A Foreign Country by Charles Cumming
(HarperCollins, 2012)

A Foreign Country

by Charles Cumming

What would happen if Britain’s top spy went missing?

Six weeks before she is due to take up her position as the first female head of MI6, Amelia Levene vanishes without a trace.

Her disappearance is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced for more than a decade. There has been no ransom demand, no word from foreign intelligence services, no hint of a defection.

Should news of Levene’s disappearance leak out, the consequences would be catastrophic. But for disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell, the crisis offers a chance of redemption. His close relationship with Levene makes him the perfect man to track her down. He is quietly approached by his former employers and ordered to find her.

Kell’s investigation takes him first to France, then North Africa, where he discovers an extraordinary secret buried deep in Levene’s past. It is a secret that could fatally compromise Britain’s national security – and cost Kell his life.

Awards

  • CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger 2012 (Winner)
  • Scottish Crime Book of the Year
  • Sunday Times Thriller of the Year 2012

Reviews

Best of all, perhaps, is the sheer pace of the narrative. Kell and his associates are constantly on the move, both literally and metaphorically; and the reader has to follow suit, partly because we come to care about Kell and his allies.”
- Andrew Taylor, the Spectator
Dont't start Charles Cumming’s sixth novel close to bedtime: you are likely to be up for most of the night to find out how it ends. It grips the reader’s attention from the first page, and there is no skipping paragraphs. Every word matters.”
- The Scotsman
Cumming has an exquisite touch and we should treasure him — for he’s already in the Len Deighton class, and improving rapidly. ”
- the Daily Mail
…there is a new generation of spy novelists, and Charles Cumming is one of them. This is his strongest novel yet.”
- The Mail on Sunday