100 books like Kolymsky Heights

By Lionel Davidson,

Here are 100 books that Kolymsky Heights fans have personally recommended if you like Kolymsky Heights. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ 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 Constant Gardener

Robert Craven Author Of A Kind of Drowning

From my list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of six espionage books, 5 featuring allied spy, Eva Molenaar operating at the highest levels of Hitler’s Reich. The 6th The Road of a Thousand Tigers, is my homage to le Carre and Ian Fleming. I have loved the spy genre since I first read The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers and grew up seeing every Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun at the cinema.

Robert's book list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers

Robert Craven Why did Robert love this book?

Published in 2001, The Constant Gardener is my favorite le Carre Novel. A British diplomat in Nairobi, Justin Quayle, is informed his activist wife, Tess has been killed in a remote part of Kenya along with a doctor friend. As Quayle investigates her life (in a similar way to Eric Ambler unfolds Dimitrios’s life), he uncovers her work exposing large pharmaceutical companies’ unethical experiments in the poorest regions of Africa. This leads to her brutal death and cover-up at a diplomatic and political level. It is an exceptional book that makes you rethink how medicine and the industry behind it operates. After the collapse of the USSR, le Carre seemed to struggle with his work, The Constant Gardener though, kick-started another two decades of great writing from him.

By John Le Carré, John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Constant Gardener as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The book breathes life, anger and excitement' Observer

Tessa Quayle, a brilliant and beautiful young social activist, has been found brutally murdered by Lake Turkana in Nairobi. The rumours are that she was faithless, careless, but her husband Justin, a reserved, garden-loving British diplomat, refuses to believe them. As he sets out to discover what really happened to Tessa, he unearths a conspiracy more disturbing, and more deadly, than he could ever have imagined.

A blistering expose of global corruption, The Constant Gardener is also the moving portrayal of a man searching for justice for the woman he has barely…


Book cover of The Mask of Dimitrios

Andrew Kaplan Author Of Blue Madagascar

From my list on spy thrillers that are about more than spies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I never planned to be a spy thriller writer. One day an editor suggested I write genre fiction. “Pick a genre you read just for fun,” he said. For me, that was spy novels. I had some background (military intelligence, journalist in Europe, Africa, etc.) and John Le Carré had shown that spy novels could be serious fiction. An encounter in the Amazon jungle sparked my first spy thriller, Hour of the Assassins. Then came Scorpion, Homeland, and the rest. What’s the attraction? Intelligence agents lie better than most because their lives depend on it. But if you dig hard enough, you get small truths. Big ones too.

Andrew's book list on spy thrillers that are about more than spies

Andrew Kaplan Why did Andrew love this book?

Eric Ambler was the first author to write with realism and authenticity about the world of spies. His work often features ordinary people who are not criminals or professional spies, but who suddenly find themselves caught up in that murky world. In this novel, while in Turkey, mystery writer Charles Latimer meets Colonel Haki, who shows him the body of a notorious criminal, Dimitrios, in the Istanbul morgue. Intrigued and sensing a story, Latimer investigates Dimitrios’ career, which will turn out to be a lot more intriguing and dangerous than anything he bargained for. Ambler’s thrillers keep you on the edge and this one, which includes a ride on the Orient Express, will have you furiously turning the pages. Dimitrios set the standard for every spy thriller that followed. 

By Eric Ambler,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of From Russia, With Love

Robert Craven Author Of A Kind of Drowning

From my list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of six espionage books, 5 featuring allied spy, Eva Molenaar operating at the highest levels of Hitler’s Reich. The 6th The Road of a Thousand Tigers, is my homage to le Carre and Ian Fleming. I have loved the spy genre since I first read The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers and grew up seeing every Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun at the cinema.

Robert's book list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers

Robert Craven Why did Robert love this book?

From Russia with Love is a short book and is set at the early stages of the cold war. It shakes up the norm by spending close to a quarter of the opening of the novel describing Donald ‘Red’ Grant’s evolution from Irish thug to Russia’s leading spy killer. Bond is targeted by SMERSH to be eliminated by Grant and the lure; a SPEKTOR coding machine that British Intelligence are keen to get hold of. The final showdown between Grant and Bond on a train is a masterclass in tension and violence, like Eric Ambler, Fleming captures Europe and its mindset, this time in its post-war paranoia. It is my favorite Bond book. For me, Fleming never bettered it. 

