The Untold Story of Britain's First Female Special Agent of World War II
In June 1952, a woman was murdered by an obsessed colleague in a hotel in the South Kensington district of London. Her name was Christine Granville. That she died young was perhaps unsurprising; that she had survived the Second World War was remarkable.
The daughter of a feckless Polish aristocrat and his wealthy Jewish wife, Granville would become one of Britain's most daring and highly decorated special agents. Having fled to Britain on the outbreak of war, she was recruited by the intelligence services and took on mission after mission. She skied over the hazardous High Tatras into occupied Poland, served in Egypt and North Africa, and was later parachuted behind enemy lines into France, where an agent's life expectancy was only six weeks. Her courage, quick wit, and determination won her release from arrest more than once, and saved the lives of several fellow officers - including one of her many lovers - just hours before their execution by the Gestapo. More importantly, the intelligence she gathered in her espionage was a significant contribution to the Allied war effort, and she was awarded the George Medal, the OBE, and the Croix de Guerre.
Granville exercised a mesmeric power on those who knew her. In The Spy Who Loved, acclaimed biographer Clare Mulley tells the extraordinary history of this charismatic, difficult, fearless, and altogether extraordinary woman.
This biography insightfully explores Christine Granville's ineffable qualities and illuminates a little-known, but fascinating character from history. Christine was indeed a spy who loved. She loved freedom, Poland, a handful of interesting men, and a life full of adventure. Fans of WWII history, espionage, or James Bond will be delighted by this real-life espionage story. (Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Better than any James Bond novel… The most frank and comprehensive tribute yet to Christine… A thrilling account.
This summer’s most spellbinding saga of espionage and adventure.
The Wall Street Journal
Well-written and thoroughly researched
The Daily Beast
Outstanding...more eye-popping adventures than we’d find plausible in any novel or movie.
Starred Review. [Mulley] gives a remarkable, charismatic woman her due in this tantalizing biography.
The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
Compulsively readable… [Mulley] has written a thrilling book, and paid overdue homage to a difficult woman who seized life with both hands.
Sunday Times (UK)
Brings alive a glamorous, swashbuckling heroine.
Mail on Sunday (UK)
Engrossing biography details the high-voltage life of one of Britain's most remarkable female spies... Fascinating.
The Sunday Express (UK)
Mulley's fastidiously researched tome provides the most detailed picture yet.
The Telegraph (UK)
[A] splendid book… [a] captivating female version of the Scarlet Pimpernel… Christine Granville remains as alive, well and compelling as ever: a figure of radiant magnetism, ruthless determination and a courage that – as several of them attested – could make a strong man shudder
Drawing on an unprecedented range of sources, Clare Mulley's The Spy Who Loved is a fine account of Christine Granville's extraordinary war, told with skill and care... Mulley succeeds in making her human... What is quite clear from this inspiring biography is that Granville was as charismatic as she was courageous.
Daily Mail (UK)
This book, massively researched and excitingly told, brings an extraordinary heroine back to life.
The Spectator (UK)
This is a meticulously researched but also highly readable account of [Granville's] heroic but unfulfilled and deeply tragic life, without any attempt at gloss. It is one of the most exciting books I've read this year.
Assiduously researched, passionately written and highly atmospheric biography… Not just the story of a uniquely brave and complicated patriot, but also a scholarly and tautly written account of secret operations in occupied Europe.
Christine Granville worked for the Special Operations Executive (SOE), an organization set up to assist European resistance movements and according to Winston Churchill, "to set Europe ablaze." The SOE was formed from three different but overlapping units: a propaganda unit known as Department EH run by a Canadian newspaper magnate; Section D, a division of the Secret Intelligence Service focused on sabotage and propaganda; and a department of the War Office, known as MI R. In July 1940, all three were rolled into one organization - the Special Operations Executive.
Although expectations were high for the SOE, there was trouble in the early months. The organization faced three primary challenges: how to recognize resistance movements, how to communicate with them, and how to best support these movements in their fight against Germany. Although Section D and MI R had developed procedures for helping resistance movements on a small scale, the scope of SOE's mission was new. Determining the exact ways that the SOE was going to carry out Churchill's mandate of "setting...
Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.
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