The incredible story behind the greatest female spy in history from one of Britain’s most acclaimed historians
Ursula Kuczynski Burton was a spymaster, saboteur, bomb-maker and secret agent. Codenamed ‘Agent Sonya’, her story has never been told – until now.
Born to a German Jewish family, as Ursula grew, so did the Nazis’ power. As a fanatical opponent of the fascism that ravaged her homeland, Ursula was drawn to communism as a young woman, motivated by the promise of a fair and peaceful society.
From planning an assassination attempt on Hitler in Switzerland, to spying on the Japanese in Manchuria, to preventing nuclear war (or so she believed) by stealing the science of atomic weaponry from Britain to give to Moscow, Ursula conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the twentieth century.
In Agent Sonya, Britain’s most acclaimed historian Ben Macintyre delivers an exhilarating tale that’s as fast-paced as any fiction. It is the incredible story of one spy’s life, a life that would alter the course of history . . .
The best true spy story I have ever read
Thrilling…Macintyre will have you hooked to her life’s every twist and turn ― Times/Sunday Times Books of the Year
Macintyre does true-life espionage better than anyone else. He has a remarkable ability to construct a narrative that is as taut and urgent as it is carefully nuanced. ― Evening Standard
Macintyre has found a real-life heroine worthy of his gifts as John le Carré’s nonfiction counterpart ― New York Times
This book is classic Ben Macintyre…quirky human details enliven every page… it is Macintyre’s own vivid retelling of her perilous professional, personal and political life that make Agent Sonya such an accessible spy story. ― Spectator
He has the unerring gift of uncovering those astonishing truths that make even the best novelists of espionage seem both earthbound and artificial in comparison ― Daily Telegraph
His best book yet
Another year, another blockbuster real-life spy tome… Think John le Carré at his early best – but fact not fiction ― Daily Express
He…spins gloriously through one of the most extraordinary private lives of the 20th century ― Daily Mail, Book of the Week
In Agent Sonya, Macintyre has pulled off his most remarkable trick: he leaves us admiring, and even cheering for, the woman at the heart of his story, someone who not only wanted to destroy our democracy but helped Russia get a nuclear bomb. She is the strongest character of all in Macintyre’s bestselling series of wartime tales… I raced through the pages to keep up with the plot ― Evening Standard
This impeccably researched account of her double life spans continents and is brilliantly compelling ― Sunday Mirror
Macintyre’s page-turner is a dazzling portrait of a flawed yet driven individual who risked everything (including her children) for the cause ― Sunday Times
About the Author
Ben Macintyre is the multimillion-copy bestselling author of books including Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat and A Spy Among Friends. He is a columnist and Associate Editor at The Times, and has worked as the newspaper’s correspondent in New York, Paris and Washington. He regularly presents BBC series based on his acclaimed books.