Even if it contains an overwhelming amount of detail, this is a fascinating book. After the war, which he must have found as exhausting as it was demanding, Fleming retired to the countryside, happy to manage the estate he had inherited in Oxfordshire and to live the life of a country gentleman with his wife and children while also serving in the Territorial Army. He continued to write, and to write well, but without repeating his prewar success. Meanwhile Ian entered the limelight. In this new world of secret agents with licences to kill and bureaucrat spies like those populating John le Carré’s Circus, the days of the gentleman intelligence officer were over. Peter Fleming was more at one with Buchan’s Richard Hannay and Sandy Arbuthnot than with James Bond and George Smiley.
From what Alan Ogden recounts in this fascinating book, D Division comprised a colourful crew, “a scratch battalion of odds and sods, including several lunatics and deserters”.... Master of Deception contains immensely complex charts and maps, to explain the military chains of command. Memos, reports and contemporary digests abound. It is a very serious, painstaking book – but the undercurrent of black comedy is what brings things to mad life.