100 books like A Shadow Intelligence

By Oliver Harris,

Here are 100 books that A Shadow Intelligence fans have personally recommended if you like A Shadow Intelligence. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Quiet American

David Hagerty Author Of They Tell Me You Are Wicked

From my list on political crime fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Chicago in the waning days of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s machine, which politicized everything from schools to loading zones. Everyone—whether they were civil servants or small business owners—had to pledge loyalty to Da Boss, Hizzoner, or suffer the consequences. As a result, I’ve always gravitated to crime stories with a political element, one showing the effects of big conflicts on regular people. And I’ve written about the same. 

David's book list on political crime fiction

David Hagerty Why did David love this book?

Before the U.S. entered the war in Vietnam, Graham Greene forecast its disastrous consequences. His love triangle, set amid the escalating conflict, perfectly captures the naiveté of American interventionism overseas. I love the subtext of the tale, which is narrated by an embittered British journalist. Although it’s never spoken, we intuit that he is addicted to opium and living the life of a dissolute expatriate. Fowler watches in horror as a U.S. diplomat tries to steal both the woman and the country he has adopted. He claims impartiality and indifference until he cannot any longer.

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Quiet American as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam

"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.

As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But…


Book cover of An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin's Master Agent

Victor Robert Lee Author Of Performance Anomalies

From my list on spy books set in Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about Asia, where I have spent a chunk of my life. My non-fiction reporting has centered on Beijing's territorial ambitions, including its ongoing takeover of the South China Sea, which in a sense was prefigured by the plot of my novel Performance Anomalies. The main character, Cono 7Q, has been pecking at my brain for many years, abetted by my brushes with spooks in the underbelly of Central Asia and China. I use a pen name so my travel in certain countries can be less encumbered.

Victor's book list on spy books set in Asia

Victor Robert Lee Why did Victor love this book?

Soviet master spy Richard Sorge's high-level infiltration of the Japanese government and German embassy in Tokyo during WW2 enabled him to warn Stalin that Hitler was going to invade Russia (ignored) and that Japan would not invade Siberia (believed). The latter intel allowed Stalin to call his Eastern army to reinforce Moscow and reverse Hitler's march. As remarkable as these feats of espionage were, perhaps Sorge's greatest achievement originated years earlier in Shanghai, where he captivated and recruited Ursula Kuczynski (who became Agent Sonya) to spy for the Soviets, which ultimately brought them The Bomb. Sorge had a penchant for drunken high-speed motorcycle rides across Tokyo and almost killed himself. In the end, the Kempetai took care of that; he was unmasked and hanged in Sugamo Prison in 1944, abandoned by the Soviets.

By Owen Matthews,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked An Impeccable Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE PUSHKIN HOUSE PRIZE 'The most formidable spy in history' Ian Fleming 'A superb biography ... More than a hundred books have been written about him and this is undoubtedly the best' Ben Macintyre Richard Sorge was a man with two homelands. Born of a German father and a Russian mother in Baku in 1895, he moved in a world of shifting alliances and infinite possibility. A member of the angry and deluded generation who found new, radical faiths after their experiences on the battlefields of the First World War, Sorge became a fanatical communist - and the…


Book cover of Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy

Pamela Holmes Author Of The Curious Life of Elizabeth Blackwell

From my list on extraordinary women.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by singular women who have found ways to express themselves and to flourish in the face of doubt. My experience of moving country as a child, family breakdown, losing a parent as a teenager, and dropping out has left me intrigued by other women with the drive to survive on their own terms. Of course, the social constraints a woman must overcome will vary according to when she lived, but common characteristics will be bravery and obstinacy. I’ve now written three novels about women who have succeeded against the odds. I hope the books I’ve recommended captivate you as much as they do me.

Pamela's book list on extraordinary women

Pamela Holmes Why did Pamela love this book?

You can’t approve of Ursula Kuczynski, codename ‘Sonya’.

She was a spymaster, bomb-maker, and secret agent for the Soviet Union. Her work helped the Soviets build the atom bomb. But you can’t help being intrigued by this devoted wife and mother-of-three who rode her bicycle across the countryside to gather scientific information and used her children’s teddies to smuggle radio parts.

