The Lion and the Fox: Two Rival Spies and the Secret Plot to Build a Confederate Navy
In 1861, soon after the outbreak of the Civil War, two secret agents—one a Confederate, the other his Union rival—were dispatched to neutral Britain, each entrusted with a vital mission.
The South’s James Bulloch, charming and devious, was to acquire a cutting-edge clandestine fleet intended to break President Lincoln’s blockade of Confederate ports, sink Northern merchant vessels, and drown the U.S. Navy’s mightiest ships at sea. The profits from gunrunning and smuggling cotton—Dixie’s notorious “white gold”—would finance the scheme. Opposing him was Thomas Dudley, a resolute Quaker lawyer and abolitionist. He was determined to stop Bulloch by any means necessary in a spy-versus-spy game of move and countermove, gambit and sacrifice, intrigue and betrayal. If Dudley failed, Britain would ally with the South and imperil a Northern victory. The battleground was the Dickensian port of Liverpool, whose dockyards built more ships each year than the rest of the world combined, whose warehouses stored more cotton than anywhere else on earth, and whose merchant princes, said one observer, were “addicted to Southern proclivities, foreign slave trade, and domestic bribery.”
From master of historical espionage Alexander Rose, The Lion and the Fox is the astonishing, untold tale of two implacable foes and their twilight struggle for the highest stakes.
[Added May 04, 2023]
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Alexander Rose is the author of Washington’s Spies (the basis for the AMC drama series, Turn: Washington’s Spies, on which he served as a writer/producer), Empires of the Sky, Men of War, and several other nonfiction books. His latest is The Lion and the Fox, and he’s currently working on his seventh book—about a World War Two spymaster and a rogue Navy captain who together audaciously sought to capture a U-boat. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2020 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He writes the free historical-intelligence newsletter, Spionage, at Substack.