Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War’s Most Notorious Spy Rings

Harper. Sept. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780062856999. $28.99. HIST
In this latest work, novelist Barnes (Trial at Torun) writes a detailed account of the Portland spy ring, based on research in British and American archives, along with interviews conducted with sources in the UK and Russia. In January 1961, British security services unraveled a spy group that was delivering naval secrets to a Soviet source. Primarily, the information related to the development of sonar for the Royal Navy’s first nuclear submarine. The spy circle included a married couple who were former members of the American Communist Party, a cantankerous Brit, and a KGB infiltrator. Barnes effectively details the British investigation, the spies’ biographical background, the information stolen, and the ramifications. His thrilling account also sheds insight into the actions of those who were monitoring the activity as it unfolded: the KGB, CIA, MI5, and the Metropolitan Police. Transporting readers from British courtrooms to Soviet spy rooms to Washington offices, Barnes leaves out no step in this thorough reporting.
VERDICT This fast-paced narrative will engage those interested in Cold War international espionage and true crime.

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