• "An exemplary biography... it is full of perceptive intimacies and plenty of tradecraft, subterfuge, deception and revelation. I cannot think of a better biography of a spy chief."

    The Spectator
  • "a frank and clear-eyed, if affectionate, biography of a great public servant, cruelly traduced"

    Spectator, Books of the Year 2016
  • "An intriguing portrait of a brilliant man"

    Mail on Sunday
  • "Gripping and candid."

    The Times
  • "A welcome biography of a man able to combine warm family and personal relationships with hard-headed intellectual analysis, taking the cold decisions needed to succeed in the most unaccountable and secret of government agencies."

  • "A lively, readable and delightful portrait of one of the most charming men to emerge from the shadows."

    Sunday Telegraph
  • "A revealing study of this most unlikely of spy chiefs, the clever farmer’s son from Derbyshire who reached the top of the most class-bound of professions. Pearce paints a rounded portrait of an enigmatic personality, but one whose skilful reading of human nature and empathy with colleagues made him a popular ‘Chief’ of the Secret Intelligence Service in the dangerous days of the Cold War."

    Roger Hermiston, author of The Greatest Traitor
  • "Fuller and more rounded than previous accounts... Pearce amplifies and clarifies our image of a man who contributed significantly to the national zeal and, arguably, world peace."

    Literary Review