Are you a sucker for fast-paced thrillers, tales of espionage, and plots with stunning twists? Then look no further than this list of ten pulse-pounding spy fiction must-reads. Featuring impeccable plots, brilliant and enigmatic characters, and richly realized atmospheres, each of these books will scratch your itch for some good old-fashioned mystery, suspense, and intrigue. Whether you are more of a classic John le Carré fan or a fan of playful, imaginative twists on the spy-thriller genre, there is a novel on this list that’s sure to be your new favorite.
In this global thriller, Amanda Cole, the daughter of a famed Cold War spy, is eager to prove herself in the male-dominated CIA. When a Russian defector warns her of a new Kremlin plot to assassinate a US senator, Amanda teams up with an older female spy, Kath, to trace the dangerous plot from Rome to London to St. Petersburg. But after the senator is killed and Amanda finds her father’s name in his notebook, the pressure to solve this crime, and the corruption it points to, grows greater and more personal than ever.
IT’S THE CASE OF AMANDA’S LIFETIME, BUT SOLVING IT WILL REQUIRE HER TO BETRAY ANOTHER SPY—WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE HER FATHER.
SPYING IS THE FAMILY BUSINESS. Amanda Cole is a brilliant young CIA officer following in the footsteps of her father, who was a spy during the Cold War. It takes grit to succeed in this male-dominated world—but one hot summer day, when a Russian defector walks into her post, Amanda is given the ultimate chance to prove herself.
The defector warns of the imminent assassination of a US senator. Though Amanda takes the warning seriously, her superiors don’t. Twenty-four hours later, the senator is dead. And the assassination is just the beginning.
Corporate blackmail, covert manipulation, corrupt oligarchs: the Kremlin has found a dangerous new way to wage war. Teaming up with Kath Frost, a fearless older woman and legendary spy, Amanda races from Rome to London, from St. Petersburg to Helsinki, unraveling the international conspiracy. But as she gets closer and closer to the truth, a central question haunts her: Why was her father’s name written down in the senator’s notes? What does Charlie Cole really know about the Kremlin plot?
The Helsinki Affair is a riveting, globe-trotting spy thriller—but this time, with a refreshing female-centric twist. Perfect for fans of John le Carré and Daniel Silva, this book introduces Pitoniak as a singular new talent in the world of spy fiction.
A series of unconnected, brutal events are occurring all over the world: a burned collection of human remains is found in the mountains of Afghanistan; a father is beheaded in a Saudi Arabian square; the eyeless body of a Syrian expert is found in Damascus; and a woman burned with acid is found in a ramshackle hotel. But despite their seemingly random nature, one man is about to use them to piece together one of the most unimaginable plots in human history. I AM PILGRIM is a masterful suspense thriller.
“For me, I AM PILGRIM was a game changer. It raised the bar for international spy thrillers and became the benchmark for all future reads. It’s rich in detail and character, full of heart-racing action, and terrifying in its plausibility. It has heart and has you questioning your own beliefs.”
In this novel, based on a captivating true story, Russian aristocrat Moura’s world is turned upside down during the Bolshevik Revolution. As Lenin’s police try to hunt her and her family down, Moura begins a passionate affair with a British secret service agent. But when he is mysteriously deported, she is left to find her own methods of keeping herself safe. Taking on new identities and becoming entangled in a web of lies, Moura is determined to do whatever it takes to survive this new, volatile world.
From the internationally bestselling author of the “fascinating epic” (Associated Press) Between Love and Honor comes a rich, sweeping tale based on the captivating true story of the Mata Hari of Russia, featuring a beautiful aristocrat fighting for survival during the deadly upheaval of the Russian Revolution.
Born into Russian aristocracy, wealth, and security, Moura never had any reason to worry. But in the upheaval of the Bolshevik Revolution, her entire world crumbles. As her family and friends are being persecuted by Vladimir Lenin’s ruthless police, she falls into a passionate affair with British secret agent Sir Robert Bruce Lockhart. But when he’s abruptly and mysteriously deported from Russia, Moura is left alone and vulnerable.
