John Masterman spent the Great War, despite one escape attempt, interned in Berlin. After leaving Christ Church in March 1940 he was commissioned into the Intelligence Corps. Fluent in German, he attended the interrogation course at Swanage before being posted to the War Office as secretary to the committee which investigated the evacuation from Dunkirk. On completing its report Masterman was transferred to the Security Service working in the counter-espionage division. In 1941 he was assigned the taqsk of debriefing Dusko Popov, and it was this remarkable encounter between one of the Abwehr’s star agents and his M.I.5 handler that led to the creation of the Twenty Committee, the body created to supervise the conduct of double agent operations. Masterman chaired weekly meetings of the Double Cross Committee, as it became known, before he was invited to write an account of its activities at the conclusion of the war. Twenty-seven years later he revealed to his former employers that he had retained a copy of this manuscript, and intended to publish it in America, an experience described in his autobiography, On the Chariot Wheel, released two years before his death, in June 1977.
Nigel West was educated in France and at London University. He worked as researcher before joining the BBC where he contributed to numerous television documentaries, including Spy!, on which he based his first book, and Escape!. While still working for the BBC he was commissioned to write the wartime history of the Security Service, M.I.5, followed by M.I.6: British Intelligence Service Operations 1909 – 45 and A Matter of Trust: M.I.5 1945 – 72, the subject of an Attorney-General’s injunction. His other books include Unreliable Witness: Espionage Myths of World War II, Molehunt, GARBO, GCHQ: The Secret Wireless War, The Friends: Britain’s Postwar Secret Intelligence Operations, Games of Intelligence, Secret WarL The Story of SOE, The Illegals and Seven Spies Who Changed the World. Most recently he has compiled two anthologies, The Faber Book of Espionage and The Faber Book of Treachery. He is married with two children and lives in London and Devon and is the European Editor of a monthly journal, the World Intelligence Review.