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Soldier Spy

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  2,180 ratings  ·  171 reviews

Soldier Spy is the first true story told by an MI5 officer. A shocking, honest account revealing never-before-seen detail into MI5's operation.

'I do it because it is all I know.
I'm a hunter of people and I'm damn good at it.'

Bestselling author Tom Marcus is the first MI5 officer to tell the true story of British counter terrorism operations on our streets. Recruite

Kindle Edition, 326 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Penguin
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,180 ratings  ·  171 reviews

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sean murray
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Thank you

This is not a review but a sincere thank you to Mr Marcus for your professionalism & dedication along with all the other members of the UK security services that help to keep these sacred isles safe & free.
This is a book I thought I would not see in print for many years yet. It is a part biography and part operational exposé of a young man working for the Security Service (that’s MI5 to most of us) in contemporary Britain. It discloses many techniques they use to monitor, track, follow and stop potential terrorists in their tracks, whether they be in the IRA with the desire to see a united Ireland or self-radicalised Islamic extremists bent on the destruction of the whole structure of Western soci ...more
Oct 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom Marcus grew up on the street, which gave him a unique skill set of survival. He then joined the army, then he was recruited by special forces and finally MI5.

Tom (aka TC) has issues, you can tell that from the outset. He doesn’t realise how tightly wound he is and all he can think about is two things. Work and family. There is no inbetween for TC and that makes this book a rollercoaster thriller.

I couldn’t put this book down, it’s genuinely on the edge of your seat stuff, the way he recall
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not the most well written book and the author seems to have a thing against educated people. Other than that, this book is such an eye opener and has given me confidence in our country's ability to protect our citizen. Bravo to you , the men and women who constantly observe.
Also - Best closing paragraph of a book I've read in a while. #godblessMI5
DNF. This is less a detailed insight into the inner workings of MI5 and more an ego-stroking exercise for the author. Not my cup of tea at all.
Phil Byrne
Jun 06, 2017 rated it did not like it
This guy would bore the pants off you at a dinner party.
What an ego maniac. A low level surveillance operative telling us how he has saved us from the bad guys in this terribly written repetitive yawn fest.
I normally love these type of true crime under cover books, but Tom Marcus cant stop telling us what an amazing guy he is on so many levels. Here is a quote from his book so you can judge for yourself
"I was the person who hunted the scum of the earth and was ready to eat their faces off if the
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Some moments of greatness, with neat insight into the training of MI5 operatives. Offers an insiders look, which I found intriguing, but it was the voice of the book that killed it for me. Came across as downright horrible to the other law enforcement agencies operating in London..
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and gripping read. If you're interested in how the UK is kept safe then this is for you. Not normally my kind of book but I could not put this down. Hope there are further from "Tom".
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it

This is reportedly the first biography to be penned by a former MI5 surveillance officer. It's been vetted by the Security Service who gave it their blessing, so I guess no secrets have been divulged. That said there's much here that in the context is surprising, the Security Service not always coming off well.

Tom (not his real name) was unusual in that he was recruited direct from army special forces - the unit is not divulged but one gets the impression that it was not the SAS but some type of
A Severs
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A gripping tale of one MI5 surveillance operative's experiences whilst averting atrocities.

Reading this I was awed by how much is going on all around us that we just have no clue about.

The book takes a turn and becomes an emotional exploration of PTSD, mental wellbeing and anxiety.

It's not that well written but it's honest, from the heart and if it had been written in any other way it just wouldn't have conveyed the character of Tom Marcus correctly.
Geoff Smith
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs, crime
TC is a surveillance operative for MI5. He grew up 'on the streets' they're 'his streets' and he's at home there. Here he tells the story of his time with MI5 from recruitment to premature retirement.

The book has been read and agreed by MI5 and this may have affected the content that TC was able to include. There's a bunch of different stories here, and TC is very open... about his lack of openness, and he's right there's not a lot of a real man in the book, and a lot of macho posturing and toug
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a supermarket impulse buy, not my usual fayre, and to be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the author as a person, or of his narrative style. May be just naive, but things seemed a little over exaggerated at times.
Dec 19, 2017 rated it did not like it
What a appalling load of self-serving tripe. This guy is SO full of himself it’s utterly untrue. How ridiculous, dishonest and disrespectful this ‘story’ is. An ‘exposé’ of his ego rather than the stories behind what our intelligence services largely do on our behalf. His attitude to other services and to his hierarchy tells you all you need to know about this Walter Mitty character; I’m glad I’ll never have to serve with him and rely on him to do anything other than serve his next ego trip. He ...more
Vikas Datta
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Engrossing and visceral..
Dante Gallo
Apr 04, 2017 rated it liked it
One thing you need to remember whilst reading this book is that it's a biography, as opposed to a fiction story... And what happens when you combine a biography with government vetting? Three stars, that's what you get.

'Soldier Spy' is supposedly the real life account of various operations carried out by a surveillance officer in MI5, spanning from the covert surveillance of Muslim extremists to Russian spies. Our narrator, who is predominantly referred to as "TC", is a bit of a brash fellow who
W.H. Brown
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating account of the operations on UK streets by MI5 operatives, in so much detail that you feel like you're actually there, but also an unflinching account fo the toll this kind of work takes on even the ablest of operatives after a while.

