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The full story of the greatest double agent in history, the spy who fooled Hitler, saved thousands of Allied lives and helped shape the world we live in

He fought on both sides in the Spanish Civil War. He was awarded the Iron Cross by Hitler and an MBE by Britain. To MI5 he was known as Garbo. To the Abwehr, he was Alaric. He also went by Rags the Indian Poet, Mrs Gerbers, Stanley the Welsh Nationalist – and 24 other names. He tricked Hitler over D-Day. He was the greatest double agent in history.

But who, exactly, was Juan Pujol?

Using his intimate knowledge of Spain and his skills as a crime novelist, Jason Webster tells for the first time the full true story of the character who captured the imagination in Ben Macintyre’s Double Cross. He tells of Pujol’s early life in Spain, his determination to fight totalitarianism ­and his strange journey from German spy to MI5. Working for the British, whom he saw as the exemplars of freedom and democracy, he created a bizarre fictional network of spies – 29 of them – that misled the entire German high command, including Hitler himself. Above all, in Operation Fortitude he diverted German Panzer divisions away from Normandy, playing a crucial role in safeguarding D-Day and ending the war, and securing his reputation as the most successful double agent of the war.

Meticulously researched, yet told with the verve of a thriller, The Spy with 29 Names uncovers the truth – far stranger than any fiction – about the spy behind one of recent history’s most important and dramatic events.

Reviews

Better than spy fiction

Peter Lewis, Daily Mail

Fascinating, unputdownable

John Harding, Daily Mail, Book of the Week

Gripping and stylish... reads like a thrilling work of fiction

Nigel Jones, Spectator

A riveting story

Edward Wilson, Independent

Webster is an ideal teller of this story... has all the hallmarks of a classic espionage movie

Ben East, Observer

Webster resurrects a quirky figure of fantastical duplicity, a juggler of multiple fictional identities... brilliantly fleshes out his character as the enigmatic Agent Garbo

Iain Finlayson, The Times

From new material about Pujol's early life and family secrets, Webster constructs an intriguing double-edged character and creates a dramatic story of ingenious heroism

Iain Finlayson, Saga Magazine

Compelling

Michael Murray-Fennell, Country Life

Breezily written and readable

Literary Review

A brilliant biography... Reads like a gripping thriller

Bookseller

A wonderfully intriguing and evocative tale, stuffed with extraordinary and exotic characters and a real addition to the wartime espionage canon

Patrick Bishop, bestselling author of BOMBER BOYS and FIGHTER BOYS

A fabulous story, elegantly told

Roger Moorhouse, author of BERLIN AT WAR

Jason Webster, Hispanophile and former Spanish resident, has brought both his crime writing skills and his Iberian expertise to telling the astonishing story of Juan Pujol, aka Agent Garbo, World War Two's most intriguing and important spy -- a tale that would be dismissed as incredible if found in a novel. It's gripping, authentic, surreal -- and true. If you liked Ben Macintyre's 'Operation Mincemeat' you're going to love this one -- it's an absolute winner

Nigel Jones, author of COUNTDOWN TO VALKYRIE: the attempts to assassinate Hitler

A great read and work of detection which illuminates a fascinating episode

William Chislett, former correspondent of THE TIMES in Spain

Better than fiction and certainly a lot murkier, Jason Webster uncovers the tale of one of the Second World War's most fascinating spies, creating an absorbing and page-turning depiction of multi-coated deception

Barmaby Rogerson, author of THE LAST CRUSADERS and THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD

A compelling, evocative study of the Second World War's most successful double agent

Good Book Guide

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099578246

    April 15, 2015

    Vintage

    336 pages

    RRP $27.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781448137886

    April 3, 2014

    Vintage Digital

    336 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
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    • Booktopia NZ

Also by Jason Webster

Or the Bull Kills You
A Death in Valencia
Fatal Sunset
A Body in Barcelona
Blood Med
The Killing of el Niño Jesús
The Anarchist Detective
Sacred Sierra
Andalus
Guerra
Duende

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Man's Search For Meaning
Munich
The Diary Of A Young Girl
Night
The War in the West: A New History
The German War
Anna and the Swallow Man
Hanns and Rudolf
Bismarck
Six Minutes in May
Wave Me Goodbye
Black Square
Martin Luther
The Black Prince of Florence
And the Weak Suffer What They Must?
Hitler
Black Earth
How the French Won Waterloo - or Think They Did
The Zhivago Affair
Dad's War