jack’s alter ego as a novice agent in Britain’s fledgling intelligence service. Jackson’s voice clearly reflects the conflict McColl feels when his spying clashes with his budding relationship with Caitlin Hanley, an Irish-American journalist.”


  • “With his celebrated John Russell series, which began between the wars and extended through WWII, behind him, Downing launches a new series about a different war…It’s clear that the talented Downing is off and running once again, with an agreeable new hero and another richly atmospheric historical backdrop.”


  • “A rookie spy gets in over his head when he’s forced to choose between his assignment and the dynamic woman he’s fallen for…This first installment of a proposed series by the author of the six John Russell novels moves deliberately but colorfully, with intelligent prose and a strong period feel.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “It would already be enough that Jack of Spies is a taut, highly intelligent spy thriller without it being a brilliant historical portrait and a captivating love story to boot. A remarkably engaging world tour of pre–World War I espionage featuring an honorable protagonist begging for a long series.”

    Lyndsay Faye, author of The Gods of Gotham

  • “Vividly explores the worldwide intrigues that spawned World War I, through the all-too-human British spy Jack McColl and the lover he betrays.”

    Francine Mathews, author of Jack 1939

  • Selected for the June 2014 Indie Next List
  • A 2014 Library Journal Editor’s Pick
  • A 2014 Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book for Mysteries & Thrillers

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About the Author

David Downing grew up in suburban London. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction for both adults and children, including several novels featuring Anglo-American journalist John Russell and the nonfiction work Sealing Their Fate: The Twenty-Two Days That Decided World War II. He lives with his wife in Guildford, England.

About the Narrator

Gildart Jackson’s acting credits span the stage and screen. He is most often recognized for his roles as Gideon on Charmed and Simon Prentiss on General Hospital. He has also starred in numerous television shows, including CSI and Vegas, and he played the lead in the highly acclaimed independent feature film You, directed by his wife, Melora Hardin.