100 books like Dogs of War

By Frederick Forsyth,

Here are 100 books that Dogs of War fans have personally recommended if you like Dogs of War. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The War for Africa: Conflict, Crime, Corruption and Foreign Interests

Sean McFate Author Of The New Rules of War: How America Can Win--Against Russia, China, and Other Threats

From my list on mercenaries from a former military contractor.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Sean McFate is an expert on international relations and a former military contractor. He is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington DC think tank, and a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Syracuse University's Maxwell School, and the National Defense University. He began his career as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. 

Sean's book list on mercenaries from a former military contractor

Sean McFate Why did Sean love this book?

A difficult book to find, but worth it. Barlow was the founder of Executive Outcomes or “EO,” the (in)famous mercenary corporation based out of South Africa in the 1990s. Now decommissioned, no other private military company has since rivaled EO’s power. When I worked in Africa, I would look to the EO alumnae network for talent. That and former French Foreign Legionnaires. In this memoir, Barlow reflects on his time as a private military commander, his missions, what he’s learned. It’s not prose but it is honest, and the best window into today’s market for force.


This book is currently not available on Bookshop.org or Amazon.

By Eeben Barlow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The War for Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of The Wonga Coup: Guns, Thugs, and a Ruthless Determination to Create Mayhem in an Oil-Rich Corner of Africa

Alex Finley Author Of Victor in the Rubble

From my list on adventures in Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have traveled throughout Africa and had the great opportunity to live in West Africa for two years, while I was working for the CIA. That experience was wild and challenging, but also transforming. West Africa became the setting for my first novel, Victor in the Rubble, because I loved the absurdity and adventure I experienced there, where nothing is logical but everything makes sense. I have read a number of novels that take place in different parts of Africa, as well as a wide array of nonfiction books about various African countries, their history, and their leaders. There are so many great stories there that pique my interest and inspire me.

Alex's book list on adventures in Africa

Alex Finley Why did Alex love this book?

This is a true story that reads like a geopolitical spy thriller, with reckless mercenaries, colorful dictators, and money, money, money.

This is one of the first books I ever read about outsiders looking to take advantage of Africa’s natural resources and the havoc that wreaks.

It revealed to me some of the darkest realities of Africa, the ruthlessness of some leaders, the ubiquitous corruption, and the desire of profiteers to take advantage of it all.

By Adam Roberts,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Equatorial Guinea is a tiny country roughly the size of the state of Maryland. Humid, jungle covered, and rife with unpleasant diseases, natives call it Devil Island. Its president in 2004, Obiang Nguema, had been accused of cannibalism, belief in witchcraft, mass murder, billiondollar corruption, and general rule by terror. With so little to recommend it, why in March 2004 was Equatorial Guinea the target of a group of salty British, South African and Zimbabwean mercenaries, travelling on an American-registered ex-National Guard plane specially adapted for military purposes, that was originally flown to Africa by American pilots? The real motive…


Book cover of The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage, and Fear in the Cyber Age

Sean McFate Author Of The New Rules of War: How America Can Win--Against Russia, China, and Other Threats

From my list on mercenaries from a former military contractor.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Sean McFate is an expert on international relations and a former military contractor. He is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington DC think tank, and a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Syracuse University's Maxwell School, and the National Defense University. He began his career as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. 

Sean's book list on mercenaries from a former military contractor

Sean McFate Why did Sean love this book?

There are cyber mercenaries too. Called “hackback” companies, they are illegal, offshore hackers who hack the hackers. While they cannot retrieve hacked material, they can cause a world of hurt for anyone who tries to hack you, and that’s why they matter: deterrence. CEOs and others around the world sometimes turn to hackback firms to make them hard targets. Also, countries like the United Arab Emirates hire former NSA hackers. New York Times reporter details some of this industry in his book about cyberwar. Like many in cyberspace, his claims are often sensationalized, but his reportage cannot be beat.

