If you are fascinated by the Portland Spy Ring you are going to love this. If you know nothing about the Portland Spy Ring you are going to love this. I often say that spy fact is often more intriguing than spy fiction and that is what we get in Trevor Barnes' book Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War's Most Notorious Spy Rings
Author Trevor Barnes joins us on the Spybrary Spy Book Podcast to share more about this fascinating story of spying and counter-intelligence. He is expertly debriefed by guest host Chris Carr, the host, and producer of the Secrets and Spies Podcast.
What is Dead Doubles: The Extraordinary Worldwide Hunt for One of the Cold War's Most Notorious Spy Rings all about?
The astonishing but true story of one of the most notorious spy cases from the Cold War—and the international manhunt that seized global attention as it revealed the shadowy world of deep cover KGB operatives.
The dramatic arrest in London on January 7, 1961 of five Soviet spies made headlines worldwide and had repercussions around the globe. Alerted by the CIA, Britain's security service, MI5, had discovered two British spies stealing invaluable secrets from the highly sensitive submarine research center at Portland, UK. Their controller, Gordon Lonsdale, was a Canadian who frequently visited a middle-aged couple, the Krogers, in their sleepy London suburb. But the seemingly unassuming Krogers were revealed to be deep cover American KGB spies—infamous undercover agents the FBI had been hunting for years—and they were just one part of an extensive network of Soviet operatives in the UK.
In the wake of the spies' sensational trial, the FBI uncovered the true identity of the enigmatic Lonsdale—Konon Molody, a Russian who had lived in California before being recruited by the KGB. Molody opened secret talks with MI5 to betray Russia, but before he had the chance, the KGB blackmailed Britain into spy swaps for him and the Krogers.
Based on revelatory, newly-released archival material and inside sources from around the world, Dead Doubles follows the hunt for the highly damaging Portland Spy Ring. As gripping as a le Carré novel, this incredible narrative, layered with false identities, deceptions, and betrayal, crisscrosses from the UK to the USSR to the US, Canada, Europe and New Zealand, and brings to life one of the most extraordinary spy stories of the Cold War.
In this interview with Trevor Barnes, we learn:
- What drew Trevor Barnes to research and write about the Portland Spy Ring?
- How did the author track down relatives of the protagonists?
- How Trevor attracted the interest of a publisher.
- Why the spy ring was one of the most notorious to be uncovered during the Cold War
- Why this was truly an international investigation
- Trevor Barnes was mentored and trained by Intelligence history expert Christopher Andrew
- Why he started Dead Doubles with the account of MI5 raiding the Midland Bank
- Who was Gordon Lonsdale.
- Who were the Krogers
- Why Trevor strove to make Dead Doubles a ‘crossover' book, by that he means a genuine, serious piece of espionage academic history but also an engaging read. He did not want the book to have more footnotes than actual text.
- How an anti-Semitic letter started the investigation.
- The differences between MI5 and Special Branch.
- What were some of the difficulties MI5 faced during the investigation of the spy ring and how did they overcome them
And Much Much More
Today's episode of the Spybary Podcast would not have been possible without the generous support of our Spybrary Patreon supporters, if you enjoy our content and want more, please consider supporting us? Are we worth the cost of a Latte a month? Details here.
Talk more about spy books, spy movie and spy tv shows in our Spybrary discussion group
Spybrary Facebook Group – come chat with like-minded spy fans and authors.