(CNN)The latest spy story to captivate the entertainment world has it all: World War II espionage in enemy territory, a determined American woman once called the "most dangerous" Allied spy and, of course, her prosthetic leg named Cuthbert.
CIA spy Virginia Hall is about to become everyone's next favorite historical hero
But Virginia Hall's tale is far from fiction: She really was an accomplished spy who is the only woman to ever receive the US military's Distinguished Service Cross. A display is dedicated to her at the CIA's top-secret museum in Langley, Virginia. Though her legacy hasn't found a foothold in the public's imagination, that might change soon. Hall is the subject of three recently-published books and two upcoming films. If they are anywhere as intriguing as Hall herself, she'd bound to be everyone's new favorite World War II hero.
Here's a primer: During World War II, Hall served for both the British Special Operations Executive and the American Office of Strategic Services. She spent time in the occupied French city of Vichy establishing spy networks for the UK. When Germany took the rest of France, she narrowly escaped -- but eventually joined the OSS and asked to be returned overseas. Once back in France, she continued to elude the Gestapo, who were intent on capturing the "woman with a limp."
"She is the most dangerous of all Allied spies," their communications reportedly stated. "We must find and destroy her."
Oh, and Hall did it all on (technically) one leg. She lost the bottom half of her left leg in a hunting accident when she was 27. She eventually gave her prosthetic leg its own code name: Cuthbert.
Hall was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by OSS chief William Donovan in 1945. But as her exploits in World War II were coming to an end, Hall's career was just beginning: After the war, she spent an additional 16 years in the CIA.
The three new books profiling Hall were all published this year: "Hall of Mirrors" by Craig Gralley and "A Woman of No Importance" by Sonia Purnell hit bookshelves in February, and "The Lady is a Spy," a young adult retelling of Hall's story by Don Mitchell, was released in March.