10 books like Night Soldiers

By Alan Furst,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Night Soldiers. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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I Worked Alone

By Lily Sergueiew,

Book cover of I Worked Alone: Diary of a Double Agent in World War II Europe

As the title of this book indicates, Lily Sergueiew was a double agent during World War II. She volunteered to become a spy for the Germans although she never intended to fulfill that role. She was determined to fight the Germans in her own way – as a double agent in the employ of the British. Sergueiew kept a diary of her activities from when she first approached the Germans until she quit working for the British in late June 1944. After the war, Sergueiew used her diaries to write a memoir in French. Before her death in 1950, she translated her memoir into English, and most of it was published posthumously in France in 1966 and in England in 1968. I recommend this book because it provides insight into why a young woman would choose to fight against the Germans who occupied her beloved France, the training that she…

I Worked Alone

By Lily Sergueiew,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During World War II Nathalie ""Lily"" Sergueiew, a woman of mystery, confidently seduced the German Intelligence Service into employing her as a spy against their British enemy. Little did they know that this striking woman - who turned heads when she walked into a room with her little dog Babs - would in reality work with their enemy against them. Her diary chronicles her years as a double agent for the British from 1940-1945 under the code name Treasure. From the moment she conceived the idea of becoming a double agent, Lily faced challenges on two fronts: first, she had…


The London Cage

By Helen Fry,

Book cover of The London Cage: The Secret History of Britain's World War II Interrogation Centre

Intelligence was collected in multiple ways by all sides during World War II. The British housed German prisoners at a site called the London Cage, which was located in an upper-class London neighborhood. The London Cage was later used as a Nazi war criminal detention site. While in residence, the German prisoners underwent interrogation, in some cases what we would now call “enhanced interrogation” and in others while under the influence of “truth drugs.” As Fry’s book reveals, the post-9/11 “enhanced interrogations” were not the first of its kind. I recommend this book because it demonstrates the lengths to which governments, in this case the British government, would go during wartime to gather actionable intelligence about an enemy.

The London Cage

By Helen Fry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The first complete account of the fiercely guarded secrets of London's clandestine interrogation center, operated by the British Secret Service from 1940 to 1948

Behind the locked doors of three mansions in London's exclusive Kensington Palace Gardens neighborhood, the British Secret Service established a highly secret prison in 1940: the London Cage. Here recalcitrant German prisoners of war were subjected to "special intelligence treatment." The stakes were high: the war's outcome could hinge on obtaining information German prisoners were determined to withhold. After the war, high-ranking Nazi war criminals were housed in the Cage, revamped as an important center for…


Destination Casablanca

By Meredith Hindley,

Book cover of Destination Casablanca: Exile, Espionage, and the Battle for North Africa in World War II

This is an exciting new book by Meredith Hindley. Instead of Humphrey Bogart and Rick’s Café, this book features interesting real people, such as the famous singer Josephine Baker, who, although not members of armed forces, still did their part to help the Allied cause. After conducting extensive research in archives and secondary sources, Hindley crafted an engaging narrative in which she connects exiles who gathered information about the Germans with the fight for control of North Africa and the Mediterranean. I recommend this book because it provides a human dimension to the story of the Battle for North Africa.

Destination Casablanca

By Meredith Hindley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the summer of 1940, following France's surrender to Germany, Casablanca was transformed from an exotic travel destination to a key military target. Nazi agents and collaborators soon overran the city looking to capitalize on the new Vichy regime. The resistance was not far behind, as bartenders, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, celebrities, and disgruntled bureaucrats formed a network of Allied spies. Meanwhile, Jewish refugees from Europe flooded the city, hoping to obtain visas to the United States and beyond.

In November 1942, Casablanca's wartime fate changed in 74 hours, when 33,000 American soldiers stormed the beaches of French Morocco as part…


The Message

By Mai Jia,

Book cover of The Message

The Message is a novel about five codebreakers and one traitor. Set in China during World War II when the Chinese resistance challenged the Japanese backed puppet government, this is a complex counterintelligence novel, written by a Chinese storyteller, who is no stranger to the Chinese intelligence services. By telling the same story from two different perspectives, Mai Jia, as a colleague recently suggested, intentionally problematized the truth because both versions were plausible. I recommend this book because it provides insight into the multilayered intelligence story of wartime China, it is one of the few books on this topic, and it was written in China and published outside of the country with permission from the government.

The Message

By Mai Jia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A dazzling literary thriller set in Japan-occupied China from the most translated Chinese novelist of our time.

China, 1941.