Now, she must find new paths for her survival, even if it means shedding her past and taking on new identities. Some will praise her tenderness and undying loyalty. Others will denounce her lies. But all will agree on one point: Moura embodies Life. Life at all cost.
Set against the volatile landscape of 20th-century Russia, The Woman of a Thousand Names brings history to vivid life in a captivating tale about an extraordinary woman caught in the waves of change—with only her wits to save her.
AMERICAN SPY is one part poignant family drama, one part passionate romance—and one complete bracing Cold War spy thriller. In the bureaucratic deluge of the 1980s, Marie is sick of doing paperwork at her desk job with the FBI. So when an opportunity arises for her to join a task force aimed at bringing down Thomas Sankara, the Communist president of Burkina Faso, she jumps at it. But as Marie becomes Sankara’s lover as part of her spy work, she realizes her beliefs might align more with his than with her employer’s.
Publisher Simon Weeks hasn’t seen his brother, Frank—one of the first agents of the new CIA—since Frank was exposed as a Communist spy twelve years ago. Now, in 1961, Simon is invited to Moscow to edit Frank’s memoir, a manuscript filled with suspicious claims and KGB-approved ideologies. Simon can’t resist a chance to see his brother, and at first their brotherly affection proves resilient. But soon, Simon realizes there is a darker side to Frank’s request, one that reveals an ongoing cat-and-mouse game between the KGB and the CIA, which has put Simon directly in harm’s way.
Jaded CIA spy Shane Collins is ready to finish his final tour in Bahrain, located off the coast of Saudi Arabia, until he meets enigmatic artist Almaisa. She introduces him to new parts of Bahrain, and the two begin to fall in love. But when Collins and his informant become embroiled in a murder, Collins finds himself at the center of a revolution, one that threatens his life, his love, and his beliefs all at once. In this explosive debut, the lines between what is right and wrong blur as secrets are exposed on both sides.
A NEW YORKER BEST BOOK OF THE WEEK
During the Arab Spring, an American spy’s final mission goes dangerously awry in this explosive and “remarkable debut” (Joseph Kanon, New York Times bestselling author) from a former CIA officer that is perfect for fans of John le Carré, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Alan Furst.
Shane Collins, a world-weary CIA spy, is ready to come in from the cold. Stationed in Bahrain off the coast of Saudi Arabia for his final tour, he’s anxious to dispense with his mission—uncovering Iranian support for the insurgency against the monarchy. But then he meets Almaisa, a beautiful and enigmatic artist, and his eyes are opened to a side of Bahrain most expats never experience, to questions he never thought to ask.
When his trusted informant becomes embroiled in a murder, Collins finds himself drawn deep into the conflict and his growing romance with Almaisa upended. In an instant, he’s caught in the crosshairs of a revolution. Drawing on all his skills as a spymaster, he must navigate a bloody uprising, win Almaisa’s love, and uncover the murky border where Bahrain’s secrets end and America’s begin.
“A breathless tour-de-force, the perfect spy tale” (Ian Caldwell, author of The Fifth Gospel) and dripping with authenticity, The Peacock and the Sparrow is a timely story of the elusiveness of truth, the power of love and belief, and the universal desire to be part of a cause greater than oneself.
In this timely thriller, American spy Scot Harvath must enter the war-torn borderlands between Ukraine and Russia to capture dangerous Russian combatants after a group of American aid workers are killed. But Harvath must fight a war on two fronts as he tracks both a rogue Russian mercenary group made up of fighters from Russia’s most infamous prisons and asylums and a team of Russian soldiers tasked with looting priceless cultural treasures. As both groups dig deeper into the interior amid chaos, Harvath is in a race against time.
Lethal operative Scot Harvath is dispatched to avenge the killing of American citizens abroad in #1 New York Times and #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling author Brad Thor’s new pulse-pounding thriller.
In the war-ravaged borderlands of Ukraine, a Russian mercenary unit has gone rogue. Its members, conscripted from the worst prisons and mental asylums across Russia, are the most criminally violent, psychologically dangerous combatants to ever set foot upon the modern battlefield.
