According to the book's author, BBC journalist Mark Urban, the book is based on his hours-long interviews with Skripal recorded last year, well before the Salisbury incident.
The journalist claimed that he had been initially planning to write a book about spying in the post-Cold War period but the incident in Salisbury made him publish a separate piece on Skripal. The extract from the book, published in Daily Mail, is accompanied by Skripal’s multiple family photos.
The book claims that a MI6 agent, referred to as Richard Bagnall, met with Skripal in Madrid in the 1990-s and, after a while, offered him to work for the UK intelligence. Skripal allegedly received a few thousand dollars for each meeting.
Since that, the journalist claims, Skripal twice transferred information in invisible ink. The first one was a Russian novel purportedly handed by Skripal’s wife Liudmila to Bagnall as a "gift" in 1997, while she was on holiday with daughter Yulia in Spain’s Alicante. The woman was unaware of the contents of the book, Skripal allegedly told the interviewer.
Next year, information was transferred by the same way by Liudmila during their holiday to another Spanish resort of Malaga.
In early March, Skripal and his daughter Yulia were said to have been poisoned in Salisbury. The United Kingdom accuses Moscow of having orchestrated the attack with what the UK experts claim was the A234 nerve agent, which Moscow firmly refutes.