The spy and espionage novels I love and encourage my friends to read

Richard Powell Author Of Pact with the Devil
By Richard Powell

Who am I?

As a child, I devoured historical works. In fact, the city librarian told my mother when I reached my teens. that I had read every book in the Children’s section on the Civil War and they recommended I get adult privileges. In my teenage years, I developed a taste for spy novels thanks to Ian Fleming. However, as I matured, I became drawn to the less gadgety stories in the genre like the books I recommend here and write myself. I have no unique expertise in the area beside a desire to learn more about the field so my own work will inform as well as entertain. 


I wrote...

Pact with the Devil

By Richard Powell,

Book cover of Pact with the Devil

What is my book about?

In the Second World War’s last days, Captain James Ross commands a rifle company, while Justine Rothstein leads a band of partisans hunting Nazis. They join forces to liberate a Nazi death camp in Austria. Once they succeed, each go their separate ways. With the Second World War drawing to a close, a second conflict between superpowers emerges. 

In this climate, Justine and Ross meet again at the Nuremberg war crimes commission. Justine searches desperately for her family deported by the Nazis and Ross investigates the Holocaust’s perpetrators. Together, they uncover a plot to supply a Nazi superweapon to the Russians—a bomber that can deliver a nuclear weapon from space. Despite this peril, Justine and Ross strive to expose this conspiracy. 

The books I picked & why

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel

By John Le Carré,

Book cover of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A George Smiley Novel

Why this book?

While not the first book in the series this is the book where the main character, George Smiley, finally gets a place to shine. Discredited and cuckold, George Smiley’s life appears ruined and pointless. But a questionable character appears with a tale suggesting a traitor in the service that George Smiley dedicated his life to. Thrust into the spotlight, he is revealed as a true master spy as he unmasks the traitor and reveals the arch-villain driving the forces that wrecked his life in the first place. For me, this book touched multiple hot buttons, along with the history, it is a chilling mystery. And the plot is not driven by a reliance on gadgets. After reading this series, I devoured his remaining works in this genre. This book is the classic espionage novel.


The Kill Artist

By Daniel Silva,

Book cover of The Kill Artist

Why this book?

An art restorer who spies on the side? What is not to love? After an assassin kills his son and gravely injures him and his wife, he steps away from the spy world to concentrate on the art. But, of course, he is drawn back in with the chance for revenge. Silva creates a world where the reader can sympathize with a killer along with the cause that drives him to act. I found myself on the edge of my seat with every turning page. I have since read the rest of the series and hope others do as well. A treat that can’t be passed up.


The Good German

By Joseph Kanon,

Book cover of The Good German

Why this book?

This particular time and place fascinate me. The cold war is ramping up. Dirty deals abound while deviltry floats in the air or can be found around any corner. It was a crucial time in history and shaped much of what happens today throughout the world. And the story mixes intrigue and romance. Will the hero find his love plus uncover the plot? The suspense can’t be beaten.


Night Soldiers

By Alan Furst,

Book cover of Night Soldiers

Why this book?

God help me, along with my fascination with espionage I am a history buff. I long to discover how things became what they are today and Furst does it in this series. While seeing the forces that launched the Second World War unfold, he shows you see the seeds sown for the cold war that follows. While I picked book one from my bias toward watching a world being born, all the books in the series are a great read.


The Company: A Novel of the CIA

By Robert Littell,

Book cover of The Company: A Novel of the CIA

Why this book?

As I mentioned before, I am a history buff. This book traces the cold war and the CIA through the lives of three wonderful characters. A loyal agent, a Russian spy, and a mole in American intelligence are all done in a way that puts you in their shoes from the Cold War’s start through the demise of the Soviet Union. Littell keeps you on the edge of your seat while teaching you what actually happened. A must-read for spy aficionados.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in espionage, Germany, and World War 2?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about espionage, Germany, and World War 2.

Espionage Explore 102 books about espionage
Germany Explore 297 books about Germany
World War 2 Explore 975 books about World War 2

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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