Oleg Gordievsky grew up in the Soviet Union, the son of a KGB agent. His brother became an agent. And then, so did Oleg. Being a bright young fellow, he eventually began to question the totalitarianism of Communism. After a posting in Denmark exposed him further to Western books, classical music, the freedom to move about and think freely, he came to loathe the system he was raised in. And so, a spy for the British was born. Oleg Gordievsky was inDEED one of the most important and prolific spies during the Cold War, providing the British (and thru them eventually the US) with invaluable information about agents in their midst, the mindset of the KGB and Russian politicians, which was more than useful in negotiations and counter-intelligence. As Gordievsky moved up in the ranks of the KGB to a penultimate posting as the head of station in London, he had access to more and more important information, information then passed on to his British handlers. Until, that is, he was found out.
The tactics and the players in Cold War spy craft are revealed (Putin makes an appearance towards the end of the book), and the incredible paranoia and duplicity of the KGB are exposed. This book was so riveting!! The tension mounts throughout the book: will he be caught, will he escape; if caught, will he be executed? The last part of the book dealing with Gordievsky’s ex-filtration from Russia had me on the edge of my seat. MacIntyre has written a first-rate book about an incredibly brave man who believed in democracy, who hated communism, and who worked for nearly 20 years for the British to do what he could to bring down the Soviet Union. And believe me, he did have a role in doing just that. Le Carre couldn’t have written a work of fiction to touch this true story!
–Sue, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR