Ian Fleming unleashed Secret Service Agent James Bond with the blue eyes, black hair and “cruel mouth” in 1953. He followed with 11 more novels and two short story collections. Other authors kept Bond alive after Fleming died. He’s also been the subject of more than 25 films. 007 is the ultimate British spy with a flair for clothes and cars, a great collection of cutting-edge vehicles, and a fondness for women. He fights the world’s most dangerous criminals, all the while eating the best food and drinking. It seems that more than 60 years after his entrance into the world, Bond — James Bond — is immortal.

This list of great books like James Bond begins with Bond novels by Fleming, Bond novels by other authors following him, and spy novel/thrillers that Bond lovers can read with their martinis “shaken and not stirred.”

1. Ian Fleming’s Bond

We’ll start with Bond by Fleming. Most readers and critics agree about the top three titles.

Moonraker, a believable but larger than life ex-Nazi rocket scientist Hugo Drax. A classic Cold War anxiety plot. A cool, collected, and sizzling female intelligence agent who Bond respects, but also tries to get into bed. Henchmen whose bizarre uniformity actually makes sense. A gambling scene that’s as satisfying as any car chase. The novel is the only one of the series to take place entirely in Britain and sees our hero try to defeat the megalomaniacal Hugo Drax.

From Russia With Love. A nasty Soviet hit man, a Russian double-agent tries to bring Bond down while SMERSH is trying to scam 007.  A ride on the Orient Express and some fisticuffs in Istanbul, and you’ve got a great spy/thriller joyride.

Casino Royale is everything you want from a Bond novel. The gambling scenes are intense; Vesper Lynd is up to Bond in every way; SMERSH is at its most menacing; and Bond himself seems both capable and exposed.

2. Colonel Sun

Kingsley Amis


British writer Kingsley Amis was the first author to write a Bond novel after Ian Fleming’s death in 1964. Written under the pseudonym Robert Markham, the 1968 novel sees 007 on a mission to track down the kidnappers of M, his boss at the Secret Service. While on the search, he discovers a communist Chinese plot to cause an international incident. Bond, assisted by a Greek spy working for the Russians, finds M on a small Aegean island, rescues him and kills the two main plotters: Colonel Sun Liang-tan and a former Nazi commander, Von Richter.  Who could ask for more?
Amis wrote two other Bond related works, the literary study The James Bond Dossier and the humorous The Book of Bond.

3.  License Renewed

John Gardner


Gardner wrote 16 Bond novels beginning in 1981. In License Renewed Bond is up against Anton Murik — a crazy physicist who is angry that the world has rejected his idea for nuclear plants as “unsafe” — and Franco, one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.  Here’s a list of all Gardner’s titles – http://jamesbond.wikia.com/wiki/John_Gardner

4. James Bond: The Union Trilogy: Three 007 Novels: High Time to Kill, Doubleshot, Never Dream of Dying

Raymond Benson


Benson was next in line to keep Bond in action. High Time to Kill takes  007 from one of England’s most exclusive golf clubs to the city of Brussels, and finally to an expedition up the icy heights of the third tallest peak in the Himalayas.

In Doubleshot, The Union has vowed revenge on James Bond and has concocted a complex scheme to destroy him. Bond embarks on a mission that takes him from the seedy underbelly of London’s Soho to the souks of Tangier; from a Union training camp in Morocco to the clutches of a deadly Spanish beauty.  Never Dream of Dying is the final part of the trilogy. Bond finally comes face-to-face with the Union’s enigmatic leader. The journey eventually takes 007 to an underwater brush with death, a chase through the Corsican wilderness, and a surprise encounter with an old friend.

5. SilverFin

Charlie Higson


This is the first novel in the Young Bond series that depicts superspy James Bond as a teenager in the 1930s. It is aimed squarely at the Young Adult audience, and that’s okay since they are then free to grow into adult James Bond Readers.  Higson introduces the young Bond as a bit of a weakling in this story of transformation. By the end of the novel, the timid boy has found his 007 steel and menace through his harrowing experience on Loch.

6. Devil May Care

Sebastian Faulks


Published in 2008, Faulks’ Bond picks up right where Ian Fleming left off—at the height of the Cold War. An Algerian drug runner is brutally executed on the desolate outskirts of Paris. Bond is assigned to shadow the mysterious Dr. Julius Gorner, a power-crazed pharmaceutical magnate. After finding a willing accomplice with the glamorous Parisian named Scarlett Papava, Bond must stop a chain of events that could lead to global catastrophe. BBC reporter Jane Ciabatteri considers Devil May Care the best of the Bond reboots because he stays faithful to three elements of Fleming’s Bond:   “the sense of jeopardy Fleming creates about his solitary hero; a certain playfulness in the narrative details; and a crisp, journalistic style that hasn’t dated”.

7. Solo: A James Bond Novel Paperback

William Boyd


The novel opens in 1969 with Bond celebrating his 45th birthday.  He’s summoned to headquarters and assigned to Zanzarim, a troubled West African nation which is being ravaged by a civil war. M directs Bond to quash the rebels threatening the established regime. When he arrives, Bond soon realizes the situation is far from straightforward. Little by little he uncovers the real cause of the violence in Zanzarim, revealing a far-reaching and twisting conspiracy.  Moving from rebel battlefields in West Africa to the closed doors of intelligence offices in London and Washington, Solo is at once a gripping thriller, a tensely plotted story full of memorable characters and a masterful study of power and how it is wielded.

8.  Carte Blanche

Jeffrey Deaver


Bond is in his early 30s and a veteran of the Afghan War.  He’s been recruited to a new organization. Conceived in the post-9/11 world, it operates independent of MI5, MI6, and the Ministry of Defense, its very existence deniable. Its aim is simple: to protect the Realm, by any means necessary.
The premise is pure Bond.  A Night Action alert calls Bond away from dinner with a beautiful woman. Headquarters has decrypted an electronic whisper—plans for a devastating attack: Casualties estimated in the thousands, British interests adversely affected.
Agent 007 has been given carte blanche to do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission..
This is a great Bond reboot by a bestselling author of mystery, crime and suspense fiction.

9. James Bond: The Authorized Biography of 007: a Fictional Biography

John Pearson


Pearson interweaves fact and fiction about Bond and his creator Ian Fleming for what seems to be an actual biography. Pearson uses the bits and pieces of Bond’s personal history taken from Fleming’s books to construct an authentic feeling biography which details how Bond earned his physical and emotional scars. There are a lot of insights into why Bond behaves as he does.  It fills in a lot of blanks about 007.

10. James Bond’s Cuisine: 007’s Every Last Meal: Every Bite and Sip of the World’s Greatest Agent

Matt Sherman


You know James Bond has achieved demi-god status when a book is devoted to everything he ate and drank.  And this includes everything from Fleming’s novels, the continuation novels (44 in all), 12 short stories and 25 films.  As appetizers  there are quips and quotes by about 007 as well as trivia questions.  A very tasty and fun piece of scholarship that Bond fans should devour.

11.  The Moneypenny Diaries

Kate Westbrook


This trilogy is written based on the diaries of M’s personal secretary.  It gives Miss Moneypenny her own story as well as filling in gaps between Bond’s missions.

12. A Clean Kill in Tokyo

Barry Eisler


The first in the eight-novel John Rain series.
A Clean Kill in Tokyo introduces John Rain, a Japanese American who learned his lethal trade as a member of the U.S. Special Forces. Although tortured by memories of atrocities he committed in Vietnam, he has become a paid assassin who lives in the shadows and trusts no one, even those who pay extraordinary sums for his ability to make murder look like natural death.   Because of his mixed race he’s uneasy in both the U.S. and Japan.   He is a ronin, a “wanderer, a masterless samurai.”  The author worked in  a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, amongother jobs and is also experienced in the martial arts …   Eisley also maintains a lively, well-written blog. http://barryeisler.blogspot.com/

13. The Bourne Trilogy

Robert Ludlum


These three books were wildly popular before Matt Damon starred in the film versions and made them massively wildly popular.  It’s a great premise.   . In the debut novel, The Bourne Identity, the main character has no past. And he may have no future. His memory is blank. He only knows that he was fished out of the Mediterranean Sea, his body full with bullets. There are a few clues: evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face, a Swiss bank account containing four million dollars, and a name: Jason Bourne. A lot of people, including the world’s best assassin, are trying to kill him.
The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum continue the fast-paced, action-packed as we continue to learn more about Jason Bourne.  The climax is a showdown by the man behind Jason Bourne and Carlos, who we know now as the world’s deadliest and most elusive terrorist.

14. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

John LeCarre


British author LeCarre pulled the spy novel into the realm of great literature.  The 1963 novel is gritty, real and suspenseful as the characters move through the bureaucratic shadows of Cold War espionage .  .  .Spies, lies and graceless victories.
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was an international best-seller and selected as one of the All-Time 100 Novels by Time magazine.  In 2006, Publishers Weekly named it the “best spy novel of all-time”.  In 1965, Martin Ritt directed the film adaptation starring Richard Burton .

15. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

John LeCarre


LeCarre may not have outdone himself but he certainly matched himself with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which follows the efforts of quiet, aging spymaster George Smiley to uncover a Soviet mole in “The Circus” (the British Secret Intelligence Service). The novel has received critical acclaim for its complexity, social commentary and lack of sensationalism.  It is a staple of the spy fiction genre which is underscored with the 2011 film adaptation starring Gary Oldman as George Smiley, along with Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Mark Strong, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciarán Hinds.

16. Death of a Citizen: Matt Helm

Donald Hamilton


Matt Helm is a U.S. government counter-agent whose job is to kill or nullify enemy agents.  Published between 1960 and 1993, the 27 books in the series portray Helm as jaded, ruthless, pragmatic, and competent.   Critic Anthony Boucher wrote: “Donald Hamilton has brought to the spy novel the authentic hard realism of Dashiell Hammett; and his stories are as compelling, and probably as close to the sordid truth of espionage, as any now being told.”  The 27 novels in the series of this American James Bond were solid sellers in the mass market paperback world during the 1970s and 80s.  Dean Martin starred in four Matt Helm films the 1960s and 70s.  Paramount now has the option on them.

17. The Ipcress File

Len Deighton


Deighton’s first novel, whose protagonist is a nameless spy – later christened Harry Palmer.
The bestselling debut created a new thriller hero.  For the working class narrator, a seemingly straightforward mission to find a missing biochemist becomes a journey to the heart of a dark and deadly conspiracy.  The 1960s film adaptation gave Michael Caine one of his first and still most celebrated starring roles, while the novel itself has become a classic in the genre. This is the first of his first series of books, which also include ‘Funeral in Berlin’, ‘Billion Dollar Brain’, and ‘Horse Under Water’. Deighton is a master of dialogue.  His research into Cold War espionage practices and bureaucracy is superb.

18.  The Riddle of the Sands

Erskine Childers


Regarded as one of the best spy stories ever written, this is the classic Secret Service novel. It’s rich with technical detail about inshore sailing, has sympathetic characters, an excellent narrative style, and a setting and plot that recapture the European political scene on the eve of World War I.
Two young Englishmen, Davies and Carruthers, head for the Baltic Sea in the late 1890s for a holiday of sailing and duck-shooting. The mood gradually darkens as Davies discloses his suspicions of espionage in the North Frisian Islands, and Carruthers joins in an investigation that develops into a series of increasingly dangerous intrigues. Norman Donaldson, an expert on detective and suspense fiction, writes the Introduction with details about the author, the novel’s background and its place in the history of the spy-novel genre.

19.  Point of Impact

Stephen Hunter


Bob Lee Swagger was one the best Marine snipers in Vietnam. Twenty years later, wants to be left alone and to leave the killing behind. But a shadowy military organization seduces Bob into leaving his beloved Arkansas hills for one last mission for his country, unaware until too late that the game is rigged.
The assassination plot is executed to perfection until Swagger comes out of the operation alive, the target of a nationwide manhunt, his only allies a woman he just met and a discredited FBI agent. Now Bob Lee Swagger is on the run, using his lethal skills once more—but this time to track down the men who set him up and to break a dark conspiracy aimed at the very heart of America. The first in the acclaimed Swagger Series.

20.  Epitaph for a Spy

Eric Ambler


Hungarian language teacher Josef checks into a Paris hotel for a vacation and finds himself in the midst of a fascist spy ring.  A recurring theme in Ambler’s books is the amateur who finds himself unwillingly in the company of hardened criminals or spies. The protagonist is out of his depth and seems for much of the book a bumbling anti-hero, yet eventually manages to surprise himself as well as the professionals by a decisive action that outwits his more experienced opponents.

21.  The Hunt for Red October

Tom Clancy


This 1984 novel was Clancy’s debut. The story follows Jack Ryan, a former marine turned CIA analyst as he leads a group of US Naval officers in taking possession of a cutting-edge Soviet nuclear submarine from 26 defecting Soviet officers.  The novel was originally published by the U.S. Naval Institute Press—one of the first fictional works it ever published, and still its most successful.  President Ronald Reagan on a televised press conference called it “a perfect yarn,” which gave it an international promo boost.  The 1990 film had an all-star cast including Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, James Earl Jones and Sam Neill.  The Hunt for Red October War Game became one of the most successful war games of all time.  Not bad for a story about stealing a sub.

22.  American Assassin

Vince Flynn


Mitch Rapp is an undercover CIA counter-terrorism agent who thwarts Muslim terrorist attacks on the U.S. He’s an aggressive operative who is willing to take measures that are more extreme than is commonly acceptable. Six months of intense training has prepared him to bring the war to the enemy, which he does with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am attack. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn’t know is that the enemy is aware of him and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive Beirut and its various terrorist factions.
His constant frustration with procedures and red tape are a major theme throughout the entire series. Flynn also served as a story consultant for the fifth season of the TV series 24.

23.  The Lion’s Game

Nelson DeMille


Detective John Corey faces his toughest assignment yet: the pursuit and capture of the world’s most dangerous terrorist — a young Arab known as “The Lion” who has baffled a federal task force and shows no sign of stopping in his quest for revenge against the American pilots who bombed Libya and killed his family

24.  Against all Enemies

Tom Clancy


A terrorist bombing in Pakistan wipes out Max Moore’s entire CIA team. As the only survivor, the former Navy SEAL plunges deeper into the treacherous tribal lands to find the terrorist cell, but what he discovers there leads him to a much darker conspiracy in an unexpected part of the globe—the US/Mexico border.

25. The Camel Club

David Baldacci


In Washington, D.C, where power is everything and most of it is in the hands of a few, four eccentric men with mysterious pasts call themselves the Camel Club. Their mission: find out what’s really going on behind the closed doors of America’s leaders.  Led by a mysterious man known as “Oliver Stone,” they study conspiracy theories, current events, and the machinations of government to discover the real truth behind the country’s actions. They make little progress until they witness a murder and become embroiled in an astounding, far-reaching conspiracy. Now the Club members must join forces with a Secret Service agent to confront one of the most chilling spectacles ever to take place on American soil-an event that may trigger the ultimate war between two different worlds. The only people who might have a chance of stopping it are the members of The Camel Club.

26.  The Orphan Trilogy

James & Lance Morcan


Number Nine is an orphan, a spy, a lover, a master of disguise, an assassin, a shape shifter.a freedom fighter, a human chameleon, a reformed contract killer.
Nine is enslaved by the Omega Agency, a shadowy organization seeking to create a New World Order. When he tries to break free, Nine is hunted by his mentor and father figure, and by a female orphan he spent his childhood with. Nine’s fellow orphans – all elite operatives like himself – are ordered to terminate him. In a seemingly infinite maze of cloak and dagger deception, Nine must call on all his advanced training to survive.
The three books –The Ninth Orphan, The Orphan Factory and The Orphan Uprising — are a conspiracy theorist’s heaven, exposing a global agenda designed to keep the power in the hands of a select few—a shadow government more powerful than agencies and governments.

27.  Spy Line

Len Deighton


British agent Bernard Samson finds himself inexplicably hunted as a traitor, forced to abandon his life, his job, his position, and plunge into hiding in the most dangerous and darkest corner of Berlin.

28.  Agents of Innocence

David Ignatius


This book cemented Ignatius’s reputation as a master of the contemporary espionage novel.  Into the treacherous world of shifting alliances and subterfuge comes idealistic CIA man Tom Rogers. Ordered to penetrate the PLO and recruit a high-level operative, he soon learns the heavy price of innocence.
Ignatius draws from his experience covering the growth of terrorism in Lebanon for the Washington Post. To an extent, the book is a fictionalization of life of real-world CIA man, Robert Ames. This novel is apparently on the reading list at “The Farm” (the CIA’s training ground), and CIA Director George Tenet recommended this book in an interview. Bob Woodward called the novel “An unparalleled and hauntingly accurate portrait of how the intelligence game is really played.”

