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The Mission Song

Narrated by: David Oyelowo
Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
4 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Summary

Bruno Salvador has worked on clandestine missions before. A highly skilled interpreter, he is not a stranger to the Official Secrets Act. But this is the first time he has been asked to change his identity – and, worse still, his clothes – in service of his country.

Whisked to a remote island to interpret a top-secret conference between no-name financiers and Congolese warlords, Salvo’s excitement is only heightened by memories of the night before he left London, and his life-changing encounter with a beautiful nurse named Hannah.

Exit suddenly, the unassuming, happily married man Salvo believed himself to be. Enter in his place, the pseudonymous Brian Sinclar: spy, lover and perhaps, even, hero.

©2006 David Cornwell (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic reviews

"An incendiary tale ... le Carré's understanding of how the world ticks is, as always, machete sharp." ( USA Today)
"Le Carré's insight into the dense, dangerous nexus of corporate and government interests is chillingly assured." ( The New York Times Book Review)
"To categorise le Carré, as many do, as a 'spy' novelist is to do him a disservice; he uses the world of cloak-and-dagger much as Conrad used the sea – to explore the dark places in human nature." ( Washington Post Book World)

What listeners say about The Mission Song

Average customer ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not particularly enjoyable

I had high expectations from such a famous author, especially after enjoying the TV adaptations of Tinker Tailor and Smilie's People, but unfortunately this proved a dull book. Very slow to get going, the story did not engage me, and I soon found myself concentration drifting, which rather defeats the purpose of an audiobook whilst traveling. I found the main character somewhat tedious, and could not engage with the rest. The story plodded along like a history lesson, and listening felt more like a chore. If you know something about African politics and Western manipulation, you may be better able to engage with the story.

The narrator is a well established professional actor who, due to his Nigerian roots, handled the African accents and voices with convincing ease and (as far as I know, not being African myself) authenticity. Unfortunately he overreached with Scottish, and alas I cringed at his Welsh. Can't win them all I suppose, and would again stress that he is otherwise, a good actor.

Overall I did not enjoy this book.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The Mission Song

Carre intuitively details character and circumstance to write a beautifully human story. It is wonderfuly read by David Oyelowa whose narration is sensitive and energetic. I'll look out for other titles he's read.

9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Well worth the price

What did you like most about The Mission Song?

This is a beautifully written story which is both compelling and authentic. The combination of Le Carre's writing with David Oyelowo's narration is something that I would like to experience again.

What does David Oyelowo bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

The rich variety of accents and intonation bring the story alive. He is right on the money with his narration.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Hard work but rewarding

This le Carre book is magnificently narrated which helps makes sense of the different players of all nationalities and persuasions. There's a lot to keep up with but it is a well crafted tale which leaves you feeling that it is all too true.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Mission Song

Perfectly written, perfectly read.

I took much longer to finish than expected, because I kept going over parts because of the beauty of the writing.
Salvo's realistically delineated character emerges naturally from his background , and the plot is exquisitely crafted.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • FJ
  • 12-08-15

A story of corruption, beautifully read.

Having visited afrika on several occasions, this story took me right back there. Excellent, well researched and believable.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Teach me not to be a sceptic - Brilliant 5*

Would you consider the audio edition of The Mission Song to be better than the print version?

They are for different audiences, but the telling of the story on this is absolutely superb.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Salvo - performed with just the right degree of irony and arrogance.

Which character – as performed by David Oyelowo – was your favourite?

Ditto - Salvo - the narrator - is absolutely spot-on.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - I couldn't have concentrated on the story adequately.

Any additional comments?

I was sceptical about a Le Carre not told by the author. As soon as it starts though you realise why JLC would have been the wrong choice and just how good David Oyelowo is.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Engaging morality tale.

What made the experience of listening to The Mission Song the most enjoyable?

David Oyelewo's narration - how does he swop from an African lilt to Yorkshire brogue?

What about David Oyelowo’s performance did you like?

Brillian narration.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • SE
  • 27-02-20

Gripped bit disappointed

Unlike every other Le Carre masterpiece, I found it really hard to believe that Salvo, our hero, could really have been so naiive throughout - it made be cringe. The narrator did a good job of making the plight of the Congo and its players very believable. Once again, the author has shone a spotlight on the cancer-ridden underbelly of Britain’s secret international policy making - whether it is true. then or now, I am in no position to judge - but it wouldn’t be the first time that a Western Government has sponsored a coup for other than virtuous purposes, nor the first time that it could benefit greedy elites, nor the first time that public servants have jettisoned ethics and morality in the “national interest”. So, I’m glad that I saw it to the end but of redemption in the fourth act there was but a distant glimmer.

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Not his best work

LeCarre is strangely off form with this, for him, slow thin story.
With the Mission Song I have now listened to all Le Carrie's books. I am glad that I came to this story last as it is the poorest of his work in my opinion.
The book is well read, the characters are engaging as you expect, but sadly the story is very thin and the pace is lethargic.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-04-19

Extremely great

Classic Le Carre, nuanced and entertaining. So well narrated, I enjoyed everything about this story. 85 stars