From Berlin to the Congo, from Moscow to the back streets of London, these are the stories of the agents on the front lines of British intelligence. And the truth is often more remarkable than fiction.
MI6 has been cloaked in secrecy and shrouded in myth since it was created a hundred years ago. Our understanding of what it is to be a spy has been largely defined by the fictional worlds of Ian Fleming and John le Carré. Gordon Corera provides a unique and unprecedented insight into this secret world and the reality that lies behind the fiction. He tells the story of how the secret service has changed since the end of the Second World War and, by focusing on the people and the relationships that lie at the heart of espionage, illustrates the danger, the drama, the intrigue, and the moral ambiguities that come with working for British intelligence.
From the defining period of the early Cold War through to the modern day, MI6 has undergone a dramatic transformation from a gung-ho, amateurish organization to its modern, no less controversial, incarnation. Gordon Corera reveals the triumphs and disasters along the way. The grand dramas of the Cold War; the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the September 11, 2001, attacks; and the Iraq War are the backdrops for the individual spies whose stories form the centerpiece of this narrative. And some of the individuals featured here, in turn, helped shape the course of those events. Corera draws on the first-hand accounts of those who have spied, lied, and in some cases nearly died in service of the state. They range from the spymasters to the agents they controlled to their sworn enemies. And the truth is often more remarkable than the fiction.