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Summary

In Thatcher's Spy, the Cold War meets Northern Ireland's Dirty War in the remarkable real-life story of a deep under-cover British intelligence agent, a man now doomed forever to look over his shoulder.

In March 1985, as he climbed the six steps of Margaret Thatcher's prime-ministerial jet on the runway of RAF Aldergrove, little did Willie Carlin know the role Freddie Scappaticci played in saving his life. 

So began the dramatic extraction of Margaret Thatcher's key undercover agent in Sinn Féin. For 11 years, Willie Carlin worked alongside IRA commander Martin McGuinness in the republican movement's political wing in Derry. 

He was MI5's man at McGuinness' side and gave the British State unprecedented insight into the IRA leader's strategic thinking. When Carlin's cover was blown in 1985, Thatcher authorised the use of her jet to whisk him to safety. Incredibly, it was another British spy inside the IRA's secretive counter-intelligence unit, the 'nuttin' squad', who saved Carlin's life. This is his story.

©2019 Willie Carlin (P)2019 W. F. Howes

What listeners say about Thatcher's Spy

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Hard to Listen to

I find the majority of this story to be just that a story. I’ve no doubt that the guy was an informer however he was just that he was not an undercover agent but at best an paid asset. He uses historic incidents to base his alleged activities around and provide some credos to it. Not for one minute do I believe a ministerial jet was out at his disposal. I also agree with other reviewers the narrator needs to be briefed on the military terminology. Very poor.

17 people found this helpful

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clarification of British military terms is needed

The rank of Lieutenant in all British Forces is pronounced Leftenant. And Corp or Corps is pronounced Core.
some of the editing made the narrative sound very clipped and almost robotic.

14 people found this helpful

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Can't get past the shocking narration

The narration is dreadful. Please choose a professional narrator rather than a bloke off the street. Very poor indeed.

11 people found this helpful

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Not a great read or listen

Not a great read, it starts of ok but then follows a leftest conspiracy theorist agenda.

7 people found this helpful

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Terrible narration

Tried to listen to this, didn't get by chapter 1, Betty hare to listen to the reader, it's as if he's reading this for the first time, too many pauses in incorrect places.

Disappointed, will be returning book 😔

6 people found this helpful

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Narrator is shocking

struggled to listen to this, the fella narrating is really hard to listen to, he stops halfway through a sentence like he's forgotten the next word, this is every 30s or so, apart from that it's a decent book, wish I had of bought a hard copy and saved myself listening to this idiot.

5 people found this helpful

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More arrogance than insight

Very long chapters and much self-admiration. There were some unforced errors in the narration: other reviewers have refered to the pronunciation of Corps but also the Irish is badly butchered. The best one though was "omnibusman" for ombudsman. Errors aside, I enjoyed the narration overall -- more than the story.

4 people found this helpful

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THE worst narration ever.

A promising story ruined by a narrator that seems to have trouble reading and pronouncing standard English.
Hesitating, pointless pauses and the inability to say even 'nuclear' correctly.
A terrible listen.

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Poor narration

unfortunately I couldn't listen to this due to the extremely poor narration which was such a distraction to the story.

1 person found this helpful

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A sad story

Very interesting and connected in many ways to other spy books of the same era. Finished the book feeing very sorry for Willie and hope the rest of his life improves.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-05-21

Fascinating insight into a Spy's motivations

Willie Carlin has lead a fascinating and no doubt historic and meaningful life, especially in regard to his influence on Northern Irish politics. Taken at face value, his stated motivation to subvert the violence of the Troubles was a noble struggle, but while he may have affected the overall situation for the better it also clearly has come at enormous personal cost. Willie's is a tale that rewards patience in allowing it to unfurl and is thoughtful and introspective in its dissection of the political and military aims of the combatants. His is a story that necessarily makes one at least consider, if not reconsider, their own presumptions & notions about the era. There are points where one wishes they could question Willie a bit farther here and there, on various points and viewpoints, just to understand that much better. The narration is decently done and delivered in authentic Northern Irish brogue; I thought until the end it had been Willie himself reading aloud and that's a credit to the audiobook, I think. You can't help but feel uncertain that Willie may not deserve some of the misfortune befallen him for his betrayal of comrades, though he swears it was for a higher moral purpose. But then you getvthe impression at times that Willie knows that, too. His is a story that should be acknowledged and considered by any students of the Troubles and an exceptional digression into the lifestyle and varied motivations of Intelligence operatives.

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  • Scott K.
  • 07-05-22

This is one of my top five non-fiction spy stories, and my number one IRA-Britain Spy Story.

One reader said this book was “too dark” and so he won’t read anymore on this subject. I’ve read them all, and rather than “dark” it’s TRUE. Many people see the Truth as dark, but the Truth is also Light. With the Light of Truth, we see the dark details AND the redemption, courage, bravery and so many virtues that are born out of that “darkness.” People are afraid of the Truth, because it hurts and dis-illusions them. Too bad, grow up, the world is dark and needs men of virtue to lead us out of that darkness. Too many American men are emasculated by material and power, but are secret cowards. 10% of Americans read one nonfiction book each year. I’ve read 800 over 10 years on audible. The works is dark because men are dark. This book inspired me because there was darkness on each side, and he refused to stand on either side, instead he stood on the narrow way, the razors edge, which takes other worldly commitment. Well done Mr. Carlin, with the book and your life. You’ve suffered surely, but you made the world a better place for others. Cheers! Scott Kennedy

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  • KCPD
  • 18-02-22

A Dark Story

This is the second book I've read about the IRA and it will probably be the last. There's something dark and extremely disturbing about the IRA and how they operated. I can't recall a topic that left me as depressed as this.

Willie Carlin is interesting, but certainly has divided loyalties. I would have liked to have had more insight into what was motivating him, but I was also left with the impression that he didn't fully understand what it was.

The book offers an interesting perspective on the IRA and the Troubles, though it's obviously only a small piece of a much larger story. Another excellent book on the topic is "Tell No One."