Susan Williams

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Spies in the Congo: The Race for the Ore That Built the Atomic Bomb

book | Non-Fiction | 2016
UK & Comm → C Hurst & Co. (Ed. Michael Dwyer)
US & Canada → Public Affairs

Spies in the Congo is the untold story of one of the most tightly-guarded secrets of the Second World War: America's desperate struggle to secure enough uranium to build its atomic bomb. The Shinkolobwe mine in the Belgian Congo was the most important deposit of uranium yet discovered anywhere on earth, vital to the success of the Manhattan Project. Given that Germany was also working on an atomic bomb, it was an urgent priority for the US to prevent uranium from the Congo being diverted to the enemy - a task entrusted to Washington's elite secret intelligence agents. Sent undercover to colonial Africa to track the ore and to hunt Nazi collaborators, their assignment was made even tougher by the complex political reality and by tensions with Belgian and British officials.  

A gripping spy-thriller, Spies in the Congo is the true story of unsung heroism, of the handful of good men -- and one woman -- in Africa who were determined to deny Hitler his bomb.


C Hurst & Co. manages the translation rights for Spies in the Congo: The Race for the Ore That Built the Atomic Bomb

Film Rights


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Audio Rights


The audio rights are handled by Alice Lutyens.


[This] meticulously researched book has shades of Graham Greene, a hint of Conrad, even echoes of Indiana Jones... truly a thriller, in which Williams paints clear and sympathetic pictures of characters thrust into a totally unfamiliar territory.

Richard Norton-Taylor
The Guardian

Williams’s account is nuanced but gripping... [she] does a sterling job of delineating a complicated plot while at the same time giving a clear sense of the characters of the major players.

Benjamin Beasley-Murray

Dogged examination of the official American and British wartime interest in keeping valuable uranium ore from the Belgian Congo out of Nazi hands... The author’s work is chock-full of spies and their fanciful code names as well as insightful accounts of the jealousies between the Americans and British. A fine complement to other accounts of wartime efforts to keep atomic weapons from the Germans.

Kirkus Reviews

Spies in the Congo is an espionage classic. Scrupulously researched, it illuminates a barely-known aspect of arguably the most significant event of the 20th century, giving fresh perspectives.

Vin Arthey
The Scotsman

To have found in the history of the Second World War a million square miles of unfamiliar territory— the Congo— is an achievement in itself. On top of that, her story is thrilling. Even the mundane details are delightful.

Sunday Telegraph

Williams pieces together her history in forensic fashion. The result is a gripping work that uncovers a world long cast in shadow … A little-known story, but one with a terribly familiar ring—and ultimately devastating consequences.

The Economist

Spies in the Congo… unveils for the first time the detailed story of the deep cover race between the Americans and the Nazis to get their hands on the deadliest metal on earth… meticulously-researched and masterfully written… A real-life thriller.

Huffington Post

This is an extraordinary and fascinating story, revealed here with all the detail and pace of a well crafted thriller.

Alexander McCall Smith

Karolina Sutton
+44 (0)20 7393 4428
Email Karolina Sutton