By Ben Macintyre
The Spy and the Traitor is a nonfiction spy thriller centred around Russian double agent 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. 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 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.
The Spy and the Traitor is a non-fiction book that reads like some of the best fictional thrillers out there. This hard to put down page turner becomes more intriguing the deeper Oleg Gordievsky imbeds himself with the British M16 while trying to hide his secret from his superiors at the KGB. At times it is hard to believe the events took place. This is a fascinating look into the Cold War era, the level of trust that was placed in others, and the personal sacrifices people made to stand up for something they believed in. Highly recommend.