Une audace sans frein, une intelligence sans bornes, des complicités sans nombre, une énergie sans faille servie par une chance insolente: tel fut le Napoléon du crime, le plus prestigieux des monte-en-l'air de l'époque victorienne.
Adam Worth (1844-1902) passe ses premières années d'immigrant misérable dans un quartier new-yorkais où l'on vit totalement en marge des lois. Il y apprend bien vite tout ce qu'il faut savoir pour «réparer les injustices du sort». Cambrioleur de génie, il déjouera toutes les poursuites, changeant de continent comme d'identité et poursuivant sa carrière avec un égal bonheur en Amérique, en Europe (Londres, Paris et Liège) et en Afrique du Sud (le pays du diamant).
Il connaît intimement la pègre et les bas-fonds mais, émule de «Jekyll et Hyde», il cultive les dehors d'un gentleman accompli.
Son plus glorieux fait d'armes ? Le vol d'un des plus prestigieux tableaux du grand portraitiste Gainsborough, Georgiana, Duchesse de Devonshire.
Il fascina jusqu'à ses adversaires, comme l'illustre détective Pinkerton.
Enfin, pour parachever sa légende, Conan Doyle s'inspire directement de lui pour représenter le « génie du mal » avec la créature du professeur Moriarty.
On compte sur les doigts de la main les espions qui ont influé sur le cours de l'histoire.
Le héros de ce récit véridique, Oleg Gordievsky, est l'un d'entre eux.
Au début des années 1970, il entame une carrière prometteuse au sein du KGB mais, rapidement désillusionné sur la nature du régime, il est «retourné» par le MI6, le service secret britannique. En apparence, c'est toujours un officier de renseignement exemplaire, mais en réalité il est engagé, corps et âme, au service du Royaume-Uni. Nul ne le saitparmi ses maîtres russes, qui assurent son ascension régulière dans la hiérarchie toute-puissante des «hommes de l'ombre». Jusqu'au jour où quelques soupçons commencent à naître dans leur esprit... Hasard? Calcul?Trahison?
Rappelé à Moscou sous prétexte d'une nouvelle promotion, il en vient à penser que ses jours sont sans doute comptés.
Par un beau soir d'été 1985, vêtu de gris à la mode soviétique, il arpentera incognito la Perspective Koutouzov. Et ce sera le début d'une nouvelle aventure qui compose certainement l'un des épisodes les plus spectaculaires de la Guerre froide...
En 1945, dans le paisible village de Great Rollright, au sud-ouest de l'Angleterre, on pouvait croiser une élégante jeune femme à bicyclette qui allait faire ses courses. C'était «Mrs Burton». Elle habitait depuis peu une ferme sans grand confort, avec son mari et ses trois enfants. Des gens aimables, sans histoires : des réfugiés peut-être, car la femme avait un léger accent étranger.
«Mrs Burton» - alias Sonya- était en réalité une espionne de haut rang au service de Moscou. D'origine allemande, elle avait animé ou créé plusieurs réseaux de renseignement en Extrême-Orient, en Europe centrale et, plus récemment, en Suisse. Pour son plus grand bonheur, elle avait vu le naufrage du Troisième Reich, mais déjà un nouveau conflit se profilait entre les alliés d'hier. Sonyadevait donc poursuivre son combat au service du camp soviétique.
Grâce à elle, Staline aurait bientôt accès aux secrets atomiques anglo-américains: il pourrait, lui aussi, construire sa bombe.
Dans le monde du Renseignement, Sonya- de son vrai nom Ursula Kuczynski (1907-2000) - devint rapidement une légende.
Avec le livre de Ben Macintyre, elle entre dans l'Histoire.
One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War.
Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead. His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece.
