The Spy and the Traitor
The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
*Shortlisted for the 2018 Ballie Gifford Prize*
'THE BEST TRUE SPY STORY I HAVE EVER READ' JOHN LE CARRÉ
A thrilling Cold War story about a KGB double agent, by one of Britain's greatest historians
On a warm July evening in 1985, a middle-aged man stood on the pavement of a busy avenue in the heart of Moscow, holding a plastic carrier bag. In his grey suit and tie, he looked like any other Soviet citizen. The bag alone was mildly conspicuous, printed with the red logo of Safeway, the British supermarket.
The man was a spy for MI6. A senior KGB officer, for more than a decade he had supplied his British spymasters with a stream of priceless secrets from deep within the Soviet intelligence machine. No spy had done more to damage the KGB. The Safeway bag was a signal: to activate his escape plan to be smuggled out of Soviet Russia.
So began one of the boldest and most extraordinary episodes in the history of espionage. In The Spy and the Traitor Ben Macintyre reveals a tale of betrayal, duplicity and raw courage that changed the course of the Cold War forever.
'Macintyre does true-life espionage better than anyone else. The Spy and the Traitor may well be his best book yet' Evening Standard
'A dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage' Guardian
'A real-life thriller, as tense as John le Carré's novels, or even Ian Fleming's' Economist
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Le Carré but real life
A superbly researched and paced account of the most successful spy operation of the late stages of the Cold War.
The protagonist and antagonists are vividly drawn and the detail with which events are described (owing, no doubt to the trained memory of Gordievsky) throws the reader into the centre of the operation.
If this were a fictional novel, my review would be the same, which makes it all the more impressive and thrilling that it is a historical account. The triumph is equally counterbalanced with sadness and tragedy, reflecting the contradictions of the spy world as a whole that are often referenced in the ‘informed fiction’ of Le Carré, Cumming etc.