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The Spy Who Loved: The secrets and lives of Christine Granville, Britain's first female special agent of WWII Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews

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Length: 447 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'compulsively readable...Clare Mulley has done a dogged piece of detective work piecing together Christine s ultimately tragic life. Understandably obsessed by her charismatic subject, she has written a thrilling book, and paid overdue homage to a difficult woman who seized life with both hands.' --The Sunday Telegraph

'Clare Mulley brings to life a glamorous, swashbuckling heroine...' --The Sunday Times

'Mulley s fastidiously researched tome provides the most detailed picture yet.' --Sunday Express

'Mulley gets to the heart of a charismatic and fearless woman.'
--Lancashire Evening Post

"she remains a fascinating figure...worthy of this weighty biography." --Word magazine

"An extraordinary life...This is a nerve-shredding read." --Lola Sinclair, The Lady

"...splendid...Happily with biographers like Mulley, the latest in a line of talented writers to seize on a splendid subject, Christine Granville remains as alive, well and compelling as ever; a figure of radiant magnetism, ruthless determination and a courage that as several of them attested could make a strong man shudder." --5 star review by Miranda Seymour, Daily Telegraph

"This is a remarkable life and expertly handled by Mulley here." --Newmarket Journal, Suffolk Free Press, Bury Free Press

"An incredible biography of an incredible woman" --
The Leader (Chester)

"Towards the end of this sympathetic though unvarnished account Clare Mulley pithily sums her up thus She lived boundlessly, as generous as she could be cruel, prepared to give her life at any moment for a worthy cause but rarely sparing a thought for the many casualties who fell in her wake." --Christopher Sylvester, 4 star review in Daily Express

"Clare Mulley tells her story with a bravura that matches Christine s charismatic character."
--SAGA magazine

"Drawing on an unprecedented range of sources, Clare Mulley s The Spy Who Loved is a fine account of Christine Granville s war, told with skill and care." --The Literary Review

"It s an incredible biography of an incredible woman." --Darlington and Stockton Times Evening News (Norwich)

"Mulley tells her story with brio, and this book is just the job for anyone who loved Ben Macintyre s Agent Zigzag."
--Voyager (BMI)

"…assiduously researched, passionately written and highly atmospheric biography…a scholarly and tautly written account of secret operation in occupied Europe." --The Economist

"This is the first book about her for more than 30 years and it painstakingly disentangles her complex story and equally complex character...Clare Mulley has made a fine and soberly thrilling addition to the literature of the undercover war the sort that does not exaggerate or mythologise...This book massively researched and excitingly told, brings an extraordinary heroine back to life." --Daily Mail

"Clare Mulley has marshalled an impressive array of sources in bringing her subject to life...there is much to admire in The Spy Who Loved. Not least that, in spite of the mesmerizing personality of its subject, the temptation to drift into hagiography to which several other biographers of female SOE agents have succumbed is avoided...Clare Mulley has evidently taken Poland s wartime vicissitudes to her heart and, where it was her intention or not, she has rendered Granville s life as an allegory of that nation s travails in the first half of the twentieth century." --Times Literary Supplement

"This is the first book about her for more than 30 years and it painstakingly disentangles her complex story and equally complex character...Clare Mulley has made a fine and soberly thrilling addition to the literature of the undercover war the sort that does not exaggerate or mythologise...This book massively researched and excitingly told, brings an extraordinary heroine back to life." --Daily Mail

Book Description

The extraordinary untold story of one of WWII's most daring female spies

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5557 KB
  • Print Length: 447 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (5 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230759521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230759527
  • ASIN: B0089YAP7M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 109 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #91,993 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Once again Clare Mulley has produced a wonderful biography about a woman I wish I had known a lot more about a long time ago. The remarkable twists and turns in Christine Granville's life are beautifully described in this book. It seems that the author has captured the essence of Christine's intriguing personality in this page-turner. Clare Mulley's scene-setting is such that I could feel my heart racing at key points during Christine's WWII experiences.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clare Mulley's 'The Spy who Loved' is the very compelling story of Christine Granville, Britain's first female special agent of WW2, who was born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbeck, in Warsaw in 1908, the daughter of a dissolute Polish aristocrat and his very wealthy Jewish wife. Although the daughter of a count, Christine was never really accepted in the upper echelons of Polish society, due to her being half Jewish and she often felt on the margins of that society; however this only served to make her the ferociously driven and independent individual that she was.

