Pan Macmillan has acquired a biography of the first woman to work as a British secret agent in the Second World War, outbidding Penguin at auction.
Editorial director Georgina Morley bought UK and British Commonwealth (excluding Canada) rights to The Spy Who Loved by Clare Mulley through Andrew Lownie.
The book tells the life of Christine Granville, the inspiration for Vesper Lynd in Ian Fleming's Casino Royale and reputed to be Winston Churchill's favourite spy.
Polish-born Granville, whose real name was Krystyna Skarbek, initially acted as a spy in Warsaw, aiding the Polish resistance, after volunteering as a spy in London and skiing into Poland from Hungary over the Tatra mountain range.
Morley described the book as "a wonderful tale of a fascinating, difficult and enormously courageous woman, whose lovelife was every bit as colourful as her heroic acts of espionage."
Mulley's first book was a biography of Eglantyne Jebb, founder of Save the Children, which won the Biographers Club Prize in 2007.
Macmillan plans to publish in 2012.