Spy and the Traitor, The

MacIntyre, Ben

  20 Reviews

In 1985 Colonel Oleg Gordievsky - chief of the KGB's London station - was summoned to Moscow. London-based KGB Colonel, Oleg Gordievsky, has for eleven years successfully passed vital information to MI6, before the game is up and he is recalled to Moscow. However, MI6 achieve a nail-biting victory and Oleg is spirited out of the Soviet Union and back to England for a new identity and life in a nondescript suburb.

Extensively researched, this is a gripping story of Cold War espionage, a case of truth being as thrilling as fiction, especially the daring 1985 escape.



All in the group found this a compelling story and agreed that McIntyre's research is very good. There was a variety of views of the writing style and development of the story. Some found both top notch, others found the style a difficult one, and some found parts 1 and 2 overly detailed. Some also found the reality of the story hard to take.
CHCH 447
An amazing read.
AUCK 162
Our group found this book gripping, fascinating and very well-written. We all found much to discuss and were intrigued by Oleg's ability to lead a double life with a family. We were also able to understand a little more about the workings and psychology of the K.G.B. Fantastic writer!!
CHCH 552
The entire group really enjoyed this book - once we got our heads around all the different characters and their names. We enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first half as it became quite exciting as the pace picked up. Our only negative was that the photos in the book should have been at the back because they let us know what was coming!
A gripping read enjoyed by all.
AUCK 307
All but 1 member of our group loved this book. It was well written and as gripping as any novel. We all felt greatly enlightened about the realities of the Cold War and the secret lives of those involved. It even gave a smile to a few of us who saw its relevance to what we had seen as ridiculous movies and TV spy series! One member was irritated to read the outcome of this story on page 2 of the notes.
TAUR 016
This book was a winner with our group, reading like a thriller while giving us a real insight into the world of international espionage. The references, map and photos all helped clarify events, characters, locations. Some found it a difficult book to get into, as so many people were introduced in the first 100 pages. However, the pace picked up and we were drawn into the build up of the betrayal and escape... We all felt we had learned a lot about what goes on in the spying world - the 'game', the intrigue, the danger, the restrictions, how to lose a tracker, leaving signals etc. Fascinating!
NELS 028
Fantastic book - well written and everyone enjoyed it.
AUCK 107
We all loved this book. It was a real page-turner, well paced and exciting. We all agreed we learned a lot about espionage and enjoyed a discussion on its ethics.
CHCH 527
Great read - hard to believe the class system let Kim Philby in . The book created great discussion - and we were fortunate enough to listen to Ben McIntyre in person talking at Christs College , Christchurch - and he is as good a writer as he is a story teller. Ben mentioned that our own Charles Upham was interned at Colditz castle - his latest book ..'Colditz'.
This was a great read! We are hoping to hear Ben McIntyre speak when he is here in March.
An excellent book. Gripping and very readable. Made us really think about current issues and the place or value of spies. Thoroughly recommend this book.
AUCK 009
Absolutely brilliant! We all loved it and several members said they had to ration themselves, otherwise they would have stayed up late reading it. MacIntyre's description of characters was amazing - and often very funny. Great writing style and a great book for discussion; a hero to the west and a traitor, not only to his country, but to his family too. More of Ben McIntyre please!
CHCH 523
Most didn't even attempt it, but those who did rated it as pretty good once you got past the first couple of chapters.
PICT 007
Very much enjoyed by all.
UPMO 002
Very enjoyable and very relevant to current events in Europe.
'The Spy and The Traitor' was such a nail-biting read, and received a universal high scoring from our reading group. Comments included " a rare insight into the world of spying and seems more relevant considering the events in the Ukraine", "well-written, topical and at times, amusing", "impeccably researched and referenced". Very useful reading notes, and the questions generated plenty of discussion.
WELL 142
This book was a great success. Everybody had enjoyed it. There is something exciting about espionage. There was an interesting and lively conversation, and other spies were talked about...
NELS 007
A challenging read but well worth the effort. We had a great discussion. The book is particularly pertinent today with Russia's invasion. Highly recommended.
I recently heard Mick Herron being interviewed about his 'Slow Horses' series, in that interview he came out with this: It was recently asked if we (spy authors) all wrote in the shadow of John Le Carre and the answer is: "we do not write in his shadow but in the light that he cast". 'A Spy and a Traitor' is not a work of fiction, it's all real, but don't let that leave you thinking that it is a boring monologue of dates. It is gripping and you will find yourself filled with anxiety as his plight unfolds. Excellent writing.