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The Eagle in the Mirror

In search of Australian War Hero, Master Spy and Alleged Traitor,

Charles Howard ‘Dick’ Ellis


Jesse Fink

Melbourne, VIC: Viking, 2023

Paperback ‎     352pp      RRP: $34.99


Reviewer: Adrian Catt, March 2024


This is the most detailed and debated account of a ‘spy-master’ you are ever likely to find in the public-domain: a biographic and forensic exposé of Australian born Charles ‘Dick’ Ellis, a war hero, ‘ghost’ and alleged traitor; all as stated on the jacket of this intriguing book.

Comprehensive coverage by the author of the ‘Dick’ Ellis story will have your head in a spin and flat-out seeking to sift fact from fiction, only to realise that a significant part of Ellis’ life is cloaked in secrecy, speculation and supposition, owing to the nature of his significant entrenchment in a career of intelligence and counter-espionage.

Ellis’ story is made clear to the reader only to the extent of the author’s research and reasoning, which may be hampered somewhat by the public façade of ‘mirrors’ around the actual truth, lies, and counter-claims made by a myriad of rogue spies and enemies vs loyal supporters of Ellis.

YES, Ellis had both detractors and supporters as Fink reveals, and a great number of colleagues who were ‘undecided’. This came about because Ellis is alleged to have assisted the Nazis prior to and early into World War II, leading to suspicion that he had then been compromised by the Russians too.

Was Ellis a Russian mole? You’ll need to read and evaluate the facts, circumstantial evidence, theories, and contention as to Ellis’ loyalties put forward by author Fink.

A very serious book, dealing with serious people, within serious organisations, dealing with most serious business; the hidden world of ‘mirrors’ within the game of espionage.

Is this book fact or fiction?  Read it, regardless.



The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.

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