Pan Macmillan is to publish the “definitive account” of the events that led to the poisoning of Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, this autumn.
The publisher signed world rights to The Skripal Files by Mark Urban, diplomatic editor for the BBC's Newsnight, from Jonathan Lloyd at Curtis Brown. Henry Holt will publish in the US, and Droemer Knaur in Germany.
Urban is a veteran reporter on the espionage world, according to the publisher. In 2017, he spoke at length with Skripal, covering his life as a colonel in the Russian military intelligence, his turning to work as an agent for MI6, his arrest and trial in Russia, and the spy swap that brought him to the UK, where he watched relations between Russia and the West deteriorate. Skripal and his daughter Julia were found poisoned in Salisbury in March, victims of the nerve agent Novichok. Earlier this month, local woman Dawn Sturgess died after exposure to the agent, and her boyfriend Charlie Rowley fell critically ill.
"The Skripal Files is the first book to put into context the events of that fateful day last March, after which Sergei and Yulia desperately fought for their lives, having been poisoned by the nerve agent Novichok, and what this case means for the future of the relationship between the West and Russia”, said the publisher. “The book will also tell the story of this new power play, which saw Russian diplomats expelled from embassies across Europe and in the United States and punitive trading embargoes imposed on Russian oligarchs as relations grow increasingly more hostile, reaching the lowest point since the Cold War."