The 15 best espionage novels

AN ABUNDANCE OF RUNNERS-UP

15 TOP ESPIONAGE NOVELS REVIEWED HERE

A COFFIN FOR DIMITRIOS BY ERIC AMBLER (1939) 309 PAGES ★★★★★ — STILL A LIVELY READ AMONG CLASSIC SPY NOVELS

TRANSCRIPTION BY KATE ATKINSON (2018) 331 PAGES ★★★★★ — KATE ATKINSON’S LATEST IS A BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN SPY STORY

THREE HOURS IN PARIS BY CARA BLACK (2020) 361 PAGES ★★★★★ — A SUSPENSEFUL WORLD WAR II ESPIONAGE THRILLER SET IN PARIS

THE TRINITY SIX BY CHARLES CUMMING (2011) 421 PAGES ★★★★★ — A STELLAR NEW SPY STORY BY CHARLES CUMMING

THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE BY KEN FOLLETT (1978) 364 PAGES ★★★★★ — THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION OF KEN FOLLETT’S CLASSIC WWII SPY NOVEL

KINGDOM OF SHADOWS (NIGHT SOLDIERS #6) BY ALAN FURST (2001) 274 PAGES ★★★★★ — ONE OF THE BEST SPY NOVELS OF RECENT YEARS

THE QUIET AMERICAN BY GRAHAM GREENE (1955) 232 PAGES ★★★★★ — THE CLASSIC VIETNAM NOVEL BY GRAHAM GREENE

AN OFFICER AND A SPY BY ROBERT HARRIS (2020) 361 PAGES ★★★★★ — THE DREYFUS AFFAIR, REENACTED IN A SUSPENSEFUL SPY NOVEL

SLOUGH HOUSE (SLOUGH HOUSE #10) BY MICK HERRON (2021) 247 PAGES ★★★★★ — BRITISH SECRET INTELLIGENCE MUDDLES THROUGH A CRISIS OF ITS OWN MAKING

SIRO BY DAVID IGNATIUS (1991) 625 PAGES ★★★★★ — THE MOST INTELLIGENT SPY NOVEL I’VE READ IN MANY YEARS

LEAVING BERLIN BY JOSEPH KANON (2014) 385 PAGES ★★★★★ — ONE OF THE BEST OF TODAY’S SPY NOVELS

THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD BY JOHN LE CARRÉ (1963) 228 PAGES ★★★★★ — IS THIS THE BEST SPY NOVEL EVER WRITTEN?

RED SPARROW (RED SPARROW TRILOGY #1) BY JASON MATTHEWS (2013) 577 PAGES ★★★★★ — AUTHENTIC ESPIONAGE TRADECRAFT IN THIS GRIPPING NOVEL BY A CIA VETERAN

THE SYMPATHIZER BY VIET THANH NGUYEN (2015) 351 PAGES ★★★★★ — THE VIETNAM WAR THROUGH VIETNAMESE EYES

THE COLDEST WARRIOR BY PAUL VIDICH (2020) 222 PAGES ★★★★★ — PROJECT MK-ULTRA AND THE SCIENTIST WHO FELL TO HIS DEATH

ALL THE BEST ESPIONAGE NOVELS I’VE REVIEWED

ALEX BERENSON’S JOHN WELLS SERIES

CHARLES CUMMING’S SUSPENSEFUL SPY THRILLERS

ESPIONAGE THRILLERS FROM JOSEPH FINDER

THE HISTORICAL NIGHT SOLDIERS SERIES BY ALAN FURST

ALEX GERLIS’S OUTSTANDING WARTIME SPY NOVELS

MICK HERRON’S CLEVER SLOUGH HOUSE NOVELS

CLASSIC ESPIONAGE NOVELS BY JACK HIGGINS

COMPELLING SPY STORIES BY DAVID IGNATIUS

JOSEPH KANON’S SUPERB SPY STORIES

JOHN LE CARRÉ’S CLASSIC NOVELS OF ESPIONAGE

THE BRILLIANT RED SPARROW TRILOGY BY JASON MATTHEWS

CHRIS PAVONE’S ENGAGING ESPIONAGE NOVELS

THE WELL-CRAFTED LIZ CARLYLE NOVELS BY STELLA RIMINGTON

ROSS THOMAS’S WITTY SPY STORIES

PAUL VIDICH’S HAUNTING HISTORICAL SPY NOVELS

THE WILLIAM CATESBY NOVELS BY EDWARD WILSON

FOR ADDITIONAL READING

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Author, book reviewer, serial entrepreneur, board member

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