By David E. Sanger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From Russia's tampering with the US election to the WannaCry hack that temporarily crippled the NHS, cyber has become the weapon of choice for democracies, dictators, and terrorists.

Cheap to acquire, easily deniable, and used for a variety of malicious purposes - from crippling infrastructure to sowing discord and doubt - cyberweapons are re-writing the rules of warfare. In less than a decade, they have displaced terrorism and nuclear missiles as the biggest immediate threat to international security and to democracy.

Here, New York Times correspondent David E. Sanger takes us from the White House Situation Room to the dens…


The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

Book cover of The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

John Winn Miller

New book alert!

What is my book about?

The Hunt for the Peggy C is best described as Casablanca meets Das Boot. It is about an American smuggler who struggles to rescue a Jewish family on his rusty cargo ship, outraging his mutinous crew of misfits and provoking a hair-raising chase by a brutal Nazi U-boat captain bent on revenge.

During the nerve-wracking 3,000-mile escape, Rogers falls in love with the family’s eldest daughter, Miriam, a sweet medical student with a militant streak. Everything seems hopeless when Jake is badly wounded, and Miriam must prove she’s as tough as her rhetoric to put down a mutiny by some of Jake’s fed-up crew–just as the U-boat closes in for the kill.

The Hunt for the Peggy C: A World War II Maritime Thriller

By John Winn Miller,

What is this book about?

John Winn Miller's THE HUNT FOR THE PEGGY C, a semifinalist in the Clive Cussler Adventure Writers Competition, captures the breathless suspense of early World War II in the North Atlantic. Captain Jake Rogers, experienced in running his tramp steamer through U-boat-infested waters to transport vital supplies and contraband to the highest bidder, takes on his most dangerous cargo yet after witnessing the oppression of Jews in Amsterdam: a Jewish family fleeing Nazi persecution.

The normally aloof Rogers finds himself drawn in by the family's warmth and faith, but he can't afford to let his guard down when Oberleutnant Viktor…


Book cover of The Italian Wars 1494-1559: War, State and Society in Early Modern Europe

Sean McFate Author Of The New Rules of War: How America Can Win--Against Russia, China, and Other Threats

From my list on mercenaries from a former military contractor.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Sean McFate is an expert on international relations and a former military contractor. He is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a Washington DC think tank, and a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, Syracuse University's Maxwell School, and the National Defense University. He began his career as a paratrooper and officer in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division. 

Sean's book list on mercenaries from a former military contractor

Sean McFate Why did Sean love this book?

What would a world awash in mercenaries look like? Like medieval northern Italy, which was the Afghanistan of its day. Back then, mercenaries were how you fought wars, and anyone who could swipe a check could wage war no matter how absurd or petty. Aristocrats, city-states, and popes routinely hired mercenaries. When I wrote The New Rules of War, I spent three months digging through the archives in Florence, Bologna, and other city-states to understand how the dynamics of private warfare worked. For those who want a feel of the times, try this rare book by famed historian Mallett. It was his last book, finished by Shaw after he died.

By Christine Shaw, Michael Mallett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Italian Wars 1494-1559 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Italian Wars 1494-1559 outlines the major impact that these wars had, not just on the history of Italy, but on the history of Europe as a whole. It provides the first detailed account of the entire course of the wars, covering all the campaigns and placing the military conflicts in their political, diplomatic, social and economic contexts.

Throughout the book, new developments in military tactics, the composition of armies, the balance between infantry and cavalry, and the use of firearms are described and analysed. How Italians of all sectors of society reacted to the wars and the inevitable political…


Book cover of Casino Royale

Eric Coulson Author Of The Chrysalis Option

From my list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been in love with London and the UK since I started reading British thrillers over 40 years ago. When I finally had the chance to live in London as a US diplomat, I was able to see so many of those places that had filled my imagination for years. I have my JD from Southern Illinois University. I have worked for the US Army and the US State Department. I now support my wife Karen, who is a US Diplomat.

