Ely author’s new book explores secret life of notorious spy

Jeremy Dronfield

Jeremy Dronfield - Credit: Archant

A writer from Ely has co-authored a new book which explores the life, loves and lies of a secret agent who spied for both the British and Russians.

Jeremy Dronfield worked with fellow author Deborah McDonald on A Very Dangerous Woman – a book which explores the life of Baroness Moura Budberg and her work as a spy in the years following the Russian revolution.

In January 1918, the British adventurer, diplomat and secret agent Robert Bruce Lockhart arrived in Revolutionary Russia. His official mission was to act as Britain’s envoy to the new Bolshevik government.

He soon got to know the aristocratic socialite and notorious seductress Baroness Budberg. The two fell in love and began a passionate affair.

But what Lockhart didn’t know was that Moura was spying on him for the Bolsheviks. And what Moura didn’t know was that as Lockhart’s plot unravelled and he was seized she would sell herself to save him from the firing squad.

Fleeing to England, what followed was a life of exile, a string of new lovers –including Maxim Gorky and HG Wells – and playing off the Russian and British governments as she spied for both.

McDonald and Dronfield’s retelling of Baroness Budberg’s life is available in shops and online priced at £20.