A FORMER Wotton-under-Edge pupil has won a prestigious book award for his tales of espionage.

Dr Christopher Moran, 32, scooped a £3,000 prize for his book detailing the work of British intelligence agencies.

His work details Whitehall's secrecy and how British governments have restricted public debate around security and intelligence services.

Classified: Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain won Dr Moran the 2014 St Ermin’s Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year award on Tuesday, April 29.

The hotel offers the award annually for the best new intelligence book in recognition of the hotel’s long connection with the British intelligence community.

Intelligence expert Nigel West, who chaired the judging panel, presented the author with the prize at the hotel in St James' Park, London.

Dr Moran said he was thrilled with the award, saying: "To be recognised by a panel of distinguished members of the intelligence community, journalists and writers is very satisfying.”

Classified is a labour of love, having taken eight years to produce. Dr Moran has previously worked on books investigating the history of the CIA and seen his knowledge of espionage used in a Washington exhibition dedicated to Bond villains.

Dr Moran studied at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School in his youth and now works as an assistant professor in US Studies and a postdoctoral fellow in the Politics and International Studies departments at Warwick University.

He's currently busy working on two further books exploring the underbelly of the CIA - a daunting task for any researcher.

He said: “I was rather nervous (writing about the CIA) the first time round as you don’t know what to expect, but now that I had one published I feel more confident for writing the other two.”