Eric's book list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain

Eric Coulson Why did Eric love this book?

Every Bond book has a London connection. You could put almost any Bond book on this list, but I chose this one because it is the first.

I feel a sense of connection to the protagonist and the city because this is where the missions originate. Even as the story plays out in northern France, communication with London is key, and I feel it.

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Casino Royale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the novel that introduced James Bond to the world, Ian Fleming’s agent 007 is dispatched to a French casino in Royale-les-Eaux. His mission? Bankrupt a ruthless Russian agent who’s been on a bad luck streak at the baccarat table.

One of SMERSH’s most deadly operatives, the man known only as “Le Chiffre,” has been a prime target of the British Secret Service for years. If Bond can wipe out his bankroll, Le Chiffre will likely be “retired” by his paymasters in Moscow. But what if the cards won’t cooperate? After a brutal night at the gaming tables, Bond soon…


Book cover of Slow Horses

Bruce Borgos Author Of The Bitter Past

From my list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved peculiar heroes and heroines. Characters with strange gifts and an equal number of challenges. It started with Sherlock Holmes, whose mind fascinated me. As a child, I gravitated to the unnatural protagonist, Tarzan, in the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels and Bilbo Baggins in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a big fan of Superman, I preferred people who adapted quickly to new surroundings and could think on their feet. Once I began my writing career, I kept those protagonists in my mind. Four novels in, I do my best to capture their spirit and determination to overcome whatever lands in front of them.

Bruce's book list on a protagonist who has extraordinary capabilities

Bruce Borgos Why did Bruce love this book?

I loved this book because it’s about misfits. In this case, misfits who are spies. Spies who have screwed up and disgraced themselves and their masters at the British Secret Service. They’re led by the disheveled and malodorous Jackson Lamb, who is so smart he disdains everyone around him.

He and the Slow Horses get all the bad assignments, but I loved how each of them possessed special skills and a desire to redeem themselves. I think Mick Herron is the master of humorous spy fiction!  

By Mick Herron,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Slow Horses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*Now a major TV series starring Gary Oldman*

'To have been lucky enough to play Smiley in one's career; and now go and play Jackson Lamb in Mick Herron's novels - the heir, in a way, to le Carre - is a terrific thing' Gary Oldman

Slough House is the outpost where disgraced spies are banished to see out the rest of their derailed careers. Known as the 'slow horses' these misfits have committed crimes of drugs and drunkenness, lechery and failure, politics and betrayal while on duty.

In this drab and mildewed office these highly trained spies don't run…


Book cover of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Eric Coulson Author Of The Chrysalis Option

From my list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been in love with London and the UK since I started reading British thrillers over 40 years ago. When I finally had the chance to live in London as a US diplomat, I was able to see so many of those places that had filled my imagination for years. I have my JD from Southern Illinois University. I have worked for the US Army and the US State Department. I now support my wife Karen, who is a US Diplomat.

Eric's book list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain

Eric Coulson Why did Eric love this book?

I love the sense of intimacy in this book.

The characters are flawed and detailed against the backdrop of London and Great Britain. It is a classic of the genre and really takes you back to the pre-internet and pre-fall of the USSR. It really captures what it was like to live in those times.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Legacy of Spies.

The 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…


Book cover of All the Queen's Men

Eric Coulson Author Of The Chrysalis Option

From my list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been in love with London and the UK since I started reading British thrillers over 40 years ago. When I finally had the chance to live in London as a US diplomat, I was able to see so many of those places that had filled my imagination for years. I have my JD from Southern Illinois University. I have worked for the US Army and the US State Department. I now support my wife Karen, who is a US Diplomat.

Eric's book list on espionage and intrigue in Great Britain

Eric Coulson Why did Eric love this book?

I love this book because it takes you behind the scenes of the Palace and what goes on there.

