Barclay – Betrayals and Lies

About the Book

Betrayals and Lies: My Parents Were Spies is the intriguing, thrilling, and as-it-happened story of Jim and Alexis Barclay, who found themselves in Venezuela, South America during the most difficult years of World War II. The Barclays had planned a life as missionaries, but the United States government (through President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the United States Office of Strategic Services or OSS), desperately needed American feet on the ground in Venezuela to monitor and fight against the then darkest scourge facing humanity — the Nazis, and their allies in Imperial Japan and Fascist Italy. These Axis powers desperately wanted and needed what neutral Venezuela had in abundance — oil, iron ore, and natural rubber — to run their respective war machinery.

What better cover was there for the United States and the Allied powers from December 1943 through December 1944, than operative spies working as missionaries. And what a potentially corruptive mission for the Barclays — a mission that required lies, cheating, seduction, adultery, killing — and nerves of steel.

There was no spy more qualified and highly effective than the author’s mother Alexis Barclay, who was deeply loved and trusted by both her American husband Jim, and the Nazi Major Jonathan Speer. Based on the diaries of Alexis Barclay.

Reviews of the Book

This book was riveting. I read it in a couple days. It deals with personal and ethical challenges of people who were called to serve God and their country.

A tale of the life, and struggle, of being an unsung hero…

This story takes you on a journey through time, and through the gauntlet of emotions. There are heros and heroines, fighting for their version of what was right against the evils of the time. It is piled high with mystery, romance, and beautiful photography. At times it feels like you should be hiding while you read it so the bad juys won’t know, that you know.

…a book that beckons readers into a world of clandestine intrigue, wartime valor, and familial bonds.

I enjoy biographies and I’m a bit of a history buff as well.  So, when I read, that J.K. Barclay was going to tell me about his missionary parent’s adventures during WWII, I knew then that I was about to have a great read.  I particully liked the way J.K. Barclay’s narrative began with a whisper—a clandestine conversation in a smoke-filled Parisian café. His parents were not ordinary missionaries. Beneath their benevolent façade lay a web of intrigue. They were spies, weaving their way through the labyrinthine alleys of espionage, their love for each other the only constant in a world teetering on the brink of chaos.

As J.K. Barclay recounted their escapades, he stepped out of his role as a mere storyteller. I could almost hear his voice shifting, becoming that of the son—a witness to their courage, their sacrifices, and their unwavering commitment to a cause greater than themselves. He interjected with historical tidbits, painting vivid portraits of wartime Europe—the air thick with tension, the streets echoing with coded messages, and love blossoming amidst the rubble.

Amidst the chaos, love blossomed. His parent’s stolen moments were like fragile petals in a storm. Their clandestine rendezvous in the moonlit gardens of a crumbling château—the scent of roses masking the gunpowder—became the stuff of legend. J J.K. Barclay’s words still echo in my mind: “My parents danced on the precipice of life and death, their love defying borders and bullets.”

Without giving anything away, the book is full of intrigue, romance, and World War II history as seen by secret agents. When you finish the last page of “Betrayals and Lies: My Parents Were Spies; I Never Knew,” it is one of those books that you wish there was more. So, come on Barclay, there must be a sequel. When do you publish?

This is a great book, with insight on what went on in South America to help win the war against the NAZIs. The personal/moral issues in the context of government instructions to help defeat an enemy set on world domination is very much here as missionaries have double lives as effective spies and agents for the OSS. The first time I read it, I went through it in two days on Kindle, then I later read the hard copy more carefully and learned even more.

We have all seen and read many stories about spies during WWII. But this one is fascinating as it is in Venezuela, not Europe. This part of the world’s importance during the war was so interesting to read about. And the “cover” as missionary was brilliant and intriguing to read.

About the Author

J.K. Barclay was born in Portland, Maine, U.S.A. He was adopted at birth, joining his new parents who were living in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Eventually his family also lived in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. J.K. returned to the United States to attend Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and then the University of Illinois’ John Marshall Law School in Chicago. 

After graduation from law school, he worked as an international-law attorney at the prestigious law firm of Baker McKenzie in Chicago. There, he represented Fortune-400 corporate entities doing business in Central and South America, as well as Spain, utilizing his native Portuguese and Spanish language skills. Next, J.K. dove into investment banking at A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. and rose to the position of Member of the Board of Directors and head of the national public investment banking division. In this position, he completed approximately $US20 billion of municipal-bond transactions. Finally, he returned to the legal profession as a United States securities and municipal-bond attorney and continues to practice law today.

J.K. is deeply proud of his parents’ work in South America and around the world, from 1943 to their retirement in 1976. The story of Betrayals and Lies: My Parents Were Spies is based on just a small part of what ended up being Jim and Alexis Barkley’s overall significant contribution to the security, education, and betterment of the world and its inhabitants.

How Do I Buy the Book

The book is available now worldwide. To order through Amazon, please click the country of your choice under either the Paperback, Hardcover, or Kindle/ePub versions to be taken directly to the order page. A special Hardcover with Dust Jacket version is also available directly from our distributor. 

Library, Bookstores, and other Institutions

Our books may be purchased in bulk for promotional, educational or business use by libraries, bookstores, and other institutions. Please use our online order form to purchase books at a 50% discount. All other customers, please use the links below.

Paperback — US$17.95

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Hardcover (casewrap) — US$26.95

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Kindle and ePub — US$9.99

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Preview of the Book Interior


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Barclay – Betrayals and Lies

About the Book Betrayals and Lies: My Parents Were Spies is the intriguing, thrilling, and as-it-happened story of Jim and Alexis Barclay, who found themselves