The brainchild of an eccentric RAF officer and a brilliant Jewish barrister, the great hoax involved an extraordinary cast of characters including a famous forensic pathologist, a gold-prospector, an inventor, a beautiful secret service secretary, a submarine captain, three novelists, a transvestite English spymaster, an irascible admiral who loved fly-fishing, and a dead Welsh tramp. Using fraud, imagination and seduction, Churchill's team of spies spun a web of deceit so elaborate and so convincing that they began to believe it themselves. The deception started in a windowless basement beneath Whitehall. It travelled from London to Scotland to Spain to Germany. And it ended up on Hitler's desk.
Ben Macintyre, bestselling author of Agent Zigzag, weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries, as well as newly released material from the intelligence files of MI5 and Naval Intelligence, to tell for the first time the full story of Operation Mincemeat.
The rumbustious true story of the Victorian master thief who was the model for Conan Doyle's Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' arch-rival. From the bestselling author of 'Operation Mincemeat' and 'Agent Zigzag'.
I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories'
One morning in February 1952, a journalist called Ian Fleming sat down at his desk and set about creating a fictional secret agent. James Bond was born and would go on to become one of the most successful, enduring and lucrative creations in literature. But Bond's world of glamour and romance, gadgets and cocktails, espionage and villainy wasn't entirely drawn from imagination: Fleming's background and his experiences as an intelligence officer during the Second World War were all formative parts in the creation of the world's most famous spy.
Packed with astonishing detail and written in Macintyre's inimitable style, For Your Eyes Only is the most enlightening, enlivening book on the creator of the spy who not only lived twice, but proved to be immortal.
Do you know your geek-speak from your geek-chic? Ever wanted to put Humpty Dumpty together again? Can you distinguish Spanglish from Chinglish? We adapt words from other languages, from slang, from developments in science, literature and art. Learn the advantages of having your own signature word; why the lifts in the House of Commons have posh accents; and discover the discreet art of the loophemism. Witty and utterly delightful, The Last Word will tease, tickle and tantalise those who enjoy all things lexical.
In 1886 Elisabeth Nietzsche, Friedrich's bigoted, imperious sister, founded a 'racially pure' colony in Paraguay together with a band of blond-haired fellow Germans. Over a century later, Ben Macintyre sought out the survivors of Nueva Germania to discover the remains of this bizarre colony. Forgotten Fatherland vividly recounts his arduous adventure locating the survivors, while also tracing the colorful history of Elisabeth's return to Europe, where she inspired the mythical cult of her brother's philosophy and later became a mentor to Hitler. Brilliantly researched and mordantly funny, this is an illuminating portrait of a forgotten people and of a woman whose deep influence on the twentieth century can only now be fully understood.
One December night in 1942, a Nazi parachutist landed in a Cambridgeshire field. His mission: to sabotage the British war effort. His name was Eddie Chapman, but he would shortly become MI5's Agent Zigzag. Dashing and louche, courageous and unpredictable, inside the traitor was a hero, inside the villain, a man of conscience: the problem for Chapman, his many lovers and his spymasters, was knowing where one ended and the other began. Ben Macintyre weaves together diaries, letters, photographs, memories and top-secret MI5 files to create the exhilarating account of Britain's most sensational double agent.
One overcast April morning in 1943, a fisherman notices a corpse floating in the sea off the coast of Spain. When the body is brought ashore, he is identified as a British soldier, Major William Martin of the Royal Marines. A leather attaché case, secured to his belt, reveals an intelligence goldmine: top-secret documents Allied invasion plans.
But Major William Martin never existed. The body is that of a dead Welsh tramp and every single document is fake. Operation Mincemeat is the incredible true story of the most extraordinary deception ever planned by Churchill's spies - an outrageous lie that travelled from a Whitehall basement, all the way to Hitler's desk.
D-Day, 6 June 1944, the turning point of the Second World War, was a victory of arms. But it was also a triumph for a different kind of operation: one of deceit...
At the heart of the deception was the 'Double Cross System', a team of double agents whose bravery, treachery, greed and inspiration succeeded in convincing the Nazis that Calais and Norway, not Normandy, were the targets of the 150,000-strong Allied invasion force. These were not conventional warriors, but their masterpiece of deceit saved thousands of lives. Their codenames were Bronx, Brutus, Treasure, Tricycle and Garbo. This is their story.
