The true story of an MI5 officer risking his life to save yours
By Tom Marcus
Published by Penguin Random House
RRP $32.99 in hardcover ISBN 9780718184858
At first glance, Soldier Spy reads like a John Le Carre novel but then you realise this story is real.
Tom Marcus, not his real name for obvious reasons, was an MI5 counter terrorist field operative from 2005 to 2013. He lived in constant fear of being outed.
That he rose to this position is remarkable given that he grew up in abject poverty with no mother and an alcoholic father. His life skills came from living on the streets.
Putting these to good use, he cheated on his final school exams to qualify for the British Army. After a posting in Germany, he was selected for the Special Forces Unit serving in Northern Ireland where he proved to be an effective operator. He was then drafted into MI5.
Ironically his appointment coincided with the terrorist attacks in London. He recounts some of his missions, which took on a heightened sense of danger.
His ability to observe and remember faces proved vital for his work.
But the job extracted a heavy price. A series of incidents convinced him that he was suffering PTSD and needed help. He documents his struggle to adjust to a ‘normal’ life. This is a revealing memoir and one worth reading.