The Spy and the Traitor - Ben Macintyre

The Spy and the Traitor

By Ben Macintyre

  • Release Date: 2018-09-18
  • Genre: History
Score: 4.5
From 804 Ratings


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes returns with his greatest spy story yet, a thrilling Americans-era tale of Oleg Gordievsky, the Russian whose secret work helped hasten the end of the Cold War.

“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist • Shortlisted for the Bailie Giffords Prize in Nonfiction

If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation's communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union's top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for MI6. For nearly a decade, as the Cold War reached its twilight, Gordievsky helped the West turn the tables on the KGB, exposing Russian spies and helping to foil countless intelligence plots, as the Soviet leadership grew increasingly paranoid at the United States's nuclear first-strike capabilities and brought the world closer to the brink of war. Desperate to keep the circle of trust close, MI6 never revealed Gordievsky's name to its counterparts in the CIA, which in turn grew obsessed with figuring out the identity of Britain's obviously top-level source. Their obsession ultimately doomed Gordievsky: the CIA officer assigned to identify him was none other than Aldrich Ames, the man who would become infamous for secretly spying for the Soviets. 

Unfolding the delicious three-way gamesmanship between America, Britain, and the Soviet Union, and culminating in the gripping cinematic beat-by-beat of Gordievsky's nail-biting escape from Moscow in 1985, Ben Macintyre's latest may be his best yet. Like the greatest novels of John le Carré, it brings readers deep into a world of treachery and betrayal, where the lines bleed between the personal and the professional, and one man's hatred of communism had the power to change the future of nations.


  • Outstanding Read

    By JPE11
    Best spy book I’ve read. Excellent. Could not put it down.
  • Rewrite of Next Stop, Execution with an after action report

    By jon @3333
  • An engaging read

    By Tack_D_Man
    I enjoyed the pacing and the references to other cases throughout the story.
  • Fantastic

    By Great Great Book
    Finished it in 2 days - fantastic story and eloquently written.
  • Amazing.

    By Tyrone7782
    I was blown away by this book. Incredible.
  • Extraordinary Story

    By Too Tall George
    An extraordinary story of a spy who becomes a traitor. Well researched, and very well written.
  • The Spy and the Traitor

    By MRW itunes
    Excellent, gripping and fantastically written