"British spies are back this month. Of course they never went away. The shadowy world of MI5 and MI6 is rarely more than a microdot's distance from everyday life, especially if you live in London, the world capital of the surveillance state, and mise en scene for the popular BBC drama, Spooks. It's tempting to confuse spy fiction with real life, especially as its traditions and antecedents are so mixed up with the history of the secret state in the 20th century. But there is a difference, and here's one guide to the nine lives of the British spy, from the beginning of the 20th century – arguably, the source of the modern spy story – to the present:"