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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Some excellent reviews on Amazon for Tina Tamman's debut book!

4**** The quality of the author's research is impeccable and the results are as close as possible to comprehending who Brian Giffey was. The scrupulous attention to time and place provides a sound base upon which the author is able to bring her protagonist to life. Giffey's own poetry and prose, as well as the photographs provided, make for an enriching experience. The title intimates that the notorious Kim Philby plays a larger role than he actually does, but it is true that Philby provides a key clue in a case of British Intelligence still submerged in a fog of secret documents. Of note is the author's common sense approach in unravelling Giffey's private and public affairs, resulting in a well-paced, informative, and delightful read. I recommend it."

4**** Reviewed on behalf of The Review Board by Harmony Kent.

I received a mobi copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

This book is written well, and it is clear that the author has undertaken meticulous research. The life of Brian Giffey is chronicled in its entirety, including his service in the British forces, his becoming an agent for MI6, his many affairs and eventual falling head over heels in love with a young Estonian girl. Kim Philby used to be a British Secret Service agent, who subsequently defected to Russia, taking a lot of secrets and sensitive information with him. Brian Giffey knew Kim Philby, and was apparently deeply affected by his defection.

The author, in her research, appears to have been faced with missing diaries, papers, and information, but does a sterling job of piecing together this interesting life. The material is presented in a linear, orderly, and easy to follow manner, and plenty of references are given. This biographical account gives the reader a glimpse into old empire, life and service through both World Wars, and on into the Cold War years. The book contains direct excerpts and quotes from both Brian Giffey’s personal documents, including his poetry, and from accounts of those who knew him.
If you are interested in non-fiction biographies, and history, then you are likely to find this an intriguing read. It has a scholarly feel to it, and contains a wealth of information, and would be suitable for use as a research reference in its own right. I award a solid 8 out of 10 TRB stars, which equates to 4 out of 5 stars on other rating scales."

5***** Towards the end of her book, the author states, " all about human beings." I personally cannot think of a better way to truly understand events in a historical context than through the recollections of someone who lived through them. And Brian Giffey, who worked as a covert government agent at a particularly volatile time in history, certainly lived an extraordinary life.

The author does an excellent job of piecing together personal, and sometimes fragmented, information to weave a fascinating narrative full of love, strife, cultural and political observations and above all, human connection. I would recommend this book to those interested in history or the secret service, but would also urge anyone who enjoys a good story from a uniquely human perspective to buy this book. You won't regret it."

Author of Portrait of a Secret Agent!

Biography Of Author Tina Tamman!

I was aged 26 when I arrived in England from Soviet Estonia. Everything was new to me on arrival, from wrapped bread and mail-order catalogues to cheques in the post. I was, however, often asked how I got out of the Soviet Union and sometimes, when I was bored with the question, I said I was a spy. Several years later I found myself working at BBC Monitoring, amused to hear that the Soviets used to call it a spy centre. However, all we did was to listen to foreign radio and TV broadcasts (in my case Estonian Radio in both Estonian and Russian).
Intelligence began to interest me seriously when I was researching the life of an Estonian diplomat for my PhD. It appeared that this diplomat, August Torma, who found himself stranded in London in 1940 once the Soviets had overran his country, had links with intelligence. Research into Torma led me to Brian Giffey whom Torma knew and who was indeed a British intelligence officer. I was pleased to publish the biographies of both of these interesting men.
In the process I have grown to love archival research and shaping what I have learnt into chapters for a book. Not that different from my work at Monitoring where it was similarly important to distinguish between the important and unimportant.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


GOSH COMICS in London have the talented JESSICA MARTIN giving a talk on Saturday 19th September from 7.30pm! 
I can't wait! 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


This is a book about belonging, loyalty and identity – a biography of a secret agent called Brian Giffey who wrongly believed that he was Welsh, but his mother was actually Canadian and his father German. Born illegitimate as Otto Chester Kurt Brian Petersen in London in 1887, he was brought up in Germany. On his return to Britain he obtained a degree from Oxford and, with the help of an unscrupulous lawyer, a military career became possible. Brian joined the Worcestershire Regiment in 1911. His intelligence career with MI6 started in 1928; he served in Tallinn, London and Baghdad. In 1944, however, he was mysteriously dismissed from the secret service, but in post-war years he represented Britain in Berlin on the denazification committee and, back in London, worked for the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.

Brian was a specialist in Soviet affairs who knew the notorious Kim Philby. His biography helps us to understand how the Soviets used the information obtained for them by Philby. 

The book is also relevant today as Russia flexes its muscles. What happened in Crimea in 2014 is reminiscent of the annexation of Estonia in 1939-40 experienced first-hand by Brian.

The book is also an unusual and moving love story. How was it possible for this middle-aged womaniser to fall in love with an inexperienced and immature Estonian girl to whom he remained faithful for the rest of his life?

The link to download the PORTRAIT OF A SECRET AGENT is below!