Ursula’s story, told by Macintyre in forensic, referenced detail, is astonishing. This cool, clever woman fooled everyone. I’m fascinated by the photographs, too; one of her cuddled up with her children in the garden, another of her in Berlin selling communist literature from a book barrow. They added to the feeling of alarm; so much went on in clear view.

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Agent Sonya as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A TOP TEN SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

Published in Paperback on 27 May

'His best book yet' The Times

'Macintyre's page-turner is a dazzling portrait of a flawed yet driven individual who risked everything (including her children) for the cause' Sunday Times

DISCOVER THE INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY OF THE SPY WHO ALMOST KILLED HITLER - FROM THE BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR

Ursula Kuczynski Burton was a spymaster, saboteur, bomb-maker and secret agent. Codenamed 'Agent Sonya', her story has never been told - until now.

Born to a German Jewish family, as Ursula grew, so did the Nazis'…


Book cover of Typhoon: A Novel

Victor Robert Lee Author Of Performance Anomalies

From my list on spy books set in Asia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write about Asia, where I have spent a chunk of my life. My non-fiction reporting has centered on Beijing's territorial ambitions, including its ongoing takeover of the South China Sea, which in a sense was prefigured by the plot of my novel Performance Anomalies. The main character, Cono 7Q, has been pecking at my brain for many years, abetted by my brushes with spooks in the underbelly of Central Asia and China. I use a pen name so my travel in certain countries can be less encumbered.

Victor's book list on spy books set in Asia

Victor Robert Lee Why did Victor love this book?

When Charles Cumming published Typhoon in 2009, China's Xinjiang province was a festering wound for the Chinese Communist Party, with the local Uyghur population sporadically resisting subjugation by their Han overlords. Now it is a full-blown police-state with mass Uyghur detention camps that amount to genocide, according to many human rights groups. Cumming shrewdly chose Xinjiang tensions as the spark for a rogue CIA scheme to destabilize the Beijing regime. Knowing what is currently happening in Xinjiang, it is hard for me now to re-read the novel with the same sense of nostalgia for the authentically rendered places in the cities I know (or knew) well: Urumqi, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong. These gems have all been deprecated by the Party, but they are partially preserved in Cumming's meticulous prose.

By Charles Cumming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Typhoon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hong Kong 1997 - only a few short months of British rule remain before the territory returns to Chinese rule. It's a febrile place. And in that claustrophobic environment of uncertainty and fear the spooks are hard at work, jostling for position and influence. So when an elderly man emerges from the seas off the New Territories, claiming to know secrets he will share only with the Governor himself, a young MI6 agent, Joe Lennox, sees an opportunity to make his reputation. But when the old man, a high-profile Chinese professor, is spirited away in the middle of the night…


Book cover of The Men Who Stare at Goats

Tone Milazzo Author Of The Faith Machine

From my list on spies in strange places.

Why am I passionate about this?

Spies are everywhere across the panorama of fictional tropes, in fantasy, science fiction, horror, and historical fiction. Spies are like salt. No matter the genre, drop a little espionage into the mix, and it tastes better. There’s an inherent complexity to a spy, a dichotomy baked into the profession, simultaneously a criminal and an agent of the government. A spy could be a one-man-army, a smooth-talker, or someone inside your computer network, but no matter who they really are, they’re never who they seem. The spy plays with identity, loyalty, and integrity in ways that the worst of us do but is safely compartmentalized in fiction for our enjoyment.

Tone's book list on spies in strange places

Tone Milazzo Why did Tone love this book?

Set in the height of the Cold War, The Men Who Stare at Goats is the story of the US Army’s psychic warfare unit, the First Earth Battalion. These self-declared “warrior monks” trained in remote viewing and aspired to psychic slay capra with the force of their concentration.

Unlike the rest of the books on my list, The Men Who Stare at Goats is non-fiction. The bulk of the material in these pages are interviews with people in the First Earth Battalion.

Reading this book made me question the reality of psychic phenomena. Is there something to it? Or was this the result of a Soviet PSYOP (psychological operation, not psychic operation) to make the American military-industrial complex waste a lot of money?

By Jon Ronson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Men Who Stare at Goats as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Often funny, sometimes chilling and always thought-provoking, journalist Jon Ronson's Sunday Times bestseller The Men Who Stare at Goats is a story so unbelievable it has to be true.

In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known military practice - and indeed the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could adopt a cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls, and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them.

