Nadine Akkerman, Pete Langman


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Yale University Press
25 June 2024
ISBN: 9780300267549
368 pages

From the publisher

A fascinating exploration of the devious tricks and ingenious tools used by early modern spies—from ciphers to counterfeiting, invisible inks to assassination
Early modern Europe was a hotbed of espionage, where spies, spy-catchers, and conspirators pitted their wits against each other in deadly games of hide and seek. Theirs was a dangerous trade—only those who mastered the latest techniques would survive.
In this engaging, accessible account, Nadine Akkerman and Pete Langman explore the methods spies actually used in the period, including disguises, invisible inks, and even poisons. Drawing on a vast array of archival sources, they show how understanding the tricks and tools of espionage allows us to re-imagine well-known stories such as the Babington and Gunpowder plots. Exposing the murky world of spies, they demonstrate how the technological innovations of petty criminals, secretaries, and other hitherto invisible actors shaped the fate of some of history’s most iconic figures.
Spycraft explains how early modern spies sought to protect their own secrets while exposing those of their enemies, showing the reader how to follow in their footsteps.