Ben Macintyre reveals the astonishing tale of how Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service recruited a KGB officer named Oleg Gordievsky in 1974 and ran him as its agent for 11 years as he rose to become the station chief in London.
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.
‘A dazzling non-fiction thriller and an intimate portrait of high-stakes espionage’ Guardian