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked From Russia, With Love as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's no better time to rediscover James Bond.

SMERSH, the Russian intelligence unit, is hell-bent on destroying Special Agent James Bond.

His death would deal a hammer blow to the heart of The British Secret Service.

The lure? The chance for 007 to bring the Spektor decoding machine from Istanbul to London, and for the British to take the upper hand in a chilling new front of the Cold War.

So begins a deadly game of bluff and double bluff, with Bond a marked man as he enters the murky world of Balkan espionage.

'Bond is a hero for all…


Book cover of London Rules

Robert Craven Author Of A Kind of Drowning

From my list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of six espionage books, 5 featuring allied spy, Eva Molenaar operating at the highest levels of Hitler’s Reich. The 6th The Road of a Thousand Tigers, is my homage to le Carre and Ian Fleming. I have loved the spy genre since I first read The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers and grew up seeing every Bond movie since The Man with the Golden Gun at the cinema.

Robert's book list on spies, spying and cold war thrillers

Robert Craven Why did Robert love this book?

This book certainly made me stop and think about how I write, and I have altered my style since. Set in modern-day London, the Slow Horses (failed MI6 operatives forced to work in Slough House) under the tutelage of Jackson Lamb eke out a futile existence. The heads of MI6 hope the demeaning work will make them walk away and leave the espionage world. Lamb is one of the great characterizations, a burnt-out spy who still has acres of tradecraft and protects his team against the outside forces at a political and international level. A string of random terrorist attacks around the UK seem to tie in with a show-boating politician riding the Brexit wave and the team goes rogue to find out the connection. A book as far away from Bond as possible but brilliantly written and plotted.

By Mick Herron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked London Rules 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*

'The best thriller writer in Britain today' Sunday Express

At Regent's Park, the Intelligence Service HQ, new First Desk Claude Whelan is learning the job the hard way.

Tasked with protecting a beleaguered Prime Minister, he's facing attack from all directions: from the showboating MP who orchestrated the Brexit vote, and now has his sights set on Number Ten; from the showboat's wife, a tabloid columnist, who's crucifying Whelan in print; and especially from his own deputy, Lady Di Taverner, who's alert for Claude's every stumble. Meanwhile, the country's being rocked by…


Book cover of Russia and the Idea of Europe: A Study in Identity and International Relations

Andrei P. Tsygankov Author Of Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity

From my list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Russian academic living in the West and a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. I move between the two and try to build bridges by explaining the two sides’ differences and areas of potential cooperation. I do it in my teaching and research on international politics, which I understand through the lens of culture and politics. Most of my books analyze Russian and Western patterns of thinking formed through history and interaction with each other. I love reading good books about these topics and hope you enjoy my selected list!

Andrei's book list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War

Andrei P. Tsygankov Why did Andrei love this book?

Russia has historically connected to Europe as its significant other. This book describes the nature of the country’s identity development through the love-hate relations with European nations and search for recognition by Western other. Sometimes, Russia has sought to borrow Europe’s institutions and values. Other times, it has positioned itself as a great power and a superior system of internal values relative to “corrupt” Europe. 

By Iver B. Neumann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Russia and the Idea of Europe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The end of the Soviet system and the transition to the market in Russia, coupled with the inexorable rise of nationalism, brought to the fore the centuries-old debate about Russia's relationship with Europe. In this revised and updated second edition of Russia and the Idea of Europe, Iver Neumann discusses whether the tensions between self-referencing nationalist views and Europe-orientated liberal views can ever be resolved.

Drawing on a wide range of Russian sources, this book retains the broad historical focus of the previous edition and picks up from where the it off in the early 1990s, bringing the discussion fully…


Book cover of Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development

John Philipp Baesler Author Of Clearer Than Truth: The Polygraph and the American Cold War

From my list on Russia in Western eyes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in West Germany, surrounded by American soldiers and with a father who had escaped communist East Germany, the Cold War always fascinated me. What was it about? Would it ever end? When it did, it took everybody by surprise. This lesson, that nothing is certain and that history can always make a turn when you least expect it, stayed with me as I pursued my degrees in history, first in Heidelberg and then at Indiana University Bloomington. As an immigrant to the United States, I study the United States from the outside and the inside. How Americans see themselves, and how they see others, is my main interest that I keep exploring from different angles.

