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'Invisible agents' by Nadine Akkerman most discussed book at Hay Festival

University Lecturer Nadine Akkerman concluded her book tour for her book 'Invisible Agents' in England at the Hay Festival. At the festival, attended by almost four thousand people, Invisible Agents was one of the most discussed books and caught the attention of the national newspaper and The Times.

The allegedly male world of the spy was more than merely infiltrated by women. This compelling and groundbreaking contribution to the history of espionage details a series of case studies in which women – from playwright to postmistress, from lady-in-waiting to laundry woman – acted as spies, sourcing and passing on confidential information. They acted out of political and religious conviction or to obtain money or power. Akkerman reveals the special roles of Royalist and Parliamentarian ‘she-intelligencers’ and their hidden world.

There were secret messages hidden in eggs, invisible ink made from urine and semen, and paper messages folded in such ways as to identify the sender. The hidden networks of female Royalist spies during the Civil War and their methods of communicating in Oliver Cromwell’s England have been brought partially into the light. Nadine Akkerman, author of the academic history Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain, said that the role of the “she-intelligencers” had been hidden from history despite the crucial role they played.

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