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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing but disappointing, 26 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Reilly - Ace of Spies (Paperback)
I saw Reilly, Ace of Spies, on TV some time ago and have been looking forward to reading the book. However, I am finding it a disappointing read. Reilly's exploits make fascinating reading, but Bruce Lockhart has packed them together as though he was filling a small suitcase for a long journey. Names, both English and Foreign, are thrown about like confetti, which means constant flicking backwards and forwards through the pages. An index containing a Who's Who would have been a useful addition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Revised version of a 1960's original; a fanciful telling of the story, 13 Mar 2014
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Andy_atGC (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Reilly - Ace of Spies (Paperback)
Re-released and revised in the 80's following a TV series of the same name which was supposedly based on the original version of this book. I had previously read the earlier version and was at that time somewhat familiar with the name and exploits of Sidney Reilly through other writers.

The author claims to remember meeting Reilly some 50 years prior to writing the original edition of this book and must have been quite elderly at the time of this revision by which time memories may have been coloured by subsequent wartime stories. Reilly was reputedly a British masterspy before 1900 but there is very little, other than from Reilly's own words, to support that claim. A proven braggart, liar, fraud and a possible multiple murderer, he was also a prolific philanderer with several concurrent wives and mistresses but there is insubstantial proof of his espionage. Portions of his tale were told to various of his 'wives' but there was no consistency and it always varied with ever-increasing self-glorification. He acted always for his own benefit and funding his lavish lifestyle was always his first priority after his sexual activities. His financial concerns may have helped cause his downfall.

To be a successful spy, one would need not only to obtain information but to quickly pass it to a principal and this author fails to show how Reilly did so in the decade or two before radio although he hints at coded messages. There are several basic historical and factual errors appearing in this edition which were possibly not included in the original edition of a decade and a half previously, not least a reference to 'taping' conversations 30 years or more before tape recording was possible and a reference to a 'flight' a decade or more before the first airline passenger services commenced. These and other fanciful claims by the author bring considerable doubt to much of this writer's efforts.

Many of this author's claims are routinely disputed by others and it is difficult to ascertain just how or from which sources he obtained his information when so little is officially recorded or to distinguish fact from supposition. Not the easiest book to read due its many flights of fancy and it is loaded with excess unsubstantiated information.
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Reilly - Ace of Spies
Reilly - Ace of Spies by Robin Bruce Lockhart (Paperback - Sep 1983)
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