John Banville, The Untouchable (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997).
On the copyright page of John Banville's The Untouchable, its American publisher provides the requisite "Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data" as follows: "Espionage, Soviet--Great Britain--History--Twentieth century--Fiction." The book is a novel, one of several by Mr. Banville, and yet as Knopf's classification suggests (and as it seems, in keeping with the literary rage these days), it is not to be taken as a novel only. For the book purports to be a first-person memoir by an aging gentleman who is beyond any doubt the late Anthony Blunt, prestigious British art historian, familiar at Windsor Castle, one-time official of the British counter-intelligence service, receiver of a knighthood, pederast, and Soviet spy.
In the novel, Blunt's name is Victor Maskell, and to be sure, some elements of his story are fictional. Maskell is, for instance, Irish. He marries and fathers two children, which as far as the world knows Blunt never did, and he provides an account of his homosexual deflowering, so to speak, followed by various sordid sexual escapades that are, as applied to the real Blunt, not necessarily unconvincing yet merely suppositious. But for the rest, Banville is at little pains to disguise who his hero and his hero's friends and associates are intended to be, particularly Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, who along with Kim Philby and, many years later, Blunt himself, were to be exposed as having been long-time Soviet espionage agents.