The next book: Agent Jack

Cover imageI’m very excited to announce my next book, Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter.

In 1942, MI5 faced a puzzle. They’d spent the first three years of World War II convinced that Germany had a “fifth column” of British traitors, ready to rise up and assist in an invasion. But the spy-hunters hadn’t been able to find any trace of such an organisation. What they had kept finding was people who wanted to join it. So MI5 decided they might as well set the group up themselves. For the next three years, a small team within the Security Service patiently collected British Nazi sympathisers, keeping them busy but out of harm’s way. The team was made up of Victor Rothschild, peer of the realm, scientist and bomb-defuser; his “assistant” Theresa Clay, a famous biologist with a complicated personal life; and the star of the operation, Eric Roberts.

Eric Roberts

Eric Roberts

Roberts was apparently an ordinary clerk, commuting in every day to the Euston Road branch of the Westminster Bank. But he had another life, in which his astonishing skill as a secret agent was revealed.

As the war progressed, these three catalogued hundreds of British people who were willing to risk the noose to help Germany. But when peace came in 1945, MI5 faced a new problem: what to do with them all?

The book will be out in September 2018 from Weidenfeld & Nicolson and is available to order from Amazon.

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Would They Lie To You?

Buy it on Amazon, if you likeWould They Lie To You?, the follow-up to the quite-well-selling Romps, Tots & Boffins… is out now. The Mail called it “brutally funny”.

Where Romps dealt with the sometimes-shifty language of newspapers, Lie deals with, well, everyone else. In particular, the people who want your time, your money or your votes.

You can think of it as a spotters’ guide to evasion, or as a handbook for success.

You can see some extracts here, and what people think of it here. I also Storified part of the creative process.

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Romps, Tots and Boffins – the strange language of news

Romps papers.jpg largeWhere is drunken vandalism always a “booze-fuelled rampage?”
Where is everyone in uniform a “hero” and every thief “heartless”?
Where are market towns always “bustling” and villages “sleepy”?

Journalese is the language of news. It’s a strange language, a little like English. I’ve been working around native speakers for two decades, living as one of them and learning their ways, and in my book, Romps, Tots and Boffins – The Strange Language of News, I make their secrets available to the public for the first time. You don’t need to thank me.

You can read some of the funny bits, see what people are saying or just take my word for it that it’s a “must read laugh-a-minute page-turner” and buy it from Waterstones, or The Book Depository, or your local bookshop. Or, you know, order it from Amazon.

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Romps: The Movie

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Would They Lie To You? Free Extract

Cover

Want to get a flavour of the new book? Here’s a free extract…

Would They Lie To You preview

And there’s more here…

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In Defence of the Meaningless Speech

I went on the Today programme, to argue that when the news is bad, uncommunication is by far the best policy.

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Would They Lie To You? – on the Daily Politics

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U.K. Launches Inquiry Into Historical Child Abuse Allegations

Published 1 hour, 30 minutes ago


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  • Posted in Bloomberg reporting | Comments Off on U.K. Launches Inquiry Into Historical Child Abuse Allegations

    Scots Weigh Emotions of Breaking Up U.K. as Heads Take On Hearts


  • Cameron Out to Drown Scots Independence Forever in a Sea of No's

  • U.K. Student Lender Follows Wonga Ban on Misleading Debt Letters

  • Cameron Urges Scottish ‘Silent Majority’ to Speak on Referendum

  • Cameron Says Scottish Ministers Threaten Firms Over Independence

  • U.K. Said to Press for More House Building as Prices Soar

  • U.K. Urges Government Staff to Fill Army-Reserve Gaps


  • Cameron Digs In for Long EU Campaign as Defeat Approaches


  • Phone-Hacking Scandal That Rocked News Corp.: Timeline

    The phone-hacking scandal at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers simmered for nearly five years before erupting on the national scene in July 2011 amid the discovery that journalists had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

    — Delivered by Feed43 service

  • Posted in Bloomberg reporting | Comments Off on Scots Weigh Emotions of Breaking Up U.K. as Heads Take On Hearts

    Cameron Out to Drown Scots Independence Forever in a Sea of No’s

  • U.K. Student Lender Follows Wonga Ban on Misleading Debt Letters

  • Cameron Urges Scottish ‘Silent Majority’ to Speak on Referendum

  • Cameron Says Scottish Ministers Threaten Firms Over Independence

  • U.K. Said to Press for More House Building as Prices Soar

  • U.K. Urges Government Staff to Fill Army-Reserve Gaps


  • Cameron Digs In for Long EU Campaign as Defeat Approaches


  • Phone-Hacking Scandal That Rocked News Corp.: Timeline

    The phone-hacking scandal at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers simmered for nearly five years before erupting on the national scene in July 2011 amid the discovery that journalists had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

    — Delivered by Feed43 service

  • Posted in Bloomberg reporting | Comments Off on Cameron Out to Drown Scots Independence Forever in a Sea of No’s

    U.K. Student Lender Follows Wonga Ban on Misleading Debt Letters

  • Cameron Urges Scottish ‘Silent Majority’ to Speak on Referendum

  • Cameron Says Scottish Ministers Threaten Firms Over Independence

  • U.K. Said to Press for More House Building as Prices Soar

  • U.K. Urges Government Staff to Fill Army-Reserve Gaps


  • Cameron Digs In for Long EU Campaign as Defeat Approaches


  • Phone-Hacking Scandal That Rocked News Corp.: Timeline

    The phone-hacking scandal at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers simmered for nearly five years before erupting on the national scene in July 2011 amid the discovery that journalists had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

    — Delivered by Feed43 service

  • Posted in Bloomberg reporting | Comments Off on U.K. Student Lender Follows Wonga Ban on Misleading Debt Letters

    Cameron Urges Scottish ‘Silent Majority’ to Speak on Referendum

  • Cameron Says Scottish Ministers Threaten Firms Over Independence

  • U.K. Said to Press for More House Building as Prices Soar

  • U.K. Urges Government Staff to Fill Army-Reserve Gaps


  • Cameron Digs In for Long EU Campaign as Defeat Approaches


  • Phone-Hacking Scandal That Rocked News Corp.: Timeline

    The phone-hacking scandal at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers simmered for nearly five years before erupting on the national scene in July 2011 amid the discovery that journalists had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

    — Delivered by Feed43 service

  • Posted in Bloomberg reporting | Comments Off on Cameron Urges Scottish ‘Silent Majority’ to Speak on Referendum

    Cameron Says Scottish Ministers Threaten Firms Over Independence

  • U.K. Said to Press for More House Building as Prices Soar

  • U.K. Urges Government Staff to Fill Army-Reserve Gaps


  • Cameron Digs In for Long EU Campaign as Defeat Approaches


  • Phone-Hacking Scandal That Rocked News Corp.: Timeline

    The phone-hacking scandal at News Corp.’s U.K. newspapers simmered for nearly five years before erupting on the national scene in July 2011 amid the discovery that journalists had hacked the phone of a murdered schoolgirl.

    — Delivered by Feed43 service

  • Posted in Bloomberg reporting | Comments Off on Cameron Says Scottish Ministers Threaten Firms Over Independence