Event

Ben MacIntyre on one of the greatest spies of the 20th century

Online event

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Join us on Thursday, October 1 for an evening with historian and The Times columnist and associate editor, Ben Macintyre. At this exclusive online event, Ben will be discussing his new book, Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy the incredible story behind one of the greatest spies of the 20th century.

In a quiet English village in 1942, an elegant housewife emerged from her cottage to go on her usual bike ride. A devoted wife and mother-of-three, the woman known to her neighbours as Mrs Burton seemed to epitomise rural British domesticity.

However, rather than pedalling towards the shops with her ration book, she was racing through the Oxfordshire countryside to gather scientific intelligence from one of the country's most brilliant nuclear physicists. Secrets that she would transmit to Soviet intelligence headquarters via the radio transmitter she was hiding in her outdoor privy.

Far from a British housewife, 'Mrs Burton' - born Ursula Kuczynski, and codenamed 'Sonya' - was a German Jew, a dedicated communist, a colonel in Russia's Red Army, and a highly-trained spy. From planning an assassination attempt on Hitler in Switzerland, to spying on the Japanese in Manchuria, and helping the Soviet Union build the atom bomb, Sonya conducted some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the twentieth century. Her story has never been told - until now.

Agent Sonya is the exhilarating account of one woman's life; a life that encompasses the rise and fall of communism itself, and altered the course of history.

Ben Macintyre is the multimillion-copy bestselling author of books including The Spy and the Traitor, SAS: Rogue Heroes, Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat and A Spy Among Friends. He regularly presents BBC series based on his acclaimed books.

You can read more about Ben Macintyre's latest book, Agent Sonya, here.

Exclusive subscriber offer:

Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy is published by Viking in hardback, ebook and audiobook on September 17 2020, priced £25. Order the hardback book at Waterstones.com at a discounted price of £20 by using the code at checkout (valid until October 10 2020).   

To register for tickets, click on 'register online' in the information box. Please note, you will need to be logged in to see the booking button.

The event will be hosted online and there is no charge to attend. We just ask that you register online as you would with our usual Times+ events. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email with further details. Our virtual event provider, Market Partner, will email you on the morning of the event with a unique link at the email address you used to register for your place, and will let us know that you've attended.

  1. This is an online only event. Attendees will require two separate browser windows in order to take part. 

  2. Registrations are subject to availability. Places available on a first come first served basis. 

  3. Registrations are free of charge and have no monetary value. 

  4. Registrations are non-transferable. 

  5. In order to facilitate the event your information will be shared with Squad Up (registration management) and Market Partner (event platform) Your information will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy http://www.newsprivacy.co.uk

  6. TNL reserves the right at any time to cancel, modify, reschedule or supersede the event or any aspect of the event, including guest speakers, if, in their sole discretion, the event is not capable of being conducted as specified.

  7. Wherever possible changes will be publicised prior to the event and an alternative date provided.

  8. Other than death or personal injury arising from the acts or omissions of TNL, or their employees, TNL will not be liable for any loss or damage arising out of attendance at the event.