John's book list on Russia in Western eyes

John Philipp Baesler Why did John love this book?

American observers were endlessly fascinated by Russia long before the Cold War began and before supposed Russian election interference became a news item. However, they could never make up their minds about what made the Russian people tick. In this eye-opening book, David Engerman shows how American journalists, diplomats, and social scientists romanticized and ridiculed Russian peasants, praised or condemned the attempts by the Tsar and the Bolsheviks to modernize Russia by force, and marbled at the Russian “national character.” Engerman in a masterly fashion reveals how prejudices have shaped American views of Russia.

By David C. Engerman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Modernization from the Other Shore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the late nineteenth century to the eve of World War II, America's experts on Russia watched as Russia and the Soviet Union embarked on a course of rapid industrialization. Captivated by the idea of modernization, diplomats, journalists, and scholars across the political spectrum rationalized the enormous human cost of this path to progress. In a fascinating examination of this crucial era, David Engerman underscores the key role economic development played in America's understanding of Russia and explores its profound effects on U.S. policy.

American intellectuals from George Kennan to Samuel Harper to Calvin Hoover understood Russian events in terms…


Book cover of Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century and the Shadow of the Past

Andrei P. Tsygankov Author Of Russia's Foreign Policy: Change and Continuity in National Identity

From my list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Russian academic living in the West and a contributor to both Western and Russian academia. I move between the two and try to build bridges by explaining the two sides’ differences and areas of potential cooperation. I do it in my teaching and research on international politics, which I understand through the lens of culture and politics. Most of my books analyze Russian and Western patterns of thinking formed through history and interaction with each other. I love reading good books about these topics and hope you enjoy my selected list!

Andrei's book list on Russia’s foreign policy after the Cold War

Andrei P. Tsygankov Why did Andrei love this book?

Russia’s foreign policy has followed different historical trajectories and relations with the outside world. This excellent collection of works by historians and social scientists focuses on the long “shadows of the past” as a lens through which to assess the country’s international behavior and moments of transformation. The explored themes include the impact of Russian foreign policy on domestic political structures, imperial identity, geographic settings, position within the global economy, and others. 

By Robert Legvold,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Russian Foreign Policy in the Twenty-First Century and the Shadow of the Past as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Because the turbulent trajectory of Russia's foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union echoes previous moments of social and political transformation, history offers a special vantage point from which to judge the current course of events. In this book, a mix of leading historians and political scientists examines the foreign policy of contemporary Russia over four centuries of history. The authors explain the impact of empire and its loss, the interweaving of domestic and foreign impulses, long-standing approaches to national security, and the effect of globalization over time. Contributors focus on the underlying patterns that have marked Russian…


Book cover of The Charm School

David Michael Dunaway Author Of Angry Heavens: Struggles of a Confederate Surgeon

From my list on celebrating an author’s literary style.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a lifetime, passionate reader. During the summer vacations, my brother and I would often ride with our father to his job in downtown Mobile and walk to Mobile Public Library, where we would spend all day exploring and reading. Well-written novels with remarkable but believable characters—such as those I've noted here are my passion. I have included novels in my list where I can identify personally with the protagonist. My list of books is varied. They have one thing in common: believable characters who struggle with life—authored by legitimate wordsmiths. When I wrote Angry Heavens as a first-time novelist, it was my history as a reader that I used as a writer.

David's book list on celebrating an author’s literary style

David Michael Dunaway Why did David love this book?

The Charm School was written at the height of the Cold War and is the story of a young American aspiring to drive a Pontiac Trans Am into and across Russia. After not many days of arduous travel—after all Russian roads and gasoline access points were not built for a Pontiac Trans Am muscle car of the 1960s—he accidentally comes across a Russian village unlike any he has seen thus far—a village far into the pinewoods that looked as if it had been plucked out of New England America with its residents speaking perfect American English free of Russian accents and filled with typical Americanisms. He knows he must reach the American Embassy in Moscow and alert the CIA station chief.  

