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.
In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with a revolver, a wireless, and a cyanide pill, with orders from the Abwehr to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, Chapman worked as a double agent, a lone British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service who at one time volunteered to assassinate Hitler for his countrymen. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, all the while weaving plans, spreading disinformation, and, miraculously, keeping his stories straight under intense interrogation, he even managed to gain some profit and seduce beautiful women along the way.
The Nazis feted Chapman as a hero and awarded him the Iron Cross. In Britain, he was pardoned for his crimes, becoming the only wartime agent to be thus rewarded. Both countries provided for the mother of his child and his mistress. Sixty years after the end of the war, and ten years after Chapmans death, MI5 has now declassified all of Chapmans files, releasing more than 1,800 pages of top secret material and allowing the full story of Agent Zigzag to be told for the first time.
The Hotel de la Plage
Spring came early to the island of Jersey in 1939. The sun that poured through the dining-room window of the Hotel de la Plage formed a dazzling halo around the man sitting opposite Betty Farmer with his back to the sea, laughing as he tucked into the six-shilling Sunday Roast Special with all the trimmings. Betty, eighteen, a farm girl newly escaped from the Shropshire countryside, knew this man was quite unlike any she had met before.
Beyond that, her knowledge of Eddie Chapman was somewhat limited. She knew that he was twenty-four years old, tall and handsome, with a thin mustachejust like Errol Flynn in The Charge of the Light Brigadeand deep hazel eyes. His voice was strong but high-pitched with a hint of a Northern accent. He was bubbly, full of laughter and mischief. She knew he must be rich because he was in the film business and drove a Bentley. He wore expensive suits, a gold ring, ...
More thrilling than most spy thrillers and a lot more incredible, Macintyre's tale of Agent Zigzag's wartime adventures is a must read!
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (831 words).
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