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The fascinating, improbable true story of Maxwell Knight -- the great MI5 spymaster and inspiration for the James Bond character M.
Maxwell Knight was perhaps the greatest spymaster in history. He did more than anyone in his era to combat the rising threat of fascism in Britain during World War II, in spite of his own history inside this movement. He was also truly eccentric -- a thrice-married jazz aficionado who kept a menagerie of exotic pets -- and almost totally unqualified for espionage.
Yet he had a gift for turning practically anyone into a fearless secret agent. Knight's work revolutionized British intelligence, pioneering the use of female agents, among other accomplishments. In telling Knight's remarkable story, Agent M also reveals for the first time in print the names and stories of some of the men and women recruited by Knight, on behalf of MI5, who were asked to infiltrate the country's most dangerous political organizations.
Drawing on a vast array of original sources, Agent M reveals not only the story of one of the world's greatest intelligence operators, but the sacrifices and courage required to confront fascism during a nation's darkest time.
Henry Hemming is the author of five works of nonfiction including Agent M and The Ingenious Mr Pyke, which landed on the New York Times monthly espionage bestseller list. He has written for the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, the Times, the Economist, FT Magazine, and the Washington Post, and has given interviews on Radio 4's Today Programme and NBC's Today Show and spoken at schools, festivals and companies including RDF Media, The RSA, Science Museum, Frontline Club, and The School of Life. Henry lives in London with his wife, daughter and son.