They were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and…


Book cover of Echo of Escape: A Novel of Misogyny, Tragedy, and Unconditional Love

Debra Chapoton Author Of A Fault of Graves: YA High School Thriller

From my list on about emotions and suspense.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived a life of emotions and suspense; things are either life and death or they’re just an inconvenience. I’ve been writing fiction and non-fiction books (over 50 and counting) for quite a while. I’m an eclectic reader, enjoying all genres and creating my own works in most of them: young adult, adult, suspense, dystopian, time travel, sci-fi, fantasy, coming of age, romance, you name it. Two things I want in everything I read and write are emotional engagement (make me feel something strongly) and suspense (give me a page-turner!).

Debra's book list on about emotions and suspense

Debra Chapoton Why did Debra love this book?

This novel is partly fictional, but also based on the author’s life and traumatic first marriage. There’s suspense for sure and a range of feelings. I cried hard in some parts, smiled in others, and felt sorry, relieved, and even joyful in other sections. I had no idea what would happen next. The story played out like a movie in my head, full of my two favorite things: emotional engagement and nervous fear for the main character. This is a thriller that follows a woman on a daunting personal journey that will pluck at your heartstrings.

By Jessica Michaels,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Echo of Escape as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHE THOUGHT SHE WAS MARRYING THE PERFECT GUY, BUT THAT WAS A PERFECT LIE.  
Alyssa Burdick spends her days teaching middle-school and her nights battling the psychological oppression of a misogynist husband. He was her knight in shining armor from the day she met him up until the end of their wedding reception. Now all he does is humiliate her and turn her into a doormat. At least at school she can be herself. 
And after school, behind her closed classroom door ... well, she's humbled, confused, hopeful even, as her department head, Connor, mentors her. Slowly, very slowly, she…


Book cover of The Bishop's Pawn

Cathy O'Bryan Author Of A Child of the Cold War: Code Name: Kitten

From my list on the Cold War, Nazi hunting, and growing up with spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a wife of 38 years, mother of two fine adults, teacher of 30 years in art, speech, theatre, art…well painter, and now author, I enjoy hearing about others' stories. Purely by accident, I wrote a small personal story and found that people wanted more… so I wrote more and shazam I had a book. My first book is about childhood experiences and growing up in my normal world. For me it was normal but the outsiders looking in today would see anything but normal. My parents’ careful actions sheltered my sister and me from the outside world's bad influences until things blew up. Then with care they showed us their world of Nazi hunting.

Cathy's book list on the Cold War, Nazi hunting, and growing up with spies

Cathy O'Bryan Why did Cathy love this book?

I really enjoy all of Steve Berry’s books but this one stuck with me. This adventure of Cotton Malone examines the death of Martin Luther King from a very different perspective. As a teenager at the time of King's demise, I was intrigued by his spin. Rarely do I feel compelled to do research after I read his books because he does it for you at the end of his books. This one had me looking for some of Rev King's speeches and reading for myself. Pick this one up you won’t want to put it down.

By Steve Berry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bishop's Pawn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first case of New York Times bestseller Steve Berry’s iconic hero, Cotton Malone.

History notes that the ugly feud between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr., marked by years of illegal surveillance and the accumulation of secret files, ended on April 4, 1968 when King was assassinated by James Earl Ray. But that may not have been the case.

Now, fifty years later, former Justice Department agent, Cotton Malone, must reckon with the truth of what really happened that fateful day in Memphis.

It all turns on an incident from eighteen years ago, when Malone, as a…


Book cover of Pseudoscience and Deception: The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims

Bryan Farha Author Of Pseudoscience and Deception: The Smoke and Mirrors of Paranormal Claims

From my list on critically analyzing paranormal claims.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a licensed mental health professional, I once had a client claiming to be demonically possessed, and requested that I get an exorcist to drive the evil spirits out of her body. Instead, I utilized a therapeutic approach to challenge “irrational” beliefs. The problem was gone. I realized that people were prone to strange beliefs and started to read and listen to “experts” who were skeptical in nature. To my surprise, I saw Carl Sagan distinguishing astrology (pseudoscience) from astronomy (science). His talk was clear, convincing, and logical. I was hooked.

Bryan's book list on critically analyzing paranormal claims

Bryan Farha Why did Bryan love this book?