A much more visceral account than most contemporary espionage fiction writes would have us believe!
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Jim Dennison
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ISIS, IRA, Russian Industrial espionage ... and post-traumatic stress disorder. It's all here in Marcus' account of being an MI5 operative on the ground providing 24-hour surveillance of those who wish to see the demise of Great Britain. Interesting and draws you right in. Huge respect to the sacrifice these guys make ... for relatively little pay ... the real 'James Bond' s - less glamorous but effective
Sabrina Stobbs
I've only rated this as 3 stars because in large parts it was difficult not to give up on it! There was about a third of the book that was purely call signs zero three oscar do you copy over! Etc! Which was simply boring to read and sometimes went on for the most of four pages at a time.
The chapters didn't seem to have an end and then the next one was straight into something else. The book just didn't flow at all.
On the positive though it's clear tom Marcus has an excellent sense of humour and
Feb 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
I managed to get to page 90 before having to stop reading this book which I feel is an achievement in itself. If this is a non-fiction book about covert surveillance then the movie 'Shooter' must be a documentary about an operational Force Recon sniper!!! I think the worst thing about this book is that people will think it's all true. There's a reason the Security Service have allowed this book to be published, Lord of the Rings is more factual than this tripe.
Yanny Lung
Jan 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Only read 3 chapters of the book so far and honestly have no motivation to continue - although the book can be forgiven for not being written as sophisticatedly as others, the tone of the narrator Tom is very off-putting. Arrogance, overconfidence, egotistical and discriminating are just some of the words which begin to describe this character. He seems to think all others are inferior, including the other comrades of MI5 as he is seen exclaiming "I am the only option." Quite disrespectful, not ...more
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017
Found this book interesting in terms of the insights it gives into intelligence operations. However, I couldn't stand how full of himself the author seems to be. At times I felt he was living on another planet where he was some sort of lone wolf action man. He was the hero at every turn and it didn't seem to matter how much danger he put his team in through taking stupid risks. I found him really really annoying and his descriptions of "banter" such as taking the piss out of colleagues' mum's, d ...more
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book certainly gives food for thoughts.
It is unique in its genre and certainly the first and only I've ever read on this topic.

Some people complained it feels "too vetted" at times, others that it does not really tell the whole story. What I personally found was a lot more information and insights than I would expect from a book about one of the best kept secrets in the world: what goes on in MI5's daily life.

With a honesty often disarming, perhaps supported by the shelter offered by the an
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Over the course of my reading I have from time to time found myself diving into the fictional world of my countries spy's, They have been stories I have enjoyed greatly, but each time I have been left wondering how close to the real world they get. So while looking for something new to read I came across Tom Marcus's book in the nonfiction section, I felt the time was right to answer this question.

It doesn't take long with this book to realize that the harsh realities of the intelligence worl
With the state of the world today and the continuing threat of terrorism and religious hate crimes it is easy to point the finger and place the blame. I myself am guilty of this. The amount of times I read that foreign individuals have committed harm to British people, raping little girls, beheading women and men, desecrating our Christian statues and our monuments to the dead, and sadly most of these individuals are Islamic extremists. It is a sorry state of affairs, the world has gone mad and ...more
Andy Walker
Soldier Spy is not the kind of book I would normally buy. I picked it up from a train station shop when I’d finished the book I was reading and needed another to see me through a train journey. I chose it because I’ve always had a passing interest in spy related stuff and the cover’s description of the book offering “an explosive, blistering, first-hand account” of the war being waged by MI5 to keep us safe promised a fast-paced account which would keep the reader hooked.

Sadly and disappointing
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book describes the working life of 'TC' within MI5, how he got to be apart of Mi5 and the different types of Operations he has been involved in and how his life experiences shaped him into the person he was.

'Soldier Spy' is not the typical genre that i usually like to read, but this book has changed my perception of this Genre and i want to read more. As this book was non-fiction and based in England, it was surreal and hooking to read about operations and targets that 'TC' and his team ha
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is not normally the sort of book I read but I saw a clip of 'Tom Marcus' on the news and his story sounded fascinating, so I thought I'd give this memoir a go. Tom had a rough upbringing, essentially a street kid, he couldn't join the army quick enough to escape. Once in the army, he moves into doing secret work in Ireland, from there he is recruited into MI5, as an operator (what most people would think of as a spy). The news stories I saw pretty much summarised the entire book, so I knew ...more
Joanne Parkington
Sep 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Whether you take this book at face value or with a pinch of salt either way it’s an entertaining read. The main problem for me was that ‘Tom Marcus’ simply isn’t a very likeable man. Brave, intelligent, highly skilled & very patriotic he may be but he’s also a contradiction with a God Complex .. a walking conundrum with a high maintenance ego. Along with the best of the best every ten minutes he also states ‘family mattered to me more than anything’ or words to that effect in nearly every ch ...more
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Tom Marcus, former MI5, grew up on the streets in the North of England. He joined the Army at sixteen and went on to became the youngest member of the Armed Forces to pass the 6-month selection process for Special Operations in Northern Ireland.

He was hand picked from the Army into MI5 as a Surveillance Officer. He left the Security Service recently after a decade on the frontline protecting his c
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“You kill the problem not yourself (112)” 1 likes
“You can't do good without doing a little bit of bad (225)” 1 likes
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