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 critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic in 2014. The sequel, One Man’s Flag was published in 2015.


Spring 1915: World War One rages across Europe, and the British Empire is assailed on all fronts—domestic and abroad. Amidst this bloodbath of nations, where one man’s flag is another man’s shroud, a British spy is asked to do the impossible: seduce and betray the woman he loves, again. Only this time betrayal is a two-way street.

Jack McColl, a spy for His Majesty’s Secret Service, is stationed in India, charged with defending the Empire against Bengali terrorists and their German allies. Belgium, he finds, is not the only country seeking to expel an invader.

In England, meanwhile, suffragette journalist Caitlin Hanley begins the business of rebuilding her life after the execution of her brother—an IRA sympathizer whose terrorist plot was foiled by Caitlin’s own ex-lover, the very same Jack McColl. The war is changing everything and giving fresh impulse to those causes—feminism, socialism and Irish independence—which she as a journalist has long supported.

The threat of a Rising in Dublin alarms McColl’s bosses as much as it dazzles Caitlin. If another Irish plot brings them back together, will it be as enemies or lovers?

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 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).