A Foreign Country

A Foreign CountryA Foreign Country poses the question: What happens when Britain's chief spy goes 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 for redemption. He is brought in from the cold with orders to find her – quickly and quietly.

Tracking Amelia through France and North Africa, Kell embarks on a dangerous voyage, where he discovers an extraordinary secret hidden deep in Amelia's past. It is a secret that could fatally compromise Britain's national security – and for which Kell could pay with his life.

A Foreign Country is much, much more than a riveting thriller. The writing is exquisite, transporting you to exotic locations – you can practically feel the warm Tunisian breeze on your skin, smell the spices and the shisha smoke. This, and the novel's relentless pace, make it the ideal summer read.

It works equally well as an engrossing character study, taking you deep inside the psyche of a spy. Cumming accurately captures the day-to-day reality of modern spycraft that underpins the glamorous fantasy of its past, and creates believable people who struggle with the morally ambivalent tactics of their trade.

Exclusive letter from the author


'We are in Smiley country, but with extra 21st century nuance... Cumming has an exquisite touch and we should treasure him' Daily Mail

'The man who most successfully gets under the skin of Britain's intelligence agency' The Times

'A thriller that has everything you could ask for – a twisty, sexy plot, topical themes, memorable characters and plentiful spy lore' Sunday Times, Books of the Year

About the author

Charles Cumming

Charles Cumming has been hailed as 'the best of the new generation of British spy writers' (Observer). A Foreign Country was published to rapturous acclaim, winning the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for Best Thriller, and the Bloody Scotland Crime Novel of the Year.

It was also a Guardian and Sunday Times Books of the Year pick for Best Thriller. Film rights for the Thomas Kell series have been snapped up by Colin Firth's production company, with Firth himself attached to star.


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Last updated: about 3 years ago