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Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot
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Russian Roulette: A Deadly Game: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (Hardback)
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'It reads like fiction, but it is, astonishingly, history.' - The Times RUSSIAN ROULETTE tells the story of the first global plot and the British spies who were sent to thwart it. The Soviet plot was breathtaking in scale: its aim was to destroy British rule in India, as a precursor to toppling the democracies of the West. It was to bring together two deadly forces - Soviet revolutionaries and Islamic jihadis - to form a highly toxic threat. Unbeknownst to Moscow, a small band of British spies had been secretly smuggled into Russia in the aftermath of the 1917 revolution. They were an unlikely group of men: self taught and highly educated. Their boss was endearingly eccentric. Mansfield Cumming was a monocled, one-legged sea captain with a passion for secret inks and homemade explosives. Cumming gave his agents free range to do whatever they wanted once they were inside Soviet Russia: 'Just don't get yourself killed,' was his only injunction. Over the course of the next three years, his spies would be involved in murder, deception and duplicity on a grand scale.

Living in disguise - and constantly switching identities - they would infiltrate Soviet commissariats, the Red Army and Cheka (secret police), and would come within a whisker of assassinating Lenin. The pinnacle of their achievement was to unmask Lenin's plan for global revolution. It would reach its denouement in the Central Asian city of Tashkent. Lenin's global plot would be spectacularly unravelled. Britain's spies proved brilliantly successful in saving the Western world from catastrophe. They found a wholly new way in which to deal with enemies, one that relied on espionage and dirty tricks rather than warfare. As such, they were the unsung founders of today's modern, highly professional secret services and, in their way, inspiration for fictional heroes to follow, from James Bond to Jason Bourne. Russian Roulette draws on little known records from India Political Intelligence that have only recently been released into the public domain, including rare duplicated copies of reports from MI6's closed archives.

More books by Giles Milton

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Staff Choice

Bestselling historian Giles Milton marks a return to form in this account of British secret agents working inside Red Russia after 1917. Lenin pledged to overthrow the British Empire, by means of a Bolshevik alliance with Islamic extremists in India. Secret agents like Arthur Ransome and Frederic Bailey in Tashkent operated a network of secret agents to defend British interests, and Milton weaves a captivating tale.

This is a story few know about: the book explores the freedom and boldness of the early MI5, or Secret Intelligence Serviceas it was known, as they move from the war on Germany to a new theatre of operations. Highly recommended to all, especially those interested in Anglo-Russian rivalries to this day.

Nick

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 16/10/2013

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