The Tyrants Daughter Audiobook, by J. C. Carleson Play Audiobook Sample

Download The Tyrant's Daughter Audiobook

The Tyrants Daughter Audiobook, by J. C. Carleson Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: J. C. Carleson Narrator: J. C. Carleson, Meera Simhan, Cheryl Benard Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Length: Release Date: February 2014 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9780804167031

Publisher Description

“Filled with political intrigue and emotional tension, Carleson’s riveting novel features a teenage refugee caught in a web of deceit and conspiracy.” —PW, starred review


When her father is killed in a coup, Laila and her mother and brother leave their war-torn homeland for a fresh start in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.


At her new high school, Laila makes mistakes, makes friends, and even meets a boy who catches her eye. But this new life brings unsettling facts to light. The American newspapers call her father a brutal dictator and suggest that her family’s privilege came at the expense of innocent lives. Meanwhile, her mother would like nothing more than to avenge his death, and she’ll go to great lengths to regain their position of power.


As an international crisis takes shape around her, Laila is pulled in one direction, then another, but there’s no time to sort out her feelings. She has to pick a side now, and her decision will affect not just her own life, but countless others. . . .

Inspired by the author's experience as a CIA officer in Iraq and Syria, this book is as timely as it is relevant.

Praise for The Tyrant’s Daughter:

“Carleson, a former undercover CIA officer, infuses her story with compelling details and gripping authenticity.” —The Boston Globe


“Every American should read this book. It’s an eye-opener.” —Suzanne Fisher Staples, Newbery Honor–winning author of Shabanu

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  • The Boston Globe, June 21, 2014:"Carleson, a former undercover CIA officer, infuses her story with compelling details and gripping authenticity."

  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, November 18, 2013:

  • Filled with political intrigue and emotional tension, Carleson’s riveting novel features a teenage refugee caught in a web of deceit and conspiracy."

  • Starred Review, Kirkus, December 15, 2013:

  • Laila is a complex and layered character whose nuanced observations will help readers better understand the divide between American and Middle Eastern cultures. Smart, relevant, required reading.”

  • BookPage, February 2014:"As a former undercover CIA agent, debut author J.C. Carleson has a firm grasp on the world of espionage and power plays. She is able to take her intimate knowledge of this secretive world, an often-avoided gray area of morality, and craft an amazingly gripping and honest tale. Carleson keeps her readers feeling as though they have just returned from traveling in a foreign land, making those faraway issues feel a little more personal—a feat few can achieve with words alone."

  • Booklist, February 1, 2014:"This is more than just Laila’s story; rather, it is a story of context, beautifully written (by a former undercover CIA agent), and stirring in its questions and eloquent observations about our society and that of the Middle East."

  • Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, February 2014:

  • Timely, relevant, and fascinating, Laila’s story offers readers an accessible understanding of the seemingly intractable nature of Middle East politics. An equally fascinating additional note by Dr. Cheryl Benard offers more real-world context for Laila’s fictional but very credible position. Resources for further research are included."

  • This story is important on so many levels. It invites readers to contemplate paradox and contradictions in ways that few books do: how a friend’s loyalty trumps her annoying habits; how you can love your country and still be honest about its shortcomings; how betrayal might be justifiable. But mostly it’s a touching, suspenseful story about two children who don’t belong anywhere. Every American should read this book. It’s an eye-opener.

    - Suzanne Fisher Staples, Newbery Honor-winning author of Shabanu
  • It's a story both foreign and familiar, global and intimate. A tense chess game where you'll think you know the final moves only to learn you've been outsmarted.

    - Dana Reinhardt, award-winning author of The Things a Brother Knows
  • Mashable, June 17, 2014:

  • This compelling look at someone fighting desperately against a truth she'd rather not believe challenges you to think deeper."

  • “When her Middle Eastern dictator father was killed in a coup, Laila, her mother, and her younger brother flee the country. Now a teenager, Laila must adapt to life in the US as her family tries to recover from its loss of power…Narrator Simhan turns in a solid performance in this audio edition. She provides Laila an appropriate Middle-Eastern accent and her tone reflects that of a teenager acclimating to a new culture. But Simhan shines brightest during the book’s moments of tension, generating a subtle range of emotions. Add in a fine performance from Benard, and the result is an audio edition that makes for compelling listening.”

    - Publishers Weekly, audio review
  • “What’s it like to be caught between cultures? The author, a former CIA agent, knows. So will listeners after hearing Meera Simhan’s portrayal of fifteen-year-old Laila, who immigrates to the US from an unnamed Middle Eastern country after her father is murdered in a coup. Simhan reads with lightly accented precision, balancing Laila’s conflicting emotions at being ‘a girl divided’…This audio production includes an author’s note and a commentary by Cheryl Benard, a researcher dedicated to social activism.”

    - AudioFile


  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week, February 2014
  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, Best Teen book of 2014

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About the Author

J. C. Carleson is a former undercover CIA officer. Her near-decade of covert service took her around the globe, from bomb shelters in war zones to swanky cocktail parties in European capitals. A graduate of Cornell University, she lives outside Washington, DC.

About the Narrators

Meera Simhan is a film and stage actress who was born in England and raised in San Diego. Her first lead film role was as Linda Jones in Date Movie in 2006. Since then she has appeared in a number of films and television shows, including Iron Man, Law & Order, The Young and the Restless, and The Mentalist.

Cheryl Benard is the Director of Research at the Boltzmann Institute in Austria and a consultant to the RAND Corporation in Washington, DC. She is the author of several bestselling nonfiction books in German, and she has published two novels in the United States, including Moghul Buffet. She lives in Potomac, Maryland, with her husband, Zalmay Khalilzad, and their children.