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John Blake to publish ‘ground-breaking’ first account of The Five Eyes spy network

John Blake Publishing, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired The Secret History of The Five Eyes: The untold story of the shadowy international spy network, through its targets, traitors, and spies from award-winning investigative journalist and filmmaker, Richard Kerbaj.

Executive Editor Toby Buchan acquired world all language rights from Richard Pike at C&W Agency.

The Five Eyes is an elite spy network created by Britain and the United States following the Second World War that globalised espionage operations. Its surveillance reach through its five member countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is unrivalled – and its joint-operations ultimately brought an end to the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The alliance has been steeped in secrecy since its formation in 1956, its existence only acknowledged as recently as 2010. The Secret History of The Five Eyes is the first published account of The Five Eyes.

At the heart of the alliance are complex individuals whose achievements and failures have helped cement the Five Eyes legacy – and it is through these personalities that this book is written. They include a Scotland Yard detective who became a spymaster and helped inspire the first exchanges between MI5 and the FBI; an American home economics teacher who helped create one of the most effective counter-Soviet programmes; the CIA’s lone officer in Budapest during the Hungarian Revolution; right through to GCHQ’s chief during the Snowden Affair; and the Australian politician-turned-diplomat whose tip-off to the FBI instigated an inquiry into Russia’s meddling in the US presidential contest between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

With fifteen years of award-winning reporting on national security, Richard Kerbaj draws on interviews with more than 100 intelligence officials, including former GCHQ director Sir Iain Lobban, CIA director General David Petraeus, MI5 director-general Eliza Manningham-Buller, NSA director Admiral Mike Rogers, British National Security Advisor Kim Darroch, ASIO chief Mike Burgess, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s chief Richard Fadden, and Ciaran Martin, the official who oversaw Britain’s assessments on whether the Chinese telecoms firm, Huawei, should have had a role in the creation of the UK’s 5G network.

In addition, Richard has interviewed prime ministers, including Theresa May and David Cameron, and has also drawn on recently declassified archives to reveal authoritative but unauthorised stories, bypassing the usual censorship channels to tell the definitive account of the Western world’s most powerful but least known intelligence alliance.

Richard Kerbaj said: “I have long been obsessed with understanding the motives, myths and missions of the Five Eyes and, in particular, the personalities who helped shape its legacy. I feel privileged for the trust given to me by intelligence insiders to tell this story – and I am especially grateful to Bonnier and my editor Toby Buchan for sharing my enthusiasm for this project and giving me their unreserved support.”

Toby Buchan said: “The Secret History of The Five Eyes is not only a brilliant book, but an important one of wide international appeal – after all, this once-secret, decades-old security and intelligence collaboration between the USA, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is central to the defence of the free world in a dangerously uncertain time. Richard’s research, impeccable credentials and astounding contacts in the intelligence community add to the fact that there is, so far, no other book on this shadowy alliance.”

Richard Pike said: “Richard’s gripping book reveals the critical hidden role all members of The Five Eyes, not just US and UK security services, played in events that have come to define our recent history. I’m delighted Richard has found the perfect editor and home at Bonnier Books UK.”

Richard Kerbaj is a BAFTA-winning and two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker and writer. His first film, My Son the Jihadi, won four awards, including the 2016 BAFTA for best single documentary, and was nominated for an International Emmy and a Prix Italia. Richard is also a multi-award-winning print journalist who was the security correspondent for The Sunday Times of London between 2010 and 2020. Prior to that, he worked for The Times on investigations and as a foreign correspondent, and for The Australian newspaper.

The Secret History of the Five Eyes has been optioned by Fremantle and Passenger’s Richard Brown, executive producer of the HBO hit show True Detective, following a deal brokered by Luke Speed of the Curtis Brown Group.

The Secret History of the Five Eyes will be published in hardback, audio and eBook on 1st September 2022.