Instead of “writing” this book on each subject myself, chapters are written by the most noted experts in the field of the subject matter. Some of the topics include claims of astrology, psychic ability, alternative medicine, after-death communication, psychotherapy, and pseudoscience. Mostly, I’ve never seen people so excited to study critical thinking as when the subject matter involves the paranormal. 

By Bryan Farha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pseudoscience and Deception as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pseudoscience and Deception is a compilation of some of the most eye-opening skeptical articles pertaining to extraordinary claims and pseudoscience. The articles explore paranormal, extraordinary, or fringe-science claims and reveal logical explanations or outline the deceptive tactics involved in convincing the vulnerable. Topics include claims of astrology, psychic ability, alternative medicine, after-death communication, psychotherapy, and pseudoscience. The contributors to this book are among the most accomplished critical thinkers, scientists, and educators in the world and tackle their respective topics from a rational, logical, and skeptical perspective. Most students are seldom excited to study "critical thinking"-with the exception of allegedly paranormal…


Book cover of The Postscript Murders

Susan McCormick Author Of The Fog Ladies

From my list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a doctor, an award-winning writer, and lifelong lover of mysteries. Many mysteries feature smart characters. I prefer those with wise characters, who can teach me something about a life well-lived. Or not. Sometimes the mistakes are more instructive and more fun. Stories with older characters offer a plethora of life experience and wisdom, and usually poignancy and humor as well. From my life as a doctor and my daily visits to my mother’s retirement community dinner table, I see seniors who are strong, wise, vital, and often overlooked. I love stories that give voice to this robust and rich generation who have so much to offer.

Susan's book list on mysteries with senior sleuths and older characters

Susan McCormick Why did Susan love this book?

This is Book 2 in a series but can easily be read alone.

It introduces several older characters, including the page one murder victim, each of whom is so well-sketched they could be your friend or neighbor. The story has an excellent murder, a twist, wonderful characters, and humor.

The best is that the unlikely sleuths are a mixture of old and young, male and female, many backgrounds, yet all best of friends and all very funny yet sometimes heartbreaking.

By Elly Griffiths,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Postscript Murders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

INVENTING CRIME STORIES CAN GET YOU KILLED

'A LOVE LETTER TO MURDER MYSTERIES' SUNDAY MIRROR

The ultimate gripping murder mystery to curl up with, from the bestselling author of The Stranger Diaries and the Dr Ruth Galloway Mysteries

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka's account of Peggy Smith's death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her...

And that Peggy Smith had been a 'murder consultant'…


Book cover of Circle of Treason: A CIA Account of Traitor Aldrich Ames and the Men He Betrayed

Steve Vogel Author Of Betrayal in Berlin: The True Story of the Cold War's Most Audacious Espionage Operation

From my list on accurate non-fiction about Cold War espionage.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author and veteran journalist who reported for The Washington Post for more than two decades, and I write frequently about military history and intelligence. My father worked for the CIA, and I was born in Berlin when he was stationed there as a case officer. Later I was based in Germany as a foreign correspondent when the Berlin Wall came down. So it’s not too surprising that I am interested in Cold War espionage and history. As a reporter, author, and reader, I’ve always been attracted to stories off the beaten track, the ones that most people know little or nothing about. 

Steve's book list on accurate non-fiction about Cold War espionage

Steve Vogel Why did Steve love this book?

Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Verterfeuille were part of the CIA team that identified Aldrich Ames, perhaps the most damaging spy in the agency’s history. Not only is the book a riveting account of the detective work that went into Ames’ arrest, it provides a wealth of information about the valuable agents and operations that he betrayed, and the incalculable damage he caused, including the loss of GRU General Dmitriy Polyakov, the highest-ranking spy run by the U.S. during the Cold War.

By Sandra Grimes, Jeanne Vertefeuille,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Circle of Treason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While there have been other books about Aldrich Ames, Circle of Treason is the first account written by CIA agents who were key members of the CIA team that conducted the intense "Ames Mole Hunt." Sandra Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille were two of the five principals of the CIA team tasked with hunting one of their own and were directly responsible for identifying Ames as the mole, leading to his arrest and conviction.

One of the most destructive traitors in American history, CIA officer Aldrich Ames provided information to the Soviet Union that contributed to the deaths of at least…


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