Authors in the Media – December

Behind Closed Doors by Seth ThevozIn this month’s media roundup of agency authors, you can’t keep a good book down as Seth Thevoz’s Behind Closed Doors, was named by London’s Heywood Hill bookshop as one of the “10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR!” 

The TLS also gave the book a terrific review, describing it as ‘“Exuberant, rollicking… Behind Closed Doors is full of amusing anecdotes and waspish character sketches.”’.

In podcast news, Andrew Jeffrey was interviewed on the Spycraft101 podcast about his book A Taste for Treason, out now. You can also read the the preface to Andrew’s book, completely free here.

Staying on the spy podcast theme, Henry Schlesinger was interviewed on the International Spy Museum’s Spycast to discuss his newest book, Honey Trapped: Sex, Betrayal, and Weaponized Love, which explores the fascinating relationship between sex and spying.

And… you know about Benjamin Franklin in Paris as a “bon vivant, wily diplomat and aging lion,” but read Henry’s article about him as the “Founding Forger” engaged in disinformation and fake news during the Revolution!

Sarah-Louise Miller reveals the forgotten history of the intelligence battle that set up a decisive victory at Midway on the History Hit podcast. Her new book is available for pre-order and published on March 16th 2023.

Lucy Hooft appeared on two podcasts to discuss her debut spy novel The King’s Pawn: The Writer’s Routine and The Hobcast. Her novel is inspired by a real life event no-one has heard of, and takes place around the South Caucus region, which few people know about.

Finally, a double for Mary Novakovich and C. J. Schuler, whose books appeared on Wanderlust magazine’s best travel books for 2022.

Authors in the Media – November

In this month’s media roundup of agency authors, Tim Stanley gave Fr Mark Vickers’ new book, ‘God in No. 10’, 4/5 Stars in The Daily Telegraph.

Is the Holy Ghost a vote-winner? Prime Ministers and God, from Balfour to Boris.

‘From Churchill’s faith in Jewish philosophy to Ramsay MacDonald’s love of horoscopes, Mark Vickers’s God in Number 10 is full of surprises. Vickers, himself a Catholic priest, has given us a wonderful new reference book of the beliefs (and non-beliefs) of 20th-century PMs – a meaty volume that can also be consumed as a social history of British religion.’

Mark wrote a column for Credo in The Times, on how new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will draw on the Hindu concept of service.

He also wrote a column for The Daily Express, asking whether our politicians have abandoned God and with it any moral compass.

‘Does Party-gate or the Chris Pincher scandal count for nothing? The values of the Government must consist of more than narrow interest or the struggle for mere survival.’

Charles Moore noted the book in The Spectator, which he helped launch on Wednesday 26th at the House of Commons. God in Number 10 was published by SPCK on October 20th.

The personal faith of PMs

And speaking of God, Seth Thévoz will appear as a regular guest on the podcast Oh God, What Now? Listen to him on his first episode here.

He also wrote an article for Sphere Magazine that uncovers the history of London’s Private Members’ Clubs, and lists the clubs – old and new – to know now.

The Strangers’ Room at The Reform Club In London

Andrew Jeffrey’s A Taste for Treason was well reviewed in The Times.

And Mary Novakovich’s My Family and Other Enemies was reviewed in the Literary Review.

‘Guidebooks tend to tell readers why it is worth going to see somewhere today. Novakovich has written those too, but this book explains what lies behind what is worth seeing. The human hinterland is as fascinating as the landscape.’

Authors in the Media – October

Agency author Dr Sarah-Louise Miller recently appeared on an episode of the currently airing series of Channel 4’s My Grandparents War. Sarah travelled to Greenock in Scotland to film for the episode and was tasked with explaining to actress Keira Knightley what her grandmother’s Second World War service entailed. Keira’s grandmother, Jan, worked for the US Army’s 5th Port in the Transportation Division, and helped to organise and execute the movement of Allied troops for the D-Day invasion. The episode can be viewed on catch-up on All 4 here.

Keira Knightley & Sarh-Louise Miller
Keira Knightley & Sarh-Louise Miller

Mary Novakovich appeared on the True Travel Podcast and her book is now available worldwide.

