My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is not normally the sort of book I read but I saw a clip of ‘Tom Marcus’ on the news and his story sounded fascinating, so I thought I’d give this memoir a go. Tom had a rough upbringing, essentially a street kid, he couldn’t join the army quick enough to escape. Once in the army, he moves into doing secret work in Ireland, from there he is recruited into MI5, as an operator (what most people would think of as a spy). The news stories I saw pretty much summarised the entire book, so I knew in advance how it ends but that didn’t really matter, in fact, knowing in advance what ultimately happened, you could really see the warning signs throughout the book.
The book is really well written and very gripping. It’s a fascinating insight into the work of the secret services and how they protect us from multiple attempted terrorist attacks and foreign spying. If you ever wonder how the UK has been ‘lucky’ (touch wood), so far, compared to some other countries, this book goes some ways to answering that and some of the attacks that Tom was involved in stopping sound horrifying. The book highlights the team work involved and the mental and physical danger that the operators put themselves in, to protect us. It was also fascinating that this stuff goes on under the public’s gaze and we don’t even realise, so next time I see a car racing way too fast down a road, yep, it could just be a jerk speeding but it could also be an operator on ‘steel badge’.