29.  The Tourist

Olen Steinhauer


Milo Weaver has tried to leave his old life of secrets and lies behind by giving up his job as a “tourist” for the CIA–an undercover agent with no home, no identity. Now he’s working a desk at the agency’s New York headquarters. But when the arrest of a long-sought-after assassin sets off an investigation into a colleague, exposing new layers of intrigue in his old cases, he has no choice but to go back undercover and find out who’s been behind it all from the very beginning.

30.  Rogue Male

Geoffrey Household


Rogue Male is one of the classic thrillers of the 20th century. An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but they bungle the job and he escapes. But England provides no safety from his pursuers – and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter becomes a hunted animal.

31.  The Ninth Directive

Adam Hall


The setting is Thailand. An important representative of the Queen is scheduled to visit Bangkok on a good-will tour. A threat has been made against his life, and somewhere amidst the golden spires a deadly assassin waits.
The top-secret British espionage bureau feels ordinary security precautions are not sufficient, so they call in agent Quiller. He’s a cynical loner, but the only man capable of tracking down the would-be killer. The tale is complex, set at a heart-pounding pace.

32.  The Judas Strain

James Rollins


A Judas strain is an organism that drives a species to extinction. From the Indian Ocean depths, an ancient menace plagues the modern world. Hope hides “within the language of angels.” Aboard a cruise liner that is a makeshift hospital, Dr. Lisa Cummings and Monk Kokkalis, SIGMA agents, seek answers. But terrorists hijack the mercy ship for a floating bio-weapons lab.

33.  Modesty Blaise

Peter O’Donnell


The series began in 1963 and was later turned into novels whose female spy hero is decades ahead of her time.
In her first adventure for British Intelligence Modesty Blaise with her loyal lieutenant, Willie Garvin, must foil a multi-million pound diamond heist. They travel from London to the South of France, across the Mediterranean to Cairo before battling, against impossible odds, a private army of professional killers. Modesty is a tough, brilliant and beautiful woman who is an expert in martial arts and a variety of weapons.
Stieg Larson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) was a big fan of the Modesty books as well as Quentin Tarantino who paid tribute to her in Pulp Fiction. He also apparently modelled Uma Thurman’s, “The Bride,” after Modesty in Kill Bill.

34.  The Spy

Clive Cussler


It is 1908, and the dark clouds of World War I are beginning to gather. A naval arms race of epic proportions is under way, and the world’s powers will stop at nothing to develop the best warships and, simultaneously, use deadly force to halt the development of other nations’ navies. When several of America’s leaders in naval technology are murdered, Isaac Bell and the Van Dorn Detective Agency are brought in to both solve the crimes and stop the killers. A consummate assassin simply named the Spy is behind it all, but who does he serve and why?

35. Harlot’s Ghost

Norman Mailer


With and consummate skill, Mailer unfolds a rich and riveting epic of an American spy. Harry Hubbard is the son and godson of CIA legends. His journey to learn the secrets of his society—and his own past—takes him through the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the “momentous catastrophe” of the Kennedy assassination. All the while, Hubbard is haunted by women who were loved by both his godfather and President Kennedy. It features a parade of unforgettable characters both real and imagined. One reviewer calls Harlot’s Ghost  “a panoramic achievement in the tradition of Tolstoy, Melville, and Balzac, a triumph of Mailer’s literary prowess.”

36.  The Parsifal Mosaic

Robert Ludlum


Michael Havelock’s world died on a moonlit beach on the Costa Brava as he watched his partner and lover, double agent Jenna Karas, efficiently gunned down by his own agency. There’s nothing left for him but to quit the game, get out. Then, in one frantic moment on a crowded railroad platform in Rome, Havelock sees Jenna. Racing around the globe in search of his beautiful betrayer, Havelock is now marked for death by both U.S. and Russian assassins, trapped in a massive mosaic of treachery created by a top-level mole with the world in his fist: Parsifal.

37.  A Matter of Honor

Jeffrey Archer


A disgraced British colonel bequeaths a mysterious letter to his only son. But the moment Adam Scott opens the yellowing envelope, he sets into motion a deadly chain of events that threatens to shake the very foundations of the free world.

Within days, Adam’s lover is brutally murdered and he’s running for his life through the great cities of Europe, pursued by the KGB, the CIA and his own countrymen. Their common intent is to kill him before the truth comes out. While powerful men in smoke-filled rooms plot ever more ingenious means of destroying him, Adam finds himself betrayed and abandoned even by those he cares about the most.
When he finally understands what he is in possession of, he’s even more determined to protect it.  It’s more than a matter of life and death–it’s a matter of honor.

