S, Portrait of a Spy

Title:                      S, Portrait of a Spy

Author:                Ian Adams

Adam, Ian (1982). S, Portrait of a Spy. New Haven: Ticknor & Fields

LCCN:    82000731

PR9199.3.A25 S19 1982

Date Updated:  June 18, 2015

“90% fact and 10% fiction” – suppposedly – is what espionage fans will get in this non-narrative novel about a Canadian triple agent. As we learn through an interview format: “S” was a Soviet mole high in the RCMP security services. He was discovered by the CIA, but they chose not to expose “S” to the Canadian authorities, preferring to use him to “pump any crap they wanted along to the Soviets.” The CIA comes off badly indeed in this book, especially in the torture department and in “colonizing” Canada – while a reporter, known herein as “The Author,” investigates “S” through his fellow workers, his superior, CIA agents, and his lover Krista Golner, a gorgeous linguist on contract to the federal government. (A fellow KGB agent, she is eventually knifed to death.) The book certainly doesn’t read like a novel. It exposes the charades that “S” perpetrated on the Security Services through the years – and the result is an somewhat documented, but juicily detailed, mosaic.

This is one of many books on the Department of Energy Hanford counterintelligence reading list. The entire list is as follows (with links when appropriate.) The entire list is found at Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence

Angleton Era

Adam, Ian (1982). S, Portrait of a Spy

Buckley, William F., Jr. (2000). SPYTIME: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton

Garbler, Florence Fitzsimmons (1994). CIA Wife: One Woman’s Life Inside the CIA.

Mangold, Tom (1991). Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton: The CIA’s Master Spy Hunter

Martin, David C. (1980) Wilderness of Mirrors

Wise, David (1992). Molehunt: The Secret Search for Traitors that Shattered the CIA