This edition does not include illustrations.
A wartime romance, survival saga and murder mystery set in rural France during the First World War. From the Number 1 bestselling author of 'Agent ZigZag' and 'Operation Mincemeat'.
Four young British soldiers find themselves trapped behind enemy lines at the height of the fighting on the Western Front in August 1914. Unable to get back to their units, they shelter in the tiny French village of Villeret, where they are fed, clothed and protected by the villagers, including the local matriarch Madame Dessenne, the baker and his wife.
/> The self-styled leader of the band of fugitives, Private Robert Digby, falls in love with the 20-year-old daughter of one of his protectors, and in November 1915 she gives birth to a baby girl. The child is just six months old when someone betrays the men to the Germans. They are captured, tried as spies and summarily condemned to death.
Using the testimonies of the daughter, the villagers, detailed town hall records and, most movingly, the soldiers' last letters, Ben Macintyre reconstructs an extraordinary story of love, duplicity and shame - ultimately seeking to discover through decades of village rumour the answer to the question, 'Who betrayed Private Digby and his men?' In this new updated edition the mystery is finally solved.
This edition does not include illustrations.
Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.
Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and well-made suits in the comfortable clubs and restaurants of London and Washington; of male friendships forged, and then systematically betrayed.
With access to newly released MI5 files and previously unseen family papers, and with the cooperation of former officers of MI6 and the CIA, this definitive biography unlocks what is perhaps the last great secret of the Cold War.
The book behind the new BBC series 'SAS: Rogue Warriors'
From the secret SAS archives, and acclaimed author Ben Macintyre: the first ever authorized history of the SAS In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, has a vision for a new kind of war: attacking the enemy where they least expect it - from behind their own lines.Despite the intense opposition of many in British High Command, Winston Churchill personally gives Stirling permission to recruit the toughest, brightest and most ruthless soldiers he can find. And so begins the most celebrated and mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS. With unprecedented access to the SAS secret files, unseen footage and exclusive interviews with its founder members, SAS: Rogue Heroes tells the remarkable story behind an extraordinary fighting force, and the immense cost of making it a reality.SAS: Rogue Warriors is on BBC2 and BBC iPlayer.
He is the Napoleon of crime, Watson.
He is the organizer of half that is evil and of nearly all that is undetected in this great city.
He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker. . . .
--Sherlock Holmes on Professor Moriarty in "The Final Problem"
The Victorian era's most infamous thief, Adam Worth was the original Napoleon of crime. Suave, cunning Worth learned early that the best way to succeed was to steal. And steal he did.
Following a strict code of honor, Worth won the respect of Victorian society. He also aroused its fear by becoming a chilling phantom, mingling undetected with the upper classes, whose valuables he brazenly stole. His most celebrated heist: Gainsborough's grand portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire--ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales--a painting Worth adored and often slept with for twenty years.
With a brilliant gang that included "Piano" Charley, a jewel thief, train robber, and playboy, and "the Scratch" Becker, master forger, Worth secretly ran operations from New York to London, Paris, and South Africa--until betrayal and a Pinkerton man finally brought him down.
In a decadent age, Worth was an icon. His biography is a grand, dazzling tour into the gaslit underworld of the last century. . . and into the doomed genius of a criminal mastermind.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1886 Elisabeth Nietzsche, Friedrich’s bigoted, imperious sister, founded a “racially pure” colony in Paraguay together with a band of blonde-haired fellow Germans. Over a century later Ben Macintyre sought out the survivors of this “Nueva Germania” to discover the remains of this bizarre colony. Forgotten Fatherland vividly recounts his arduous adventure locating the survivors, while also tracing the colorful history of Elisabeth’s return to Europe, where she inspired the mythical cult of her brother’s philosophy and later became a mentor to Hitler. Brilliantly researched and mordantly funny, this is an illuminating portrait of a forgotten people and of a woman whose deep influence on the twentieth century can only now be fully understood.
From the Trade Paperback edition.