38.  Blood Line

John J. Davis


Blood Line is a high-voltage spy thriller that redefines rogue—the Granger Spy Novel series introduces a loving family with lethal issues caught in the crosshairs of global arms dealers.

When a simple home invasion turns out to be not so simple, Ron Granger must put aside his quiet rural life and return to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Aided by his brilliant wife, Valerie, and resourceful teen daughter, Leecy, Ron must quickly decide who to believe among the calculating opportunists, shrewd criminals, and power-hungry rival agencies racing to possess the technology that will change modern warfare forever. But when Leecy is kidnapped, Ron and Val must choose between the mission and a rescue. With time quickly running out, Ron only knows one thing:

When you can’t trust anyone else, trust your family

39.  The Mark of the Assassin

Daniel Silva


When CIA man Michael Osbourne is called in to investigate the terrorist bombing of an airliner off the coast of Long Island, there is one relevant clue that drives him: a body near the crash site with three bullet holes in its face. Osbourne recognizes the deadly markings as the work of a world-class assassin, a man whose very existence has never been proven. And among those victims was a young woman Osbourne loved years before.

When the frightening identity of the assassin’s employers becomes clear, Osbourne puts himself and his loved ones in the sights of the most fearsome man on earth.
With deft plot twists, complex characters, and a villain who is among the most ruthless in modern thriller fiction, book is a razor-sharp suspense piece from a master of the genre.

40. The Kill Artist

Daniel Silva


Silva paints an absorbing portrait of a reluctant hero’s attempt to thwart an old enemy to preserve a precarious peace. After the assassination of his wife and son, Gabriel Allon retires from his brutal anti-terrorist career and loses himself in his previous cover job: art restoration. But when Tariq al-Hourani, the Palestinian terrorist responsible for his family’s death, begins a killing spree designed to destroy Middle East peace talks, Gabriel once again slips into the shadowy world of international intrigue.
In a global game of hide-and-seek, the motives of Gabriel and Tariq soon become more personal than political. This is the first novel in the wildly popular Gabriel Allon series.
Silva has been called his generation’s finest writer of international intrigue and one of the greatest American spy novelists ever.

41. The Matarese Circle

Robert Ludlum


An international circle of killers, the Matarese will take over the world within just two years. Only two rival spies have the power to stop them: Scofield, CIA, and Talaniekov, KGB. They share a genius for espionage and a life of explosive terror and violence. But though these sworn enemies once vowed to terminate each other, they must now become allies. Because only they possess the brutal skills and ice-cold nerves vital to their mission: destroy the Matarese.
Ludlum, creator of The Bourne series, is the crown prince of thriller and spy novels.

42. Saving the Queen

William Buckley


This is the first in the Blackford Oakes series by conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., featuring CIA agent Blackford Oakes. Buckley wrote the novels in reaction to the “rogue CIA” stereotype, epitomized, he felt, by the Robert Redford movie Three Days of the Condor.

It is 1952, the Cold War is heating up, and vital military secrets are falling into Soviet hands. The source of the leaks has been traced directly to the Queen of England’s circle. The situation must be resolved but without damaging the young Queen’s self-confidence and public credibility.

Blackford Oakes, the handsome and audacious Yale graduate and ex-fighter pilot, is selected to penetrate the royal circle, win the Queen’s confidence, and plug the leak. The action leads to an explosive showdown in the skies over London.

43. Above Suspicion

Helen MacInnes


Richard and Frances Myles are preparing for their annual European summer vacation in 1939 when they are visited at their Oxford College by old friend Peter Galt, who has a seemingly simple job for them.  But in the heightened atmosphere of pre-war Europe, nobody is above suspicion, in fact the husband and wife are being carefully monitored by shadowy figures.
Above Suspicion was MacInnes’ breakthrough book. The1941 bestseller became a movie starring Joan Crawford and Fred MacMurray. MacInnes has been called “the queen of spy writers and Fruitless Pursuits said Above Suspicion “is truly like a James Bond movie.”

44. The Day of the Jackal

Frederick Forsythe


This is one of the reigning classics of the genre. The 1971 thriller is also packed with psychological suspense as we follow a professional assassin contracted by the OAS, a French dissident paramilitary organization, to kill French President Charles de Gaulle.
The Jackal, a tall, blond Englishman, is a killer at the top of his profession. He is unknown to any secret service in the world. He has a contract to kill the world’s most heavily guarded man. His mission is so secretive not even his employers know his name. And as the minutes count down to the final act of execution, it seems that no power on earth can stop the Jackal.
It’s the first novel by Forsythe, then a 31-year-old freelance journalist, international adventurer and at the time then youngest fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force.

