• Pages: 448
  • ISBN: 9781847923936
  • Publisher: Bodley Head
  • Binding: Hardback

A Spy Named Orphan

Roland Philipps

The Enigma of Donald Maclean
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Shortlisted for the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize 2018

This gripping retelling of the life of Soviet spy Donald Maclean reveals a man with an extraordinary appetite for self-destruction. 

Christened ‘Orphan’ by his Russian recruiter, Maclean was the perfect spy and Britain’s most gifted traitor. But as he leaked huge amounts of top-secret intelligence, an international code-breaking operation was rapidly closing in on him. Moments before he was unmasked, Maclean vanished.

Drawing on a wealth of previously classified material, Roland Philipps now tells this story for the first time in full. He unravels Maclean’s character and contradictions: a childhood that was simultaneously liberal and austere; a Cambridge education mixing in Communist circles; a polished diplomat with a tendency to wild binges; a marriage complicated by secrets; an accelerated rise through the Foreign Office and, above all, a gift for deception.

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