The Viney Agency


David Downing I grew up in the London suburb of Harrow, then spent four years at Sussex University doing a  BA in Afro-Asian Studies and an MA in International Relations.  Between 1973 and 1976 I worked for one rock magazine and freelanced for several others. In 1974 I travelled overland to India via Iran and Afghanistan.

Between 1975 and 1987 I lived in inner London and my first published book, which grew out of the rock journalism, was Future Rock in 1975.  Since then I have worked as a freelance book writer.  In this period the books mostly alternated between modern culture (rock music and movies) or political/military history, but I also wrote two works of ‘faction’ – the WW2 alternative history The Moscow Option about the forward-looking Russian Revolution 1985.  I made three trips to the Soviet Union.

In 1987 my first real novel – the thriller The Red Eagles - was published in the US.  Over the next six years I was involved in the creation of an environmental centre in north-east London, and undertook two lengthy trips to South and Central America. From 1993 I lived in Boston, Massachusetts with my partner Nancy, who subsequently became my wife.  During five years in America I wrote umpteen SAS/SBS novels for Bloomsbury as David Monnery and a biography of Neil Young.

Since 1998 Nancy and I have lived in Guildford, UK.  I wrote three football books on my return, and then spent several years writing history books for children.  I have written six volumes of the John Russell series of espionage thrillers and a military history, Sealing Their Fate.

David Downing’s Jack of Spies was published to acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 2014. The sequel, One Man’s Flag was published in 2015 with the third volume, Lenin’s Roller Coaster published in 2017.


In Russia the Bolshevik revolution is in full-swing while the supposed Great War is destroying Europe in ways never before imagined. Fulltime lovers and part-time enemies, British spy Jack McColl and progressive American journalist Caitlin Hanley, have seen their relationship survive this far but in a world defined by ''win at all cost'' a ttitudes, how much longer can they hold out?

Winter 1917: As a generation of Europe’s young men perish on the Eastern and Western fronts, British spy Jack McColl is assigned a sabotage mission deep in Central Asia, where German influence is strong. The mission only becomes more dangerous the closer he gets to its heart. Meanwhile, the woman he loves, Irish-American radical journalist Caitlin Hanley, is in Bolshevik Russia, thrilled to have the chance to cover the Revolution. Caitlin knows Moscow is where she is meant to be during this historic event—even if she is putting her own life at risk to bear witness.

But four years of bloody war have taken their toll on all of Europe, and Jack and Caitlin’s relationship may become another casualty. Caitlin’s political convictions have always been for progress, feminism, and socialism—often diametrically opposed to the conservative goals of the British Empire Jack serves. Up until now, Jack and Caitlin have managed to set aside their allegiances and stay faithful to each other, but the stakes of their affair have risen too high. Can a revolutionary love a spy? And if she does, will it cost one of them their life?

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lenin's Roller Coaster, (Soho Crime, 2017); One Man's Flag, (Soho Crime, 2015); Jack of Spies, (Old Street/Soho (US) 2013);  Masaryk Station,  Lehrter Station, (Old Street/ Soho (US), 2012/13); Potsdam Station (Old Street and Soho Press, 2010/11); Sealing Their Fate: Twenty-two Days that Decided the Second World War (Simon & Schuster (UK), Da Capo (US), 2009); Stettin Station (Old Street and Soho Pres(US), 2009/10), Silesian Station (Old Street and Soho Pres (US), 2008), Zoo Station (Old Street and Soho Pres (US), 2007;  Republika, (Poland) English v Argentina (Piatkus, 2003; Emecé, 2006); The Best of Enemies: England v Germany (Bloomsbury, 2000), Passovotchka (Bloomsbury, 1999) – history of 1945 Moscow Dynamo tour of UK, Dreamer of Pictures: Neil Young (Bloomsbury, 1994; Da Capo (US); Rittor (Japan); Goldmann (Germany), The Red Eagles (Macmillan (US), 1987), Robert Mitchum (W.H. Allen, 1985), Marlon Brando (W.H. Allen, 1984; Stein & Day (US)), Jack Nicholson (W.H. Allen, 1983; Stein & Day (US)), Russian Revolution 1985 (New English Library, 1983), Robert Redford (W.H. Allen, 1982; St Martins (US)), Charles Bronson (W.H. Allen, 1982), Atlas of Territorial and Border Disputes (New English Library, 1980), Jane Fonda: All-American Anti-Heroine (Omnibus, 1980) (with Gary Herman), The Moscow Option (New English Library, 1979; St Martins (US); Greenhill, 2002), War without End, Peace without Hope: 30 Years of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (New English Library, 1978) (with Gary Herman), Clint Eastwood: All-American Anti-Hero (Omnibus, 1978) (with Gary Herman), The Devil’s Virtuosos: German Generals at War (New English Library, 1977; St Martins (US); Playboy (US)), Future Rock (Panther, 1976).