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  • Published: 1 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241986950
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $24.99

Agent Sonya

Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy

The incredible story behind the greatest female spy in history from one of Britain's best historians, now in paperback

Ursula Kuczynski Burton was a spymaster, saboteur, bomb-maker and secret agent. Codenamed 'Agent Sonya', her story has never been told - until now.

Born to a German Jewish family, as Ursula grew, so did the Nazis' power. As a fanatical opponent of the fascism that ravaged her homeland, Ursula was drawn to communism as a young woman, motivated by the promise of a fair and peaceful society.

From planning an assassination attempt on Hitler in Switzerland, to spying on the Japanese in Manchuria, to preventing nuclear war (or so she believed) by stealing the science of atomic weaponry from Britain to give to Moscow, Ursula conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the twentieth century.

In Agent Sonya, Britain's most acclaimed historian Ben Macintyre delivers an exhilarating tale that's as fast-paced as any fiction. It is the incredible story of one spy's life, a life that would alter the course of history . . .

  • Published: 1 June 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241986950
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • RRP: $24.99

About the author

Ben Macintyre

Ben Macintyre is the multimillion-copy bestselling author of books including Agent Sonya, SAS: Rogue Heroes, The Spy and the Traitor, Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat and A Spy Among Friends. He is a columnist and Associate Editor at The Times, and has worked as the newspaper's correspondent in New York, Paris and Washington. He regularly presents BBC series based on his acclaimed books.

Also by Ben Macintyre

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Praise for Agent Sonya

The best true spy story I have ever read

John le Carré on 'The Spy and the Traitor'

Thrilling...Macintyre will have you hooked to her life's every twist and turn

Lucy Knight, Times/Sunday Times Books of the Year

Macintyre does true-life espionage better than anyone else

John Preston, Evening Standard

Macintyre has found a real-life heroine worthy of his gifts as John le Carré's nonfiction counterpart

New York Times

This book is classic Ben Macintyre...quirky human details enliven every page... it is Macintyre's own vivid retelling of her perilous professional, personal and political life that make Agent Sonya such an accessible spy story.


He has the unerring gift of uncovering those astonishing truths that make even the best novelists of espionage seem both earthbound and artificial in comparison

Daily Telegraph

His best book yet

The Times

Think John le Carré at his early best - but fact not fiction

Daily Express

He...spins gloriously through one of the most extraordinary private lives of the 20th century

Daily Mail, Book of the Week

In Agent Sonya, Macintyre has pulled off his most remarkable trick: he leaves us admiring, and even cheering for, the woman at the heart of his story, someone who not only wanted to destroy our democracy but helped Russia get a nuclear bomb. She is the strongest character of all in Macintyre's bestselling series of wartime tales... I raced through the pages to keep up with the plot

Evening Standard

This impeccably researched account of her double life spans continents and is brilliantly compelling

Sunday Mirror

Macintyre's page-turner is a dazzling portrait of a flawed yet driven individual who risked everything (including her children) for the cause

Sunday Times