Agent Of Influence

Agent Of Influence

He was a giant of Cold War journalism, reporting from the  alleyways of Vienna, BUDAPEST AND Berlin and the jungles of Biafra and PARAGUAY. a war hero, a nazi-hunter, a spy and a master manipulator, he also influenced SEVERAL of the 20th century’s GREATEST thriller-writers. Jeremy Duns delves into the many worlds of Antony Terry

Antony Terry offers a light to Austrian Chancellor Leopold Figl, Vienna, 1948

‘You must know thrilling things before you can write about them. Imagination alone isn’t enough, but stories you hear from friends or read in the papers can be built up by a fertile imagination and a certain amount of research and documentation into incidents that will also ring true in fiction.’

So advised Ian Fleming in his 1962 essay How To Write a Thriller. He didn’t mention that he had a head-start on anyone wishing to follow in his footsteps in this manner: for many years he had worked for The Sunday Times, which had allowed him to write and commission articles about topics that fascinated him and which, in many cases, he could subsequently draw on when writing his novels.

He also already knew a lot of ‘thrilling things’ from his own experiences. He had worked in Naval Intelligence during the Second World War, and was fairly open about this. Something he did not admit publicly, however, was that for several years during the Cold War, including while he was writing the James Bond novels, he was also working for MI6. Fleming was part of an espionage network that at various points had also counted among its members such figures as Malcolm Muggeridge, Kim Philby, George Blake and Frederick Forsyth. One earmarked recruit who walked away from joining at the last moment was John le Carré...