The international bestselling author of The Spy and the Traitor reveals one of the last great untold spy stories of the twentieth century: the woman hidden in plain sight who set the stage for the Cold War.
In 1942, in a quiet village in the leafy Cotswolds, an unassuming woman lived in a small cottage with her children and machinist husband, Len. Ursula Burton was friendly but reserved, and spoke English with a slight foreign accent. By all accounts, she seemed to be living a simple life.
Her neighbours had no idea that Burton was in fact a dedicated communist and Soviet Colonel who had conducted espionage operations in China, Poland, and Switzerland. They did not know that Burton kept a powerful radio transmitter connected to Moscow in the outhouse or that Len too was a spy. And they certainly did not know that Burton frequently biked across the countryside to rendezvous with Klaus Fuchs, the nuclear physicist working on Britain's top-secret atomic-weapons program—also her best agent.
Macintyre's latest true-life spy story is a masterpiece about the woman code-named "Sonya," one of the most important female spies in history. Hunted by the Chinese, Japanese, Nazis, MI5, MI6, and FBI, she evaded all and survived the brutal Soviet purges that left her friends and colleagues dead. Her story reflects the great ideological clash of the twentieth century, between communism, fascism, and Western democracy, casting new light on the spy battles and shifting allegiances of our own times. With unprecedented access to Sonya's papers and intelligence files, Macintyre conjures a thrilling secret history of a landmark agent, a true original who altered the course of the Cold War and helped plunge the world into a nuclear standoff that would last for decades.
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