At the height of the Second World War, Japan rules over China. In Hangzhou, a puppet government propped up by the Japanese wages an underground war against the Communist resistance.

Late one night, five intelligence officers, employed as codebreakers by the regime, are escorted to an isolated mansion outside the city. The secret police are certain that one of them is a communist spy. None of them is leaving until the traitor is unmasked.

It should be a straightforward case of…


The Innocent

By Ian McEwan,

Book cover of The Innocent

Though not thought of as an espionage writer, McEwan uncorks a fine, suspenseful novel based on two true stories of Cold War intrigue. Set in mid-1950s Berlin, it speaks, as the title implies, of a loss of innocence, both professionally and personally, of a British engineer caught up in a dangerous web of uncertain loyalties and unexpected violence. (Why are the best espionage novels set in WWII or the Cold War? Most spying is done now through satellites and electronic eavesdropping. It’s hard to write a good book with a satellite as the main character.)

The Innocent

By Ian McEwan,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Innocent as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The setting is Berlin. Into this divided city, wrenched between East and West, between past and present; comes twenty-five-year-old Leonard Marnham, assigned to a British-American surveillance team. Though only a pawn in an international plot that is never fully revealed to him, Leonard uses his secret work to escape the bonds of his ordinary life -- and to lose his unwanted innocence. The promise of his new life begins to be fulfilled as Leonard becomes a crucial part of the surveillance team, while simultaneously being initiated into a new world of love and sex by Maria, a beautiful young German…


The Kill Artist

By Daniel Silva,

Book cover of The Kill Artist

I consider Daniel Silva hands-down the best spy thriller author. I’ve enjoyed Brad Thor, Jack Higgins, and the others, but Silva’s Gabriel Allon novels are so engrossing I have to keep turning pages to see what happens. There’s an even balance of believable suspense and action, no overuse of complicated weaponry or armaments, and a protagonist who’s human, suffering defeats personal and professional in his exploits. They can be read out of order but for a complete understanding of the important backstory, I recommend starting with The Kill Artist.

The Kill Artist

By Daniel Silva,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Kill Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wily old Israeli intelligence chief recalls former agents in order to eliminate top Palestinian terrorist. One agent is now an art restorer, the other a fashion model. Ten years before on a mission to destroy the Arab Black September group they were briefly lovers. Now their pasts and their enemies come back to haunt them, as the terrorist murders ambassadors in Paris and Holland. Will the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks be his next target? And what motivates the terrorist? Is it politics, or is it possibly personal? Set mainly in London, but with forays into Paris, Amsterdam, the Middle East and…


The Secret Lovers

By Charles McCarry,

Book cover of The Secret Lovers: A Paul Christopher Novel

Almost criminally neglected, McCarry is the greatest American espionage writer. After serving for ten years as an elite deep-cover agent for the CIA, no one could better write of the “long, twilight struggle” of the Cold War. McCarry doesn’t write thrillers, but spare, character-driven stories about spies and the morally treacherous world in which they work. The Secret Lovers is an absorbing tale of betrayal and a relentless, perilous search for truth. McCarry’s masterpiece.

The Secret Lovers

By Charles McCarry,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Minutes after the handoff, the courier’s spine is neatly snapped by an impact with a passing black sedan. Meanwhile in Rome, Christopher's wife Cathy takes a famous film director as a lover to stir her husband out of the stoicism that defines his personality. These two seemingly discrete events set in motion a spiral of operational and personal intrigue that leads Christopher from meetings with an aging agent in the cafes of old Europe to a rendezvous with an operative on the front lines of the Cold War in the Congo as he secretly arranges the publication of a novel…


Funeral in Berlin

By Len Deighton,

Book cover of Funeral in Berlin

Though Deighton has gone on to write several hugely popular and better-known spy stories, none of them beats Funeral In Berlin for sheer fun. Narrated by its nameless, smart-ass protagonist, who works for an obscure and underfunded British intelligence agency, the book has all the Cold War suspense, plot twists, and dubious characters you could wish for. Swiftly paced and told with great irreverent humor, it’s terrific entertainment.

Funeral in Berlin

By Len Deighton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A ferociously cool Cold War thriller from the author of The Ipcress File.

Len Deighton's third novel has become a classic, as compelling and suspenseful now as when it first exploded on to the bestseller lists.

In Berlin, where neither side of the wall is safe, Colonel Stok of Red Army Security is prepared to sell an important Russian scientist to the West - for a price. British intelligence are willing to pay, providing their own top secret agent is in Berlin to act as go-between. But it soon becomes apparent that behind the facade of an