The Mission Song

Narrated by: David Oyelowo
Length: 11 hrs and 30 mins
3.9 out of 5 stars (286 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Abandoned by his parents, Bruno Salvador has long looked for guidance. He found it in Mr. Anderson of British Intelligence. Working for Anderson in a clandestine facility, Salvo (as he's known) translates intercepted phone calls, bugged recordings, and snatched voice-mail messages. When Anderson sends him to a mysterious island to interpret during a secret conference, Bruno thinks he is helping Britain--but then he hears something he should not have.
©2006 David Cornwell. All Rights Reserved (P)2006 Hodder & Stoughton Audiobooks. All Rights Reserved

Critic Reviews

"Amid the bursts of humor, le Carré convincingly conveys his empathy." (Publishers Weekly)
"His prose is as lovely and expressive as ever; his ear for dialogue remains wonderfully acute." (Washington Post)

What listeners say about The Mission Song

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Audio Triumph

This is the best audiobook I have heard. I think it is probably better as an audiobook than a text because of the incredible narration.

It is beautifully written - full of colours and textures. It is not a thriller, but grpping nonetheless.

It reminded me of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

mission accomplished

An absolute fantastic narrative! A totally worthwhile experience. David Oyelowo’s reading of the dialogs is as every character comes alive. Here’s where a good audio book is far better than the printed version.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb book with brilliant reader

Set against an African background but with the action in the UK, this is a rather unusual story about a secret summit of African leaders which is bugged by MI5 and an Afro-British interpreter who is in deeper than he appears to the delegates. The cultured voice of the reader still carries his racial background in its tenor, and he is able to give dicrete voices to each speaker so the listener is never in doubt as to who is speaking. Le Carre as always gives a twisting tale, and with the end of the cold war he has found other forums for his stories. This one is excellent and believable (alas!) but it is the superb reading which makes this audiobook so engrossing and plausible.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Taught, tight writing

Nobody writes like Le Carr? - so much is conveyed in so little words. The action is cerebral, makes you read between the lines. The bad guys are despicable, the good guys are doomed lovers, the World is corrupt as usual. Excellent read.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

good book, good & appropriate narrator

These folk who complain about the narrator don't get it. If they can't understand his various accents, well, I'd say that they must not venture far from home. This narrator was completely appropriate for this book and the character he enacted.
I enjoyed the book. It wasn't my favorite le Carre book, but it was good. As those who have read him before know, he doesn't adhere to a formula and requires more of his readers than do the writers of most "airplane" mysteries. This is worth a listen.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Only a tease, a taunt of le Carré's brilliance

My basic take on 'The Mission Song' is similar to Alvy's old joke in Annie Hall:

"um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions."

Well, that's essentially how I feel about this book. Actually, wait no, I don't think 'The Mission Song' was terrible. I thought parts of it were actually brilliant and the potential for brilliance was huge. I loved the idea of Bruno Salvador, the interpreter, caught between two worlds. There JUST wasn't enough of THAT part. The plot was fairly simple and straightforward. Not bad, but again, only a tease, a taunt of le Carré's brilliance wrapped in an average le Carré just makes me sad.

It also suffers from being proximately sat next to (or nearly next to) The Constant Gardener; yes, two le Carré's African twin sisters: one brilliant (The Constant Gardner), and one that only has the hint of brilliance (The Mission Song). One just pales in comparison to the other, and will perpetually be overshadowed by her better looking, more talented colonial twin.

Speaking of Colonialism, le Carré just wasn't pissed enough in this novel. I kind of like it when his anger is turned up to 11. The anger was here, but it was diffuse and subtle and romantic and sometimes a bit misdirected (to me). He merely twirled the narrative knife instead of shiving and shanking.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Mediocre book from a great author

LeCarre is my favorite author and I anticipate and savor his books but listening instead of reading may have influenced my reaction. I was really disappointed - other than the main 2 characters, I just did not feel anything for the people in the book, the conflict did not grab me, and the ending was soft. I loved the narrator's voice, although his accent was heavy enough to be difficult just a couple of times. My high expectations may be the reason I felt let down - I expect to be entranced. Again, it may be that the complexity of his work does not lend itself well to audio format, but this was the first let down from LeCarre in a long time.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Great actor, Narrator not so much

I am an enormous fan of Le Carre' and looked forward tremendously to this audiobook. However Mr. Oyelowo mumbles throughout the entire production, making it nearly impossible to make out what he is saying. Sometimes he trails off entirely, it is almost like he had taken a valium before recording this, a good number of the words are slurred. Is this part of the character he is portraying? If so he was fabulous. Either way I cannot listen to or understand more than half of it so I will be returning. This brings to question the fawning adulation of the narrators by other so-called 'reviewers'. Almost universal love for the recording and narrator. I have been an audible member for 8 years and have never seen such a disparity between the reviews and actual quality of product. Something is going on that is not in our the consumer's best interest it seems. Perhaps the pc monster has struck again.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

sonorous and compelling.

this is a beautiful reading of a story to rival _the constant gardener_ yet more intimacy and even a streak of optimism. a delight to listen to!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful!

Delightfully delicious. Wonderfully written. John LeCarre is a great wordsmith. The subject is Africa, and he makes one believe we should listen not only to the story but to the moral as well.

3 people found this helpful