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Master of Deception Reviews

Master of Deception by Alan Ogden

Master of Deception

The Wartime Adventures of Peter Fleming

Alan Ogden

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Academic
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 22 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9781788315098

Master of Deception is a biography of Peter Fleming, elder brother of Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond. Peter Fleming worked as a travel writer and journalist, serving with distinction throughout World War II and played a crucial role in British intelligence operations in the Far East. This biography ranges from the personal life of Fleming such as his marriage to Celia Johnson, a famous actor of the time, to his extensive military intelligence career which took him from Norway and Greece to the Far East. Framed through the life of Peter Fleming this book offers an in-depth study of British intelligence operations in the Far East during World War II.

4 stars out of 5
Allan Massie
1 Sep 2019

"this is a fascinating book"

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.


4 stars out of 5
Roger Lewis
27 Aug 2019

"It is a very serious, painstaking book – but the undercurrent of black comedy is what brings things to mad life"

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.