• Agent Sonya

  • Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy
  • By: Ben Macintyre
  • Narrated by: Ben Macintyre
  • Length: 14 hrs and 14 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (841 ratings)

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Agent Sonya  By  cover art

Agent Sonya

By: Ben Macintyre
Narrated by: Ben Macintyre
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Publisher's summary

New York Times Best Seller

The “master storyteller” (San Francisco Chronicle) behind the New York Times best seller The Spy and the Traitor uncovers the true story behind one of the Cold War’s most intrepid spies.

“[An] immensely exciting, fast-moving account.” (The Washington Post)

Named One of the Best Books of the Year by Foreign Affairs • Kirkus Reviews Library Journal

In 1942, in a quiet village in the leafy English Cotswolds, a thin, elegant woman lived in a small cottage with her three children and her husband, who worked as a machinist nearby. Ursula Burton was friendly but reserved, and spoke English with a slight foreign accent. By all accounts, she seemed to be living a simple, unassuming life. Her neighbors in the village knew little about her.

They didn’t know that she was a high-ranking Soviet intelligence officer. They didn’t know that her husband was also a spy, or that she was running powerful agents across Europe. Behind the façade of her picturesque life, Burton was a dedicated Communist, a Soviet colonel, and a veteran agent, gathering the scientific secrets that would enable the Soviet Union to build the bomb.

This true-life spy story is a masterpiece about the woman code-named “Sonya”. Over the course of her career, she was hunted by the Chinese, the Japanese, the Nazis, MI5, MI6, and the FBI - and she evaded them all. Her story reflects the great ideological clash of the 20th century - between Communism, Fascism, and Western democracy - and casts new light on the spy battles and shifting allegiances of our own times.

With unparalleled access to Sonya’s diaries and correspondence and never-before-seen information on her clandestine activities, Ben Macintyre has conjured a pause-resisting history of a legendary secret agent, a woman who influenced the course of the Cold War and helped plunge the world into a decades-long standoff between nuclear superpowers.

©2020 Ben Macintyre (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“[Ben] Macintyre at once exalts and subverts the myths of spy craft.” (The New Yorker)

“Macintyre is fastidious about tradecraft details. ... [He] has become the preeminent popular chronicler of British intelligence history because he understands the essence of the business.” (David Ignatius, The Washington Post)

“Macintyre writes with the diligence and insight of a journalist, and the panache of a born storyteller.” (John Banville, The Guardian [UK])