Given the current state of affairs with Russia, there may not be a more informative book to read. The Charm School is simply the #1 spy novel ever written.…

By Nelson DeMille,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"True master" and #1 New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille presents a chilling, relentlessly suspenseful story of Cold War espionage perfect for fans of the hit FX show The Americans (Dan Brown).

On a dark road deep inside the Russian woods at Borodino, a young American tourist picks up an unusual passenger with an explosive secret: an U.S. POW on the run from "The Charm School," a sinister operation where American POWs teach young KBG agents how to be model U.S. citizens. Their goal? To infiltrate the United States undetected. With this horrifying conspiracy revealed, the CIA sets an…


Book cover of The Korean War

Roger Hermiston Author Of Two Minutes to Midnight: 1953 - The Year of Living Dangerously

From my list on understanding the Korean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

Roger Hermiston is a writer of contemporary history books that are underpinned by rigorous scholarship, enhanced by a journalist’s eye, and driven by exciting storytelling. One of his books – All Behind You, Winston – Churchill’s Great Coalition 1940-45 told the story of the often-overlooked men (and two women) who helped steer Britain to wartime victory on the Home Front. But two of his other books – The Greatest Traitor and, just out, Two Minutes to Midnight – explore the early years of the Cold War, in the 1950s. In both the Korean War features prominently – in the first, from the perspective of a group of ‘high value’ prisoners held captive by the North Koreans, and in the second, from the view of President Eisenhower and his colleagues as they contemplated using tactical A-bombs to hasten the end of the conflict.

Roger's book list on understanding the Korean War

Roger Hermiston Why did Roger love this book?

This is the perfect primer for anyone trying to get an understanding of the Korean War. It is a concise history (just 96 pages) but is packed with essential information, laying out the background to the conflict before chronologically guiding the reader through the main battles, with clear portraits of the main protagonists along the way.

By Carter Malkasian,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Korean War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The Korean War was a significant turning point in the Cold War. This volume explains how the conflict in a small peninsula in East Asia had a tremendous impact on the entire international system and the balance of power between the two superpowers, America and Russia.


Book cover of The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories

Lee Polevoi Author Of The Confessions of Gabriel Ash

From my list on the Cold War told in the first person.

Why am I passionate about this?

I read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for the first time many years ago, while traveling aboard a Canadian National Railway train from Montreal to British Columbia. Something about the contrast between the majestic Canadian Rockies and the dark alleys of John Le Carré’s Berlin brought the Cold War fully to life and set me on the path to writing a novel of my own set during that time. (Living through some of those tense years of superpower stand-offs didn’t hurt.) Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is told in third-person, but many Cold War novels written in the first person do a masterful job of evoking that troubled era. 

Lee's book list on the Cold War told in the first person

Lee Polevoi Why did Lee love this book?

This group of interconnected stories—set mostly in Russia and Chechnya—take place before, during, and after the Cold War. In the opening story, “The Leopard,” Anthony Marra perfectly captures the suffocating terror of life under Stalin. 

The narrator is a disillusioned Soviet censor whose job is editing images of disgraced victims of Stalinist show trials out of official photographs and despoiling many other works of art for propaganda purposes.

Lines between work and life start to blur. The censor finds it increasingly hard to discern fact from fiction.

Things turn deadly when he himself becomes a victim and the truth (as he knows it) becomes irrelevant in the struggle against counter-revolutionaries.

From these troubled origins the Cold War began. The ability to discern truth from falsehood seems in our present times more pressing than ever.

By Anthony Marra,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

*** A Granta Best of Young American Novelists 2017 ***

The Tsar of Love and Techno begins in 1930s Leningrad, where a failed portrait artist employed by Soviet censors must erase political dissenters from official images and artworks. One day, he receives an antique painting of a dacha inside a box of images due to be altered. The mystery behind this painting threads together the stories that follow, which take us through a century and introduce a cast of characters including a Siberian beauty queen, a young soldier in the battlefields of Chechnya, the Head of the Grozny Tourist Bureau,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Cold War, Russia, and Siberia?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Cold War, Russia, and Siberia.

The Cold War Explore 244 books about the Cold War
Russia Explore 365 books about Russia
Siberia Explore 43 books about Siberia