Restless – and its roots in the Cambridge spy ring

An adaptation of the novel Restless will be screened over Christmas. William Boyd reflects on the long shadow cast by Philby, Blunt, Burgess and Maclean

Two sinister figures haunt the world of the 20th century British Secret Intelligence Service – Anthony Blunt and Kim Philby – both notorious traitors and both Soviet double-agents. Though Philby (Westminster and Trinity, Cambridge) was far and away the more successful spy, Blunt (Marlborough and Trinity, Cambridge) is paradoxically the better known today because his denunciation occurred in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher declared to the House of Commons that he had been the so-called "Fourth Man" in the celebrated Cambridge spy ring – Guy Burgess, Donald Maclean, Philby and now Blunt. It was a news explosion, and I remember the occasion well, not just because of the endless images of Blunt's lugubrious, saurian features, nor because of his young acolyte and apologist Brian Sewell's wonderfully retro accent as
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