Russian RouletteTerrific presentation from Giles Milton yesterday at the Sherborne Literary Festival. Hugely enjoyable, informative and revelatory – from the role of a British secret agent in the asssination of Rasputin (Giles has the picture to prove it!), to the eccentric foibles of the original ‘M’ (actually ‘C’ – Sir George Mansfield Smith-Cumming – complete with monocle and wooden leg), to the use of chemical weapons against the Bolsheviks, this was an immensely entertaining and interesting talk, one that left me itching to read his latest book. …And I got the opportunity to thank him for his wonderful Big Chief Elizabeth which was such a help to me in writing The Lost Duchess. Not many historians have the ability to present material in such a gripping, punchy and captivating way – but Giles is a master.


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