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Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List

Our list of some of the best Espionage books & series in recent years. Get inspired by one or more of the following books.

1. The Billion Dollar Spy: A True Story of Cold War Espionage and Betrayal (2016)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List  It was the height of the Cold War, and a dangerous time to be stationed in the Soviet Union. One evening, while the chief of the CIA’s Moscow station was filling his gas tank, a stranger approached and dropped a note into the car. The chief, suspicious of a KGB trap, ignored the overture. But the man had made up his mind. His attempts to establish contact with the CIA would be rebuffed four times before he thrust upon them an envelope whose contents would stun U.S. intelligence. In the years that followed, that man, Adolf Tolkachev,…
Author(s): David E. Hoffman

2. The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (2019)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List“The best true spy story I have ever read.”—JOHN LE CARRÉ If anyone could be considered a Russian counterpart to the infamous British double-agent Kim Philby, it was Oleg Gordievsky. The son of two KGB agents and the product of the best Soviet institutions, the savvy, sophisticated Gordievsky grew to see his nation’s communism as both criminal and philistine. He took his first posting for Russian intelligence in 1968 and eventually became the Soviet Union’s top man in London, but from 1973 on he was secretly working for…
Author(s): Ben Macintyre

3. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels) (2013)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListThe 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carré’s career worldwide In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse—a desk job—Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service—with himself as the bait. In the background is George…
Author(s): le Carré, John

4. Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris (2016)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListThe leafy Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive residential streets in Nazi-occupied France, was Paris’s hotbed of daring spies, murderous secret police, amoral informers, and Vichy collaborators. So when American physician Sumner Jackson, who lived with his wife and young son Phillip at Number 11, found himself drawn into the Liberation network of the French resistance, he knew the stakes were impossibly high. Just down the road at Number 31 was the “mad sadist” Theodor Dannecker, an Eichmann protégé charged with deporting French Jews to concentration camps….
Author(s): Alex Kershaw

5. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel (2011)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListThe man he knew as “Control” is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn’t quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor. The Oscar-nominated feature film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) and…
Author(s): le Carré, John

6. A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal (2015)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListWho was Kim Philby? Those closest to him—like his fellow MI6 officer and best friend since childhood, Nicholas Elliot, and the CIA’s head of counterintelligence, James Jesus Angleton—knew him as a loyal confidant and an unshakeable patriot. Philby was a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union. Together with Elliott and Angleton he stood on the front lines of the Cold War, holding Communism at bay. But he was secretly betraying them both: He was working for the Russians the entire time. Every word…
Author(s): Ben Macintyre, le Carré, John

7. The Quantum Spy: A Thriller (2018)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List“The Quantum Spy takes us to a whole new level of intrigue and espionage. It’s also unbelievably timely. In short: David Ignatius knows his stuff.” ―Wolf BlitzerA hyper-fast quantum computer is the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb; whoever possesses one will be able to shred any encryption and break any code in existence. The question is: who will build one first, the U.S. or China?In this gripping thriller, U.S. quantum research labs are compromised by a suspected Chinese informant, inciting a mole hunt of history-altering proportions. CIA officer Harris Chang leads the charge, pursuing his target from Singapore to Mexico and…
Author(s): David Ignatius

8. The Spy’s Son: The True Story of the Highest-Ranking CIA Officer Ever Convicted of Espionage and the Son He Trained to Spy for Russia (2016)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListJim Nicholson earned the nickname “Batman” early in his spy career with the CIA. A talented case officer with a Rolex watch and hand-tailored suits, Jim’s elan and fierce patriotic streak shot him to stardom. He played cat-and-mouse with the KGB during Cold War postings in the Philippines, Thailand, and Japan, and then, when the Soviet Union collapsed, he ran spy operations against a new foe, the Russian SVR.Fourteen years after his first overseas assignment, mired in a messy divorce and custody battle, Jim’s superiors called him back to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. By day, he ran…
Author(s): Bryan Denson

9. The Unlikely Spy (2003)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List“In wartime,” Winston Churchill wrote, “truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” For Britain’s counterintelligence operations, this meant finding the unlikeliest agent imaginable—a history professor named Alfred Vicary, handpicked by Churchill himself to expose a highly dangerous, but unknown, traitor. The Nazis, however, have also chosen an unlikely agent. Catherine Blake is the beautiful widow of a war hero, a hospital volunteer—and a Nazi spy under direct orders from…
Author(s): Daniel Silva

