Espionage, election meddling, disinformation, assassinations, subversion, and sabotage - all attract headlines today about Putin's dictatorship. But they are far from new.
The West has a long-term Russia problem, not a Putin problem. Spies mines hitherto secret archives and exclusive interviews with former agents to tell the history of the war that Russia and the West have been waging for a century. Espionage dark arts were the Kremlin's means to equalise the imbalance of arms between the East and West before, during and after the Cold War.
There was nothing 'unprecedented' about Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. It was business as usual, new means for old ends.
The Cold War started long before 1945. Western powers gradually fought back after the Second World War, mounting their own shadow war, deploying propaganda, recruiting intelligence networks and pioneering new spy technologies against the Soviet Union.
Spies is an inspiring, engrossing story of the best and worst of mankind: bravery and honour, treachery and betrayal. The narrative shifts across continents and decades, from the freezing streets of St. Petersburg in 1917 to the bloody beaches of Normandy; from coups in faraway lands to present-day Moscow, where troll farms weaponise social media against Western democracies.
This fresh reading of history makes Spies a unique and essential addition to the story of the unrolling conflict between Russia, China and the West that will dominate the twenty-first century.