Marie Claire Australia

THE secret LIFE OF A CIA AGENT

It’s the day after Christmas, 1988, when eight-year-old Amaryllis Fox receives news that will change her life forever. Her best friend Laura has been killed while flying home to London with her entire family – from grandmother to infant brother – on the Pan Am flight bombed by Libyan terrorists over Scotland. Fox vividly remembers her mum sitting her down to tell her that Laura is dead. “I fall quiet for long periods. I feel like my head is full of cotton. Feel sleepy and mute and numb,” Fox writes in her memoir Life Undercover.

Fox’s dad, who is American, teaches her to read British newspaper The Times, telling her she needs to understand the forces that took Laura. “It will seem less scary if you do,” he says. And so, still eight, Fox becomes acquainted with Gaddafi, Thatcher, Reagan and Gorbachev. She is transfixed by images of a solitary student, standing his ground in front of a line of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square, and footage of the Berlin Wall crumbling.

Laura’s death isn’t the only time Fox’s life is touched by terrorism. In January 2002, while she’s studying at

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