‘An important book on a figure who deserves proper historical attention.’
dean, Leiden University College, The Hague, and author of Western Anti-Communism and the Interdoc Network
‘Great tale of espionage. The Eagle in the Mirror is a successful rehabilitation of a master spy who was unfairly accused of being a double agent, and even a triple agent, at the service of Germany and the Soviet Union... after a relentless investigation, Jesse Fink’s book does justice to Ellis.’
TALINE TER MINASSIAN,
author of Most Secret Agent of Empire: Reginald Teague-Jones, Master Spy of the Great Game
‘A highly significant contribution to the literature of intelligence... Fink has performed some extremely important research.’
author of Misdefending the Realm: How MI5's Incompetence Enabled Communist Subversion of Britain's Institutions during the Nazi-Soviet Pact
‘Remarkable story... if this book tells us anything, it is the difficulty of knowing the truth of anything in the world of the security services.’
Australian Book Review
‘Jesse Fink plays detective and uncovers the fascinating real story about Ellis. Highly readable.’
‘Very interesting indeed... with some real digging for information, Fink does a very good job of showing the inadequacies of certain writers and that there is little or no real evidence that Ellis was an agent either for the Nazis or the Soviets.’
author of MI6: Fifty Years of Special Operations and MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service
‘This engrossing book makes a powerful case for Ellis to be seen as a hero.’
‘Forensic and engrossing. The point of Fink’s work is to convincingly demolish various attacks on Ellis’s reputation, especially the self-serving accusations of treacherous dealings, first with the Nazis and then the Soviet Union, made by a phalanx of bitter, or simply gullible, “insiders”... it was all nonsense, if Fink is to be believed, and I think he can be...
‘Ellis, who died in 1975, was interrogated in 1966. Nothing of any substance was found. But the mere fact that he’d been questioned spawned an orgy of bestselling “exposes”, penned for profit by men who had never felt at home with truth or loyalty. Fink’s comprehensive exoneration, while as complex as the subject demands, is written by a fellow who clearly values both.’
The Sydney Morning Herald
‘Jesse Fink’s passion to uncover the true story of Dick Ellis is an engaging journey through espionage in the post-World War I and World War II era. The highlight of the story for me was understanding just how much fear, deceit, and mystery were in the daily lives of British intelligence officers of the day.’
author of Beverly Hills Spy: The Double-Agent War Hero Who Helped Japan Attack Pearl Harbor
‘Dick Ellis’s adventures not only rival those of James Bond;
he was James Bond.’
author of The Second Oldest Profession
and Philby: KGB Masterspy
‘The most intriguing figure who has crossed the often-surprising landscape of Australian intelligence’.
BRIAN TOOHEY AND WILLIAM PINWILL,
authors of Oyster: The Story of The Australian Secret Intelligence Service
‘A sturdy, genial Australian-born survivor of the intelligence wars from Paris to the Soviet border.’
author of The Old Boys: The American Elite and the Origins of the CIA
‘One of the most shadowy figures of all.’
DESMOND BALL AND DAVID HORNER,
authors of Breaking the Codes: Australia’s KGB Network, 1944–1950
‘[Ellis] slid down the slippery slope of treachery in support of alien creeds, until he was committing treason to a degree which could have sent him to the gallows.’
author of Their Trade is Treachery and Too Secret Too Long
‘Perhaps an even worse traitor [than Kim Philby], making Philby look like a rank amateur.’
author of A Matter of Trust: MI5 1945–72 and MI6: British Secret Intelligence Service Operations, 1909–1945
‘The Grand Old Man of British espionage… the oldest living professional agent.’
author of A Man Called Intrepid
and Intrepid’s Last Case
Part biography, part forensic jigsaw puzzle, part cold-case detective investigation, The Eagle in the Mirror is the astonishing untold story of the Australian-born British soldier and intelligence officer accused by some espionage experts of being the traitor of the century:
CHARLES HOWARD ‘DICK’ ELLIS.
The longest serving spy for the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Ellis helped set up the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), now known as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), as well as the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS). At one point in the 1940s he was considered one of the top three secret agents in MI6 and controlled its activities, as one journalist put it, ‘for half the world’.
But in the 1980s crusading espionage journalist CHAPMAN PINCHER (in the hugely successful books Their Trade is Treachery and Too Secret Too Long) and retired MI5 intelligence officer PETER WRIGHT (in the worldwide bestseller Spycatcher) posthumously accused Ellis of having operated as a ‘triple agent’ for Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
In 1965, while under interrogation in London, Ellis had allegedly made a confession that he had supplied information to the Nazis before World War II. The scope of Ellis’s purported betrayal was considered even worse than notorious British traitor and double agent KIM PHILBY, who defected to the Soviet Union in 1963.
However, Pincher’s and Wright’s accusations against Ellis have never been comprehensively proven. No confession has materialised. Meanwhile, other writers and former colleagues of Ellis, including historian ANTHONY CAVE BROWN and the man known around the world as ‘Intrepid’, WILLIAM STEPHENSON, publicly defended him to the hilt.
Was Ellis guilty or was an innocent man framed? By confessing did he take the fall for someone else? Or had the intelligence agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia been fatally compromised by a ‘super mole’? Internationally bestselling author JESSE FINK (Pure Narco, Bon: The Last Highway, The Youngs) attempts to find out the truth once and for all.
The Eagle in the Mirror is not just a long-overdue biography of the unheralded Dick Ellis; it’s a gripping real-life international whodunit.
The Eagle in the Mirror is out now through Penguin Random House Australia and Black & White Publishing (UK) . It will be released by Kensington Publishing (USA) in June 2024
The author at the entrance to St Edmund Hall, Oxford, where Dick Ellis studied Russian in 1920–21