This is a remarkable tale of a remarkable man who went by several names, trained in espionage by the brother of the celebrated writer Ian Fleming and who undertook among other things the safe keeping and travels of Bose as a fugitive. The life of Bhagat Ram Talwar, alias Silver is a story that is incredible and mysterious even as it is formed and sculpted by extraordinary macro-political events that the second great war and the new balance of power accompanying the rise of the Axis powers and of the Soviet Union came to embody. The book is as much the wondrous tale of an unlikely spy figure as it is of the turbulent events of the 40s associated with war time diplomacy, socialist and nationalist aspirations that made possible an incredible network of espionage, gun running and information gathering. It is to the author’s credit that he has mined an extraordinary volume of archival material to tell a compelling story that is not simply gripping but presents aspects of the history of the war that have remained obscure. Its only drawback is that it is overwritten and dense, a quality that occasionally makes it impossible for the reader to quite tether Silver the spy in his/her impressions.
December 2017, volume 41, No 12