Luke Harding

A Very Expensive Poison: The Definitive Story of the Murder of Litvinenko and Russia’s War with the West

Saturday 17 September 2016

Luke Harding
A Very Expensive Poison, Luke Harding

In November 2006, Alexander Litvinenko was brazenly poisoned in central London. Twenty two days later, the journalist, Kremlin critic and undercover MI6 spy died, his body destroyed by a lethal and highly radioactive poison called Polonium. His crime was that he’d made some powerful enemies in his homeland.

The inside story of Litvinenko’s life and death, Luke Harding’s A Very Expensive Poison not only traces the poison (seemingly) back to Vladimar Putin but shows how there was corruption and subterfuge at every turn of the investigation. Masterfully narrated with references to the Russian mafia, the KGB, MI6 agents and Russian dissidents, Harding’s research suggests that Litvivenko’s assassination was far from an isolated incident. Instead he argues that it marked the beginning of a decade of geo-political disruptions and Putin’s defiant rejection of a law-based international order.

Luke Harding is a writer and award-winning foreign correspondent with the Guardian. He was the paper’s bureau chief in Moscow between 2007 and 2011. The Kremlin expelled him from the country in the first case of its kind since the Cold War, in part because of his reporting on Litvinenko’s murder. He is the author of The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, Mafia State and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.