The Art of Betrayal: Life & Death in the British Secret Service

Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on 9th January 2013

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 define3d by the fictional worlds of Ian Fleming and John le Carre. 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, the moral ambiguities and the occasional comedy that comes with working for British intelligence,

From the defining period of the early Cold War to the modern day, MI6 has undergone a dramatic transformation from a gung-ho, amateurish organisation to its current, no less controversial, incarnation. The Art of Betrayal reveals the triumphs, and disasters along the way. The grand dramas of the Cold War and after – the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 11 September 2001 attacks, and the Iraq war – are the backdrop for the accounts of the individual spies whose stories form the centrepiece of the narrative. Some of the individuals featured here, in turn, helped shape the course of those events. Ranging from the spymasters to the agents they ran to their sworn enemies, Corera draws on the first-hand accounts of the men and women who have spied, lied and in some cases nearly died in service of the state.

From Afghanistan to the Congo, from Moscow to the back streets of London, these are the stories fo the men and women who have worked on the front line of Britain’s secret wars. And the truth is ofen more remarkable than the fiction.