Christine was beautiful, resourceful, courageous, highly motivated and highly sexed; she was fiercely determined and addicted to danger, excitement and adventure. Married to her first husband when she was twenty one years old and married for a second time when she arrived in England after the outbreak of war, Christine presented herself to the British Secret Service and offered to ski over the Tatra Mountains, (with her one-legged lover) into occupied Poland and return with a first-hand account of the situation in Warsaw. And, surprising as it may seem, she was commissioned to do just that, and this hazardous journey over the frozen mountains into Poland, was just one of many dangerous missions undertaken by this rather amazing woman. Apart from skiing into Poland, she served in Egypt, parachuted into occupied France, and saved the lives of many British, Polish and French officers. She made a significant contribution to the war effort by managing to infiltrate her way into the enemy camp and then smuggle information into Britain sewn into the lining of her gloves, with a cyanide tablet sewn into the hem of her skirt in case she should get caught.
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6 Comments 45 of 47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to admit that I didn't warm to Krystyna Skarbek in the early chapters of this biography. Perhaps it was the aristocratic I-don't-give-a-damn impression, perhaps I was jealous of the beauty. Anyway it didn't matter as Clare Mulley wasn't asking me to like her subject, just to become aquainted with this unusual personality. I like Mulley's narrative approach throughout. She stands back and describes events with the quiet assurance of thorough research. This enables the reader to stick with Christine (as Krystyna became) through the ups and downs of her extraordinary life. It also makes it easier to see her in context - both the close context of the people who worked with or managed her and the wider historical context. I felt I had learned a great deal more than the story of a life - I had a new angle on WW2 and its aftermath and an unexpected insight Polishness and the quality of extraordinary bravery.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of all the books I have read this year nothing comes close to this wonderful story of Christine Granville, who served as a secret agent throughout the Second World War. Born Krystyna Skarbek into an aristocratic Polish family, at a time when women were typically not expected to aspire to anything except becoming wives and mothers, she began her intelligence work for the Allies long before they had set up organizations for this purpose and travelled across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa in pursuit of her work, returning with invaluable information. Beautifully written, this fast paced book is full of danger, intrigue and tragedy but also gives an excellent insight into the character of a supremely courageous yet vulnerable woman. This really is a book not to be missed!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Spy Who Loved is the story of Christine Glanville born Maria Krystyna Janina Skarbek, reputedly Churchill's favourite spy from WW2; she was also sometimes dubbed Britain's most beautiful spy, possibly as she had once taken part in a 1930 Polish beauty contest. There are several recently published books on the same subject and their almost simultaneous appearance is a curious coincidence. However, as she was later employed by SOE after it was established in 1940, the title 'spy' is not one that they would accept - agent was the accepted description.

Christine Glanville was originally a nom de guerre, although she formally adopted the name post-War when she opted to remain in Britain, used by the daughter of a Polish Count and a Jewish mother. Not truly accepted by relatives on either side of her family, she sought more from life than she had been served. A family relationship with the Polish composer, Chopin, gave her no advantages. Once Poland was invaded, and with her Jewish connections likely to make life more complex had she stayed, she was later able to escape to Britain where she underwent extensive training. She had initially worked as a spy in Poland and then moved to France where her knowledge of the language served her well, all within the first months of the War. On escape to Britain, she was recruited by the newly born SOE and continued under their umbrella until War's end, becoming their longest-serving female agent. She returned to Poland several times in order to act as a courier, physically transporting information that could not be sent via radio.

As a spy she was highly capable and successful operating within Europe and North Africa. She was able to gain information and sometimes hid slips of paper within her gloves where they went unfound.
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