10. The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames (2015)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListThe Good Spy is Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kai Bird’s compelling portrait of the remarkable life and death of one of the most important operatives in CIA history – a man who, had he lived, might have helped heal the rift between Arabs and the West. On April 18, 1983, a bomb exploded outside the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people.  The attack was a geopolitical turning point. It marked the beginning of Hezbollah as a political force, but even more important, it eliminated America’s most influential and effective intelligence officer in the Middle East – CIA operative Robert…
Author(s): Kai Bird

11. The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War (2019)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListINSPIRATION FOR THE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE OFFICIAL SECRETSFEATURING A NEW INTRODUCTIONIn January 2003, 28-year-old GCHQ translator Katharine Gun received an email from the US National Security Agency that would turn her world upside down. The message requested Katharine’s assistance in co-ordinating an illegal US-UK spy operation which would secure UN authorisation for the Iraq invasion. Horrified, she decided to leak the information to the British press.Katharine’s decision would change her life forever, as she was arrested under the Official Secrets Act whilst becoming a cause célèbre for political activists. The…
Author(s): Marcia Mitchell, Thomas Mitchell

12. Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations That Helped Win the Cold War (2003)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate ListFrom the author of the Golden Globe winner and Academy Award winner Argo… Moscow, 1988. The twilight of the Cold War. The KGB is at its most ruthless, and has now indisputably gained the upper hand over the CIA in the intelligence war. But no one knows how. Ten CIA agents and double-agents have gone missing in the last three years. They have either been executed or they are unaccounted for. At Langley, several theories circulate as to how the KGB seems suddenly to have become telepathic, predicting the CIA’s every move. Some blame the defection of Edward Lee Howard three years before, and suspect that there are more high-placed…
Author(s): Antonio Mendez, Jonna Mendez, et al.

13. Agent Zero (an Agent Zero Spy Thriller-Book #1) (2019)

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List“You will not sleep until you are finished with AGENT ZERO. The author did a superb job creating a set of characters who are fully developed and very much enjoyable. The description of the action scenes transport us into a reality that is almost like sitting in a movie theater with surround sound and 3D (it would make an incredible Hollywood movie). I can hardly wait for the sequel.”–Roberto Mattos, Books and Movie ReviewsIn this much-anticipated debut of an epic spy thriller series by #1 bestseller Jack Mars, readers are taken on an action thriller across…
Author(s): Jack Mars

Best Espionage Books: The Ultimate List

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some espionage books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Operation Kronstadt: The True Story of Honor, Espionage, and the Rescue of Britain’s Greatest Spy, The Man with a Hundred Faces

Author(s): Harry Ferguson
Publisher: ABRAMS Press, Year: 3 Aug 2010, Size: 4 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2393672

The Unending Game: A Former R&AW Chief’s Insights into Espionage

Author(s): Vikram Sood
Publisher: PENGUIN, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: azw3
ID: 2264550

The Chinese Information War: Espionage, Cyberwar, Communications Control and Related Threats to United States Interests

Author(s): Dennis F. Poindexter
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Year: 2018, Size: 4 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2268557

Invisible Agents: Women and Espionage in Seventeenth-Century Britain

Author(s): Nadine Akkerman
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 2275846

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

Author(s): Ben Macintyre
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, Year: 2018, Size: 42 Mb, Download: mobi
ID: 2330016

Germany’s Covert War In The Middle East: Espionage, Propaganda And Diplomacy In World War I

Author(s): Curt Prüfer, Kevin Morrow
Publisher: I.B. Tauris, Year: 2018, Size: 9 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2373370

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War (AUDIOBOOK)

Author(s): Ben Macintyre
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group, Year: 2018, Size: 356 Mb, Download: zip
ID: 2389533

The Secret State: A History of Intelligence and Espionage

Author(s): John Hughes-Wilson Colonel
Publisher: Pegasus Books, Year: 2017, Size: 1 Mb, Download: epub
ID: 1641143

Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II

Author(s): Meredith Hindley
Publisher: Hachette Audio, Year: 2017, Size: 349 Mb, Download: rar
ID: 2141319

Please note that this booklist is not absolute. Some books are absolutely record-breakers according to Chicago Tribune, others are written by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant resources you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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