Spy, adventurer, charismatic seductress and mistress of two of the century’s greatest writers, the Russian aristocrat Baroness Moura Budberg was born in 1892 to indulgence, pleasure and selfishness. But after she met the British diplomat and secret agent Robert Bruce Lockhart, she sacrificed everything for love, only to be betrayed.
When Lockhart arrived in Revolutionary Russia in 1918, his official mission was Britain’s envoy to the new Bolshevik government, yet his real assignment was to create a network of agents and plot the downfall of Lenin. Lockhart soon got to know Moura and they began a passionate affair, even though Moura was spying on him for the Bolsheviks. But when Lockhart’s plot unravelled, she would forsake everything in an attempt to protect him from Lenin’s secret police. Fleeing to a life of exile in England and taking a string of new lovers, including Maxim Gorky and H. G. Wells, Moura later spied for Stalin and for Britain amidst the web of scandal surrounding the Cambridge spies. Through all this she clung to the hope that Lockhart would finally return to her.
Grippingly narrated, this is the first biography of Moura Budberg to use the full range of previously unexamined letters, diaries and documents. An incredible true story of passion, espionage and double crossing that encircled the globe, A Very Dangerous Woman brings her extraordinary world vividly to life with dramatic resonances to rival the most sensational novel.
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Deborah McDonald is the author of Clara Collet 1860-1948: An Educated Working Woman and The Prince, His Tutor and the Ripper: The Evidence Linking James Kenneth Stephen to the Whitechapel Murders. She lives on the Isle of Wight.
Jeremy Dronfield is a multifaceted writer, biographer and novelist. His books include the bestselling novel The Locust Farm, Resurrecting Salvador, Burning Blue and the critically acclaimed The Alchemist’s Apprentice. He is also co-author of several historical biographies, including a life of Dr James Barry, the 19th-century surgeon who was discovered to be a woman in disguise.
Table of Contents
Descendants of Ignatiy Zakrevsky viii
Illustration Credits ix
Part 1 Flouting All Conventions: 1916-1918
1 The Eve of Revolution 5
2 Choosing Sides 17
3 Red Winter 34
4 The British Agent 41
5 'What Children We Were' 53
6 Passion and Intrigue 65
7 Old Enemies, Strange Alliances 79
8 A Hair's Breadth from War 92
9 Across the Border 103
Part 2 Love and Survival: 1918-1919
10 The Lockhart Plot 117
11 The Knock on the Door in the Night 132
12 Sacrificial Offering 143
13 The End of Everything… 160
14 Se Metrre en Quatre 169
Part 3 In Exile: 1919-1924
15 'We're All Iron Now' 185
16 Baroness Budberg 202
17 One Perfect Thing 216
Part 4 England: 1924-1946
18 Love and Anger 227
19 Not Such a Fool 244
20 A Cheat and a Liar 260
21 The Mysterious Death of Maxim Gorky 270
22 A Very Dangerous Woman 281
23 'Secretly Working for the Russians' 290
Part 5 Moura's Salon: 1946-1974
24 The Movie Mogul 305
25 A Russian Patriot 315
26 … The End of Everything 327