With all attention focused on the frontlines, they have pushed deeper into the interior to wage a campaign of unspeakable barbarity. As they move from village to village, committing horrific war crimes, they meet little resistance as all able-bodied men are off fighting the war.
Simultaneously, a team of Russian soldiers has been dispatched by the Kremlin to loot truckloads of art and priceless cultural treasures hidden away in a host of churches, museums, and private homes.
When multiple American aid workers are killed, America’s top spy, Scot Harvath, is sent in to settle the score. But in a country so vast, will Harvath be able to find the men in question and, more importantly, will he be able to stop them before they can kill again?
It’s the Age of Enlightenment, and the exceptional Queen Elizabeth I has taken the throne in Britain. As Spain begins to become increasingly violent in their quest to expand their strict Catholic orthodoxy, Elizabeth decides she needs a new tool to fight war, one more secretive than combative. Thus, Her Majesty’s secret service is born, with scholar and alchemist John Dee at its head. In this first installment of an incredible series about MI6, a charismatic soldier fights for the queen he is forbidden to love.
“[A] rollicking new historical thriller…taut, made-for-movie-theater tension and delicious, snickering-from-the-back-row wit.” —New York Times Book Review
In this first novel of the exhilarating Agents of the Crown series, a man who will become the original MI6 agent protects England and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I from Spain’s nefarious plan to crush the Age of the Enlightenment.
After centuries locked in an endless cycle of poverty, persecution, and barbarity, Europe has finally emerged into the Age of Enlightenment. Scientists, philosophers, scholars, and poets alike believe this to be a new era of reason and hope for all. But the forces of darkness haven’t completely dissipated, as Spain hunts and butchers any who dare to defy its ironclad Catholic orthodoxy.
Only one nation can fight the black shadow that threatens this new age, and that is Britain, now ruled by a brilliant young Queen Elizabeth I. But although she may be brave and headstrong, Elizabeth knows she cannot win this war simply by force of arms. After her armies have been slashed in half, her treasury is on its knees. Elizabeth needs a new kind of weapon forged to fight a new kind of war, in which stealth and secrecy, not bloodshed, are the means.
In this tense situation, Her Majesty’s Secret Service is born with the charismatic John Dee at its head. A scholar, a soldier, and an alchemist, Dee is loyal only to the truth and to his Queen. And for her, the woman he’s forbidden from loving, he is prepared to risk his life.
A visceral and heart-pumping historical thriller, The Eyes of the Queen is perfect for fans of Ken Follett and Dan Brown.
Written with Jason Matthews’s insider information about espionage, RED SPARROW is a twisty thriller perfect for fans of John le Carré. Dominika Egorova was forced into service as a “Sparrow,” a trained seductress working for post-Soviet intelligence. When she is assigned to first-tour CIA officer Nathaniel Nash, the two find themselves in a battle of covert wits, deception, and undeniable attraction. In the process, Dominika begins to lead a dangerous double life, charged with finding a traitor in Washington and a Russian illegal in the military, which will lead to a shocking conclusion.
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In this incredible first novel in the RED SPARROW trilogy set against the backdrop of modern-day Russia, Dominika Egorova is drafted to become a “Sparrow” for the Russian state intelligence. Her complex journey has all the makings of the perfect espionage tale: Moles, double lives, betrayals, and yes... even love. The only pairing that makes any sense with this book should be shaken—not stirred.
By 1931, Rosalind Lang has already lived for four years as an immortal, after being gifted the power to heal and stop aging by an experimental procedure that saved her life. Now she works as a spy and assassin for Shanghai. In her latest mission, she must pose as the wife of nationalist spy Orion Hong in order to infiltrate a Japanese plot. As the cavalier playboy and Rosalind look the conspiracy, they uncover more horrifying layers than they had imagined possible—in this dazzling new duology with a recently released sequel, FOUL HEART HUNTSMAN.
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends comes the “equal parts intoxicating and dazzling” (Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves) first book in a captivating new duology following an ill-matched pair of spies posing as a married couple to investigate a series of brutal murders in 1930s Shanghai.
It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.
Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.
Code name: Fortune.
But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.
To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.
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