Memoirs of a British Agent
By R. H. Bruce Lockhart
When first published in 1934, Memoirs of a British Agent became an immediate classic, both as a unique eyewitness account of Revolutionary Russia and as one man’s vivid story of struggle, excitement and tragedy set against the background of great events.
Scotsman Robert Bruce Lockhart was the British Consul in Moscow when the first Revolution broke out in 1917. Dubbed the “boy Ambassador”, he was just twenty-five at the time. Sent home because of an affair with a married woman – Countess Moura Budberg, the wife of a high ranking Czarist diplomat – he was returned to Russia the following year by then Prime Minister Lloyd George. World War 1 was raging through Europe and Lockhart would be the first British diplomat to negotiate with the Bolshevik regime. His mission was to persuade Russia to remain on the side of the allies against Germany.
It was a dangerous posting. Whitehall could not be seen to support revolutionaries, and Lockhart grew wary of his masters’ secret machinations. He established cordial relations with the new leaders, but they could never quite get over their mistrust of the British. He continued his passionate affair with the glamorous Countess, whom he called the love of his life. And it was in Moscow that he first encountered the legendary spy Sidney Reilly, acknowledged by Ian Fleming as the model for James Bond.
From his evocative descriptions of revolutionary Moscow, where the champagne flowed as the bourgeoisie trembled, to his audiences with Lenin and Trotsky and his brushes with death, this is a gripping account of a life lived in the eye of the storm. A fantastic story as well as a superb record of world-shaking events and personalities, it became an international bestseller on publication.
Memoirs of a British Agent was filmed by Warner Brothers in 1934 as British Agent, starring Leslie Howard as Lockhart and Kay Francis as Moura.