We can not resist a dip into the mystical world of the spy thriller. These Best Spy Books 2021 span the federal and the global, mixing the personal and the political and demonstrating how they’re inextricably linked with keys, lies, conspiracies, and secret plots abound.
From the classic to the modern, below are a few of the best spy thrillers around.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top Rated Best Spy Novels To Read
- 1.1 Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
- 1.2 The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
- 1.3 Agent Running in the Area by John le Carré
- 1.4 The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
- 1.5 The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
- 1.6 The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
- 1.7 The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
- 1.8 A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de Leon
- 1.9 The Coldest Warrior by Paul Vidich
- 1.10 An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
- 1.11 The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
- 1.12 The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
- 1.13 Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox
- 1.14 American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
- 1.15 The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
- 1.16 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
- 1.17 The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
- 1.18 The Innocent by Ian McEwan
- 1.19 Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
- 1.20 The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
- 1.21 Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
- 1.22 Crisis by Frank Gardner
- 1.23 The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
- 1.24 Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
- 1.25 The Quiet American by Graham Greene
- 1.26 SS-GB by Len Deighton
- 1.27 Diary of a Dead Man Leave by David Downing
- 1.28 Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
- 1.29 The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
- 2 Conclusion
Top Rated Best Spy Novels To Read
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
In Casino Royale, the first of Ian Fleming’s 007 experiences, a match of cards will be James Bond’s sole opportunity to bring down Le Chiffre, French communist and paymaster of the Soviet murder company SMERSH. However, Bond soon discovers there is much more at stake than money.
This is one of the best spy thriller novels, it is packed with thrill and suspense. It is a remarkably satisfying read which showcases what we all know and enjoys the Bond tales – frightening, sadistic villains, sensual, emotional love affairs, along with the eloquent, sophisticated spy himself.
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
This publication by a former RAF pilot and investigative journalist, Frederick Forsyth, is among the most renowned thrillers ever written. It is smart, frightening, and 100 percent unputdownable.
It’s 1963, and also an anonymous Englishman was hired from the O.A.S. to murder General de Galle. A failed effort usually means the goal will be almost impossible to reach.
However, this latest plot entails a deadly weapon: an assassin of mythical talent. Known just as The Jackal, this remorseless and mortal killer has to be stopped – but how can you monitor a guy who is in name alone?
Agent Running in the Area by John le Carré
Nat, a 47-year-old veteran of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service, considers his years as a representative runner is over. However, with the growing danger from Moscow Centre, the workplace has an additional job for him – one who can take him down a path of political anger which will ensnare those nearest to him.
Agent Running at the Area is a frightening portrait of the time – in part tragic, in part darkly funny – informed with unflagging pressure by a few of the best storytellers of our era.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
He had been hauled in the sea, his body riddled with bullets, a frame of microfilm surgically implanted under his skin, and signs that plastic surgery has altered his face. Some film negative leads to a bank account in Zurich, four thousand bucks, and a title for its amnesiac: Jason Bourne.
This is the way we meet Bourne – a guy currently working for his life with an unknown past and an uncertain future, the goal of assassins and in the core of a deadly puzzle. He is fighting for survival, and nobody will help him – accept the one girl who wanted him…
The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
Two years following U.S. spy John Wells infiltrates al-Qaeda, the occasions of 9/11 catcalls to wonder his usefulness, even if not his devotion, but he retains his cover and bides his time, burrowing closer to Osama while sincerely turning into the one true religion of Islam as the years slip by.
When al-Zawahiri sends him home initially, it’s to function a few undetermined parts at a significant, multiphase offensive designed to strike terror in the American soul by unleashing regular, biological, and nuclear attacks from shore to shore.
Berenson works contrary to the narrative’s inherent sensationalism using a diversity of perspectives and deft character sketches, which avoid oversimplifying the intricate beliefs and approaches for his combatants.
