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A Very Expensive Poison

Luke Harding

The shocking true story of the Litvinenko poisoning, told by the author of The Snowden Files and Wikileaks.

Date Published
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1st November 2006: Alexander Litvinenko is brazenly poisoned in central London. Twenty-two days later he dies, killed from the inside by Polonium – a rare, lethal and highly radioactive substance. His crime? He had made some powerful enemies in Russia.

This is the inside story of the life and death of Litvinenko and of Russia’s new cold war with the west. Harding traces the journey of the nuclear poison across London, from hotel room to nightclub, assassin to victim. It’s a deadly trail that leads back to Vladimir Putin, and to a regime exposed by the Panama Papers.

Luke Harding’s investigation into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, A Very Expensive Poison, may also help us shed light on the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. From the author of the No.1 New York Times bestseller Collusion.

Critic Reviews

An expert chronicle of a sensational but opaque crime, and of the terrifying lawlessness it epitomised. Enthralling.

A.D. Miller, author of Snowdrops
Critic Reviews

This extraordinarily pacy book - I downed it in two sessions - by the Guardian's former Moscow correspondent is one of the best political thrillers I have come across in years. It is also a wonderful guide to criminality and power in today's Russia - Boris Godunov pals up with the Cosa Nostra, as it were.

Evening Standard
Critic Reviews

Harding, a former Moscow correspondent for The Guardian, tells this ghastly tale with real authority, wit and panache ... The book is as "definitive" as it claims, though "national security" means that the MI6 aspect of the story will never emerge. It is not only Russia that needs a change.

The Times
Critic Reviews

Gripping ... Harding doesn't overcook the metaphor, but Mayfair and all it represents is portrayed here as something potentially, maybe inherently toxic. When does a soft power aimed at attracting investment start to undermine real power?

Peter Pomerantsev, London Review of Books
Critic Reviews

Pacy and impassioned ... Harding paints deft portraits of the tragi-comic duo suspected of carrying out the crime.

New Statesman
Critic Reviews

A Very Expensive Poison reads like a John Le Carré spy novel, but shockingly it's all true. Luke Harding has followed the criminality of the Putin regime from Russia to the West and his story leaves us with terrible feeling of dread about what Putin will do next.

Bill Browder, author of Red Notice

Luke Harding is an award-winning foreign correspondent with the Guardian. He has reported from Delhi, Berlin and Moscow and has also covered wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Libya and Syria. Between 2007 and 2011 he was the Guardian’s Moscow bureau chief; the Kremlin expelled him from the country in the first case of its kind since the cold war. He…

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