Located in the very heart of London, I could not get around the city without going by the Palace. This book connects you to what is happening unseen and brings that intrigue home. It really completes the London experience for me.

By SJ Bennett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked All the Queen's Men as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Sheer entertainment… Bennett infuses wit and an arch sensibility into her prose… This is not mere froth, it is pure confection.” — New York Times Book Review on The Windsor Knot

Amateur detective Queen Elizabeth II is back in this hugely entertaining follow-up to the bestseller The Windsor Knot, in which Her Majesty must determine how a missing painting is connected to the shocking death of a staff member inside Buckingham Palace.

At Buckingham Palace, the autumn of 2016 presages uncertain times. The Queen must deal with the fallout from the Brexit referendum, a new female prime minister, and a…


Book cover of A Good Man in Africa

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Author Of The Lizard

From my list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having been born in Fiji and lived in Cyprus, Austria, and Nigeria, I have always had a strong sense of wanderlust and a keen eye for my surroundings – both natural and man-made. I’ve always been open to "what might happen next," which makes sense as to why I became a professional storyteller – an actor, writer, and director. I am thrilled by not knowing what lies ahead, and I’ve always felt there is possible adventure at every turn in life, which is why I am so fond of the evocative and thrilling books I have listed.

Dugald's book list on thrillers with beautiful settings and mind-blowing twists

Dugald Bruce-Lockhart Why did Dugald love this book?

Set in the fictitious West African country of Kinjanja, the hapless exploits of an ill-fated British High Commission delegate in the wrong place at the wrong time left me exhausted from laughing out loud so hard.

It’s a sliding-door adventure thriller about the comic yet tragic downfall of a good man trying to do his best in the face of unrelenting adversity. I read it while living in Nigeria (Kinjanja is a cross between Ghana and Nigeria) and found it to be the perfect fusion of exotic location and sense of place, combined with a headlong descent into mayhem and madness.

By William Boyd,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Good Man in Africa as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A funny first novel about the misadventures surrounding Morgan Leafy, a young, overweight, oversexed British diplomat in West Africa. The book won the 1981 Whitbread Literary Award and the 1982 Somerset Maugham Award.


Book cover of Eye of the Needle

Ann Hagedorn Author Of Sleeper Agent: The Atomic Spy in America Who Got Away

From my list on bringing you close to what deeply drives people to become spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing narrative nonfiction books is, for me, quite an adventure. My quest is to discover remarkable stories of deep significance and find answers to long-lingering questions, such as why a spy was never caught. For my six books, I have travelled worldwide to interview key players, dig through archives, and see first-hand the stories’ settings. With master’s degrees in journalism (Columbia University) and library science (University of Michigan), I use the research skills of both professions. Designing the best story structure is my passion because that’s the bridge writers must construct to artfully deliver true stories to readers. And I am inspired by reading excellent books.

Ann's book list on bringing you close to what deeply drives people to become spies

Ann Hagedorn Why did Ann love this book?

I have read this novel twice and will undoubtedly read it again. It’s captivating because of the suspenseful plot and the perfect story structure, which is my favorite part of writing books.

The reality of the WWII challenges that the main players must face is gripping. It’s a reminder of how courage springs forth when fear is so overwhelming that there is no other choice but to be brave and do things you never believed you could do.

That is true for the Nazi spy who usually killed anyone who got in his way and for the woman who risked her life to, indeed, get in his way. Why he became a spy and why she tried to stop him are superbly revealed.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Eye of the Needle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The worldwide phenomenon from the bestselling author of The Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, A Column of Fire, and The Evening and the Morning

His code name was "The Needle." He was a German aristocrat of extraordinary intelligence-a master spy with a legacy of violence in his blood, 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. . . .


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Africa, mercenary groups, and espionage?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Africa, mercenary groups, and espionage.

Africa Explore 251 books about Africa
Mercenary Groups Explore 14 books about mercenary groups
Espionage Explore 551 books about espionage