Seth Thévoz was interviewed for The Chap Magazine, which is available in all good newsstands now or you can download the digital edition here.

The Chap magazine

He also joined Kate on the Betwixt the Sheets podcast to reveal the secret history behind some of London’s most famous members’ clubs, from 1693 to the present day.

Listen back to the History Hit’s Betwixt the Sheets podcast.

Authors in the Media – September

The TLS

Michael Smith’s THE REAL SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP continues to garner stellar press. The Times Literary Supplement (right) featured it as a lead review with an introduction by the editor in chief. It was described as “a lucid account, rich in anecdote and detail.”

The Cipher Brief, a daily email put out by a US organization which produces reports on intelligence issues by former prominent spooks, also published its own review and notes “Smith’s careful research enables him to challenge a few myths.”

The book was also reviewed in Country Life Magazine by Allan Mallison.

“Michael Smith was an intelligence professional before turning to journalism. There are few as qualified as he to put the whole story together and few who could tell it with such cogency. He relates the 80 years’ cooperation between the intelligence communities (principally the SIS and CIA) in astonishing and revelatory detail, with pace, clarity and authority. It is, quite simply, magnificent.”

And by John Rathbone, the Financial Times’ security & defence correspondent, who said:

“Michael Smith, a former military intelligence officer and author of several books about spying, handles the material judiciously and writes with élan.”

Country Life - August 2022Mary Novakovich’s MY FAMILY AND OTHER ENEMIES published August 18 and was featured in Country Life (right). She also appeared on DK Travel’s Where To Go podcast, the Travel Writing World podcast, Destination Food Drink and Monocle Reads: Meet the Writers.

Seth Thevoz’s BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was reviewed in The Spectator Australia, noting “despite the vastness of its ambition, Behind Closed Doors serves as a well-researched one-stop introduction to the complex social history of the club.”

The London Review of Books also wrote an illuminating essay about the book and Clubland in general.

The book was also reviewed in The Financial Times, saying:

“This well-researched romp through the history of the capital’s private members’ clubs overturns many myths along the way… Compendious and entertaining, Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of London Clubs is the result of thorough research, lightly worn. Thévoz writes with energy, conviction and amusement at the ever-changing variety of human congregation and its foibles.”

The hall of the Athenaeum, c. 1840. [Getty Images]

Caroline Boggis-Rolfe’s ADRIATIC published on August 15 and she appeared on The History Hack podcast.

Henry Schlesinger also discussed honey traps on the Spycraft 101 podcast.

Authors in the Media – August

On July 20th Michael Smith launched his new book at Bletchley Park, The Real Special Relationship: The True Story of How the British and US Secret Services Work Together, published on August 4.

Michael Smith with (l-r) former CIA Director ⁦John Brennan, former MI6 Chief John Scarlett and former GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan.
At Bletchley Park: Michael Smith with (l-r) former CIA Director ⁦John Brennan, former MI6 Chief John Scarlett and former GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan.
Mark Urban reported for BBC Newsnight at the launch of The Real Special Relationship from Bletchley Park, including interviews with Sir John Scarlett, John Brennan and Michael Smith. Interviews begin at 28:00.

The Real Special Relationship was also in The Times’ recommended reading list for the new prime minister.

Alan Judd reviewed the book for the Spectator.

Michael also appeared on the True Spies podcast, narrated by Vanessa Kirby, with former CIA case officer Jim Lawler to lift the lid on a rare joint operation between the CIA and MI6.

Seth Thevoz’s new book Behind Closed Doors (published July 28) had wide coverage in the national newspapers, including The Observer, The Times, The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.

He also appeared on Times Radio with Michael Portillo. The interview can be found here, approximately 1 hour 35 minutes in.

Neil Robinson’s spy novel The Other Side of Trust was reviewed on the popular Spybrary podcast.

Mark Simmons appeared on BBC Radio Cornwall discussing his new book Alistair MacLean’s War.

Finally, Mary Novakovich is featured in this month’s edition of The Lady Magazine, recalling her first trip to Croatia. Her new travelogue/memoir, My Family and Other Enemies: Life and Travels in Croatia’s Hinterland, is published by Bradt on 18 August. In the meantime, Bradt has just published an extract on its website.