45. Killing Floor

Lee Child


This is the debut novel of the wildly successful Jack Reacher series. The 6’5” former Major in the U.S. Army Military Police Corps, roams the U.S. taking odd jobs and investigating suspicious and often dangerous situations. Reacher wanders the country through 20 action-packed novels that the New York Times describe as “Smart and Breathless.” The ultimate loner, drifter and avenger, Reacher travels lighter than any other hero. Before 9/11, his only travel baggage was a folding toothbrush. Following the tragedy he added a passport and ATM card. He never washes his clothes. When they get dirty he buys a cheap new set. Tom Cruise brought Reacher brought to life on the big screen with Jack Reacher in 2012.

46. Eye of the Needle

Ken Follett


His code name was “The Needle.”  He was a German aristocrat of extraordinary intelligence—a master spy with a legacy of violence and the object of the most desperate manhunt in history. But his fate lay in the hands of a young and vulnerable English woman, whose loyalty, if swayed, would assure his freedom—and win the war for the Nazis….With twists, turns, love and mounting suspense leading toward D-Day, Eye of the Needle from one of the genre’s master’s still holds up well today.

47. Berlin Game

Len Deighton


The 1983 novel is set in the early 1980s. A highly placed agent in East Germany codenamed “Brahms Four” wants to come to the West. He’s one of Britain’s most reliable, valuable agents behind the Iron Curtain. His demand for safe passage to the West sends a ripple of panic through the Secret Intelligence Service. Bernard Samson, a former field agent, and now working behind a London desk, is tasked to undertake the crucial rescue. After all, it was Brahms Four who had once, nearly twenty years ago, saved his life.
But even before Samson sets out on his mission, he finds evidence of a traitor among his colleagues — a traitor planted by the KGB. Berlin Game the first in the trilogy, followed by Mexico Set and London Match.

48. Hawke

Ted Bell


Young Alex Hawke watches in horror as modern-day pirates murder his parents. The act will haunt him and shape his destiny.
As a direct descendant of a legendary English privateer, Lord Alexander Hawke is skilled in the ways of sea combat — and one of England’s most decorated naval heroes. Now, Hawke returns to the Caribbean on a secret mission for the American government. An experimental stealth submarine with 40 nuclear warheads is missing and a rogue terrorist has his finger on the countdown button. In a race against time, Hawke must locate the sub before a strike can be launched. After a lifetime of nightmares, he can finally settle the score with the men killed his family.
A James Bond for the 21st century, Alex Hawke is suave, sexy, smart, wealthy, and deadly. Hawke is the first book in the series.

49. The Dark Chronicles: A Spy Trilogy

Jeremy Duns


Free Agent, Song of Treason and The Moscow Option.  It’s 1969, and MI6 agent Paul Dark has spent the last 25 years betraying his country. When a would-be Russian defector appears with information about a high-level British double agent, Dark goes on the run and discovers that everything he believes is a lie.
The Dark Chronicles takes us from London to Nigeria and from Rome to Moscow in a fast-paced saga of dubious loyalties, deadly conspiracies, and ruthless acts of revenge at the height of the Cold War, which was of course, Bond’s period as well.

50. The Book of Spies

Gayle Lynds


For centuries, emperors, historians, and even the Vatican have tried to locate Ivan the Terrible’s lost collection of magnificent works, the real-life Library of Gold. Now one of the volumes, The Book of Spies, has surfaced, as have its secret owners–a cabal of the globe’s most powerful, dangerous men.
When the CIA discovers a connection between the legendary library and a bank account linked to terrorists, they bring in rare books curator Eva Blake. Soon an attempt is made on her life and she is on the run. Eva is determined to both survive and uncover the truth.  The only person she trusts is Judd Ryder, a former intelligence officer with a troubled past and an agenda of his own.
Racing from London to Rome, Istanbul to Athens, it’s up to the pair to track down the gold-covered, and find a way to stay ahead of the men who determined to keep their secrets hidden.
Lynds also helped launch the Covert-One series with Jason Bourne creator Robert Ludlum.