Maggie Hartford of The Oxford Times writes:

Sword-stick assassinations; the slow torture of Rasputin, found with his testicles crushed; a sack tied to a door, containing the remains of a secret agent. Michael Smith’s latest book, Six: A History of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, doesn’t stint on violence. He said: “People have accused me of exaggerating, because the subtitle is Murder and Mayhem, but it’s all there in the facts.”

Mr Smith made his name in 2004 as defence correspondent of the Sunday Times, exposing the Downing Street memos, which rocked the Bush and Blair administrations with suggestions that the intelligence that sparked the war in Iraq was ‘fixed’.

He is uniquely placed to write about spying and spies, because he used to be one.

To continue reading, please click here.

SIX is available to buy here, priced £19.99.