The plotting is superlative, baffling characters and readers alike since the mastermind behind al-Qaeda’s sleeper community salary covert warfare against a watchful and resourceful enemy. …One can hardly request a more skillful, timely, and well-rounded translation of our worst fears into satisfying excitement; a sure bet for fans of Jack Higgins and Vince Flynn. This is one of the best spy series books to read.
The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
A thrilling narrative of secretaries turned spies, of love and responsibility, and of sacrifice-motivated by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and heads of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the best love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
The Jackal. A tall, blond Englishman with opaque, gray eyes. A killer at the top of the profession. A man is unknown to any secret service in the entire world. An assassin with a contract to kill the world’s most heavily guarded man.
A Spy in the Struggle by Aya de Leon
Aya de Leon has gained a considerable following throughout her Justice Hustlers series, cult favorites for people who wish to observe that the poor get more affluent and the wealthy get deader, with a group of Robin Hood-esque sex employees dedicated to their craft.
In her first espionage novel, de Leon cements her reputation for social justice stories anchored with blood, vengeance, and love. When Yolanda blows the whistle on her corrupt managers, she does not expect to get blacklisted by the whole industry.
In the end, she had been covering her ass when she sent those documents to the FBI. And every time a legal profession is no more a choice, she decides to sign on with the Bureau as an analyst, prepared to use her company attorney abilities once and for all.
To her dismay, Yolanda is instead assigned to having an environmental team tagged as a terrorist organization and finds herself fast at odds with her new profession. With love, community gardens, and a definite sense of morality, this one might be the most cheerful December choice.
The Coldest Warrior by Paul Vidich
With An Honorable Man and The fantastic Assassin, Paul Vidich established himself as one of the leading lights of espionage fiction, a more complex voice shooting up the mantle by the genre’s greats using complicated, emotionally nuanced tales that enjoy the profession’s ethical ambiguity.
His most recent, The Coldest Warrior, reads just like a le Carre book for the postwar American moment, having the investigation into the mysterious death, decades ahead, of a CIA guy who “jumped or fell” in a hotel window.
Since Vidich has discussed previously here on CrimeReads, it is a narrative – who has personal resonance for him and his loved ones.
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
Paris, 1895: military officer Georges Picquart watches a convicted spy, Alfred Dreyfus, being humiliated in front of a baying audience. Dreyfus is exiled for life while Picquart is promoted to conduct the intelligence unit that tracked him down.
However, suppose Picquart discovers that keys are still being handed over to the Germans. In that case, he is drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of deceit and corruption, which threatens his honor and his lifetime…
That is a gripping, unmissable thriller. Robert Harris manages to turn reality into fiction using extensive research and superior composing, producing an engaging, persuasive, believable narrative.
The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan
Perhaps, than any other publication, The Thirty-Nine Measures has set the blueprint for the pursuit’s narrative to get a desirable person. It is a tense story complete with secret codes, undercover agents, and murder – what you might want from a fantastic spy thriller.
Adventurer Richard Hannay is tired with his London life – before a spy is killed in his apartment, only days after having cautioned Hannay of an assassination plot which may plunge Britain into a war with Germany.
An obvious suspect for the police and an easy target for those killers, Hannay picks up the road left from the assassins, visiting Scotland, where he should use all his wits to stay 1 step ahead of their match and also frighten the authorities before it’s too late.
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
The Hunt for Red October is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy’s phenomenal career and introduced readers into hero Jack Ryan. Authentic and exceptionally thrilling, it is one book we can not recommend enough.
Under the chill Atlantic waters, Russia’s ultra-secret missile submarine is going west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. With the all-out war just minutes off, the superpowers race throughout the sea on the most distressing assignment of life. The incredible chase in history is on.
Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox
Amaryllis Fox’s riveting memoir tells the story of the ten years at the most elite covert ops unit of the CIA, searching the planet’s most dangerous terrorists in several states while marrying and giving birth to a girl.
American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
Imagine if a feeling of obligation required you to betray the guy you love? One woman struggles to pick between her honor and heart in this espionage drama that deftly jumps between New York and West Africa.
Inspired by actual events – Thomas Sankara is called “Africa’s Che Guevara” – this publication knits together a gripping spy thriller, a dreadful family play, and a genuine love. This is a Cold War face you have never seen before, and it presents a powerful new literary voice.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré
Le Carré’s title has become synonymous with all the spy genre, and it was this very publication that propelled him into international acclaim. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold is the third of Le Carré’s spy books centered on the actions of a British Intelligence unit called the Circus, motivated by Le Carthe’s own experiences working in brains for MI5 and MI6 from the 50s and 60s.
Set against the Cold War background, the narrative follows Agent Leamas, who’s calling plate one last assignment: he is going undercover as a defector into East Germany to bring down the German Intelligence Unit.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Another well-known name from Steam Carte, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, remains in the same fictional kingdom setup in Carthe’s past spy novels. As tensions continue to simmer involving Soviet Powers and the West, we follow a currently retired representative of The Circus, George Smiley, since he’s thrust into action about searching for a traitor in their positions.
As suspicions mount, Smiley should query everybody about him, including his most trusted colleagues, to weed out the mole which has price The Circus so reluctantly. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is the summit of his slightest – one of the best spy novels to capture the danger and paranoia of desperation.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
Jason Bourne is rescued by sailors, the only survivor of an assault at sea. If he comes to, he is suffering from amnesia, unable to recall anything about his or her past life out the intermittent flashback. Equipped with just the details to get a bank account, he lays to attempt to piece together his individuality.
As the truth begins to unfold, panic mounts when it will become evident that Bourne’s life has been anything but silent and regular. However, is it his previous post, ould be fearful of – or precisely what he should do next?
The Innocent by Ian McEwan
Place in Cold War Berlin; The Innocent is the story of Leonard Marnham: a 25-year-old British post office engineer who is whisked to a covert operation to assist the Americans to exploit Soviet telephone lines.
While carrying out his assignment, he matches the elderly, divorces Maria Eckdorf, and begins a relationship. However, if a ghost out of Maria’s previous shows up, Leonard finds himself dragged into an elaborate cover-up. This unassuming man currently bears two deadly secrets – and you have to give.
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
MI6’s man in Havana is Wormold; a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant spy from financial necessity. He documents bogus reports according to Charles Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and fantasies up military installations from vacuum-cleaner layouts to keep his job. Subsequently, his stories start coming true…
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Somewhere under the freezing Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a huge choice. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. The pursuit for the highly innovative nuclear submarine is on-and there is just one person who will find her.
Brilliant CIA analyst Jack Ryan has little interest in fieldwork covert photographs of Red October property in his desk. Ryan soon finds himself in the center of a high-stakes match of hide-and-seek played with two worlds powers-a match that could finish in all-out warfare.
Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
His code name was “The Needle.” He had been a German aristocrat of superior intelligence-a master spy using a heritage of violence in his bloodstream, and also the thing of the very desperate search ever. However, his destiny lay in the hands of a young and vulnerable British girl, whose devotion, if swayed, could guarantee his liberty – and then win the war for the Nazis.
Crisis by Frank Gardner
Introducing Luke Carlton – ex-Special Boat Service commando, currently under contract to MI6 for a number of its most dangerous assignments. Sent to the Colombian jungle to look into the murder of a British intelligence officer, hunted, captured, tortured, and also on the run from among South America’s most powerful drug cartels, Luke is at a life-or-death race to avoid a tragedy on a frightening scale.
Fly-on-the-wall insights, coupled with a fast speed and electric tension, guarantee Frank Gardner’s introduction a location in our listing.
The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad
Place in an Edwardian London underworld of terrorist bombers, spies, grotesques, and fanatics, Conrad’s dark, unsettling masterpiece inquires if we know the others, themselves.
The timeless narrative is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894, masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the authorities and an anarchist group in Soho. Conrad does best delve into the heart of individual nature – what exactly is it that inspires us makes us love, hate, and do it, and the way that society shapes us.
Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
Vivian Miller. High-powered CIA analyst happily married to a guy she loves, mom or mother of beautiful kids. Until the minute she’s a shocking discovery which makes her question everything she considers. She thought she understood her husband indoors and outside. But today, she wonders whether it was a lie. Just how much will she go to find out the facts?
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Into the intrigue and violence of the 1950s, Indo-China includes CIA representative Alden Pyle, a young American sent to promote democracy through a mysterious third Force’. As his naive optimism starts to cause bloodshed, his friend Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, finds it difficult to stand aside and see.
But even as he intervenes, he wonders why: for the larger good, or something more complicated?
This is a complicated and multi-layered publication exploring innocence, love, and morality in Vietnam, and it’ll remain with you long after you have turned the last page.
SS-GB by Len Deighton
The BBC recently accommodated this is a spy story quite different from any other, imagining Britain under German rule after World War Two.
In February 1941 British Controllers surrendered to the Nazis. Churchill has been implemented, the King is at the Tower, and the SS has been in Whitehall. But it is business as usual’ in Scotland Yard operate by the SS if Detective Inspector Archer is delegated into a typical murder case.
However, while SS Standartenfuhrer Huth arrives in Berlin with requests from the fantastic Himmler himself to oversee the evaluation, the resourceful Archer finds himself caught in a maximum degree, all actions, espionage battle.
Diary of a Dead Man Leave by David Downing
In April 1938, a guy calling himself Josef Hofmann arrived in a boarding home at Hamm, Germany, also allowing a space out of the window for the woman who possesses it. Fifty decades later, Walter Gersdorff, the widow’s son, who was twenty years old in the spring of 1938, discovered the closely concealed journal the border had kept during his life, although he should not have written some of its contents down.
Walter finds a scathing chronicle of the one oft tumultuous years at German history, narrated by a spy on a deadly mission. Josef Hofmann wasn’t the returned immigrant he had said he had been – he had been a communist spy beneath Moscow’s control to attempt and reconnect with any remnants of Germany’s suppressed communist party.
Hofmann’s bosses believe the usual employees are the only means to prevent the German war machine from within. Posing as a railwayman, Hofmann lays out his game of “Russian roulette,” approaching Hamm’s ex-party members at a time and feeling out their allegiances.
He always understood his assignment would likely end in his death, and he had been satisfied to make that sacrifice to the revolution when it may help prevent Hitler and his ideology.
However, as he grows near the Gersdorffite, inadvertently stepping into the part of the daddy Walter never needed, Hofmann begins to desire for one more sort of trust in his lifetime.
Night Soldiers by Alan Furst
Bulgaria, 1934. The regional fascists kill a young man. His brother, Khristo Stoianev, is recruited into the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence agency, and sent into Spain to function at its civil war. Warned that he’s going to be a victim of Stalin’s purges, Khristo flees to Paris.
Night Soldiers masterfully re-creates the European universe of 1934-45: the battle between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia for Eastern Europe, the final desperate gaiety of the beau monde in 1937 Paris guerrilla operations together with the French underground in 1944.
Night Soldiers is a scrupulously researched panoramic publication, a work on a grand scale.
The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
Charlie is a young American girl delivered, disgraced, to Europe with her wealthy but the commanding family who would like to possess her pregnancy subtly carved for. Eve, after a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed recruit who had been educated with the famous Alice herself throughout the war, lives a life of seclusion in the united kingdom, drowning her sorrows and nursing memories of this downfall of this spy community she’d formerly committed her entire life to.
Two girls, two entirely different pasts. But – if their paths cross London – they find themselves working collectively, pursuing a frequent fact truth that must end years of distress for every one of them.
By oldie-but-goodie classics of this genre into cutting modern edge techno-thrillers, these books will have you time-traveling and globe-trotting. You are going to be scaling structures, defusing bombs, and whole toppling authorities – all from the comfort of your favorite reading chair.
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Last update on 2021-02-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API