For those interested in a no-nonsense account of the complex life of a double agent and the frustrations of his spy-masters, SNOW is a fascinating book.
The authors, Nigel West and Madoc Roberts come with the highest credentials. West is an historian specialising in security and intelligence issues and was voted ‘the experts’, expert’ in 1989. Roberts’ career spans thirty years in film and television producing and directing historical programmes for BBC2, Channels 4 & 5, The Discovery Channel and The History Channel.
From the start of this book it is clear that it is well researched. In the dark shadows of agents, aliens and spies, where duplicity is order of the day, spy and spy-masters alike are eager to maintain their anonymity and their true thoughts; the game begins.
In the run up to the Second World War, West and Roberts introduce a Welsh inventor and business man, Author Owens, and follow his chequered career through into the post war period of the Cold War.
Taking Owens’ story chronologically through this period the reader is introduced to a battery manufacturer and salesman, who through his contacts in Germany believes he can be of use to British intelligence. Initially, after some deliberation MI5 decline his invitation. No matter the persistent character of the double agent chips away and the battle of wits begins.
I will admit to re-reading, not only chapters but paragraphs. This has nothing to do with the excellent account presented by West and Roberts, rather by the narrative presented by Owens himself.
In these documented interviews the reader is placed in the seat of the spy-masters on both sides of this double-cross system, trying to unravel the net of intrquie Owens so cleverly cast.