From the far-flung battlefields of Europe and Asia to the famous naval encounters on the high seas, the global conflict between Britain and Revolutionary France has long captured the popular imagination. What has been lost to history, however, is that behind the curtain of political show and public perception, a parallel shadow war was being waged to overthrow the French Republic and restore the Bourbons to the throne.
Using contemporary letters, journals and secret police reports, this book tells the history of Britain's secret war and the remarkable cast of characters who staked their lives in its prosecution. They included the forgotten fathers of British intelligence, William Wickham, Admiral Sir William Sidney Smith and his tragic friend, Commander John Wesley Wright; the republican general turned British agent Charles Pichegru; his former friend, General Victor Moreau; and the infamous Chouan leader, Georges Cadoudal.
The Great Conspiracy is a tale of secret agents and secret police, dissident generals and recalcitrant sailors. Through the cloak-and-dagger story of diplomatic missions and political intrigue, state prisoners and state murders, this book offers a new interpretation of an important episode in history, showing for the first time how France's knowledge of British espionage influenced her foreign policy, diplomatic relations and treatment of prisoners of war and political opponents.
Having studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Hull and obtaining an MA in historical research from the University of Leeds, Carlos de la Huerta's research for his PhD has concentrated on the activities of the British secret service against Revolutionary France.