Monday, February 28, 2011


It's been a long time since I've mentioned any books, but it's not because I haven't been reading. I have so many to mention that I'm going to put in a few a week until I catch up.

Today, a book recommended to me by DQ reader My Mom: Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal.

Eddie Chapman would have to be made up by Hollywood if he didn't already exist. The prototypical charming rogue who was always in trouble with the law, he wound up becoming a double agent (perhaps, even, a triple agent) in one of the most ridiculous and remarkable espionage stories of WWI. Here's an excerpt from the Amazon page:
Giving little thought to the morality of his decision, Chapman offered to work as a spy for the Germans in 1940 after his release from an English prison in the Channel Islands, then occupied by the Germans. After undergoing German military intelligence training, Chapman parachuted into England in December 1942 with instructions to sabotage a De Havilland aircraft factory, but he surrendered after landing safely. Doubled by MI5 (the security service responsible for counterespionage), Chapman was used to feed vital disinformation to the enemy and was one of the few double agents to delude their German handlers until the end of the war.

Everyone makes an appearance in Chapman's life, seemingly--even magician Jasper Maskelyne (I've mentioned him several times), who was part of the team that created the faked destruction of the De Havilland factory to deceive the Germans.

It's a riveting piece of writing as well by author Ben Macintyre, a terrific read, and it again reminded me how underused espionage is as a theme in games. With the exception of Spycraft, which came out fifteen years ago, I can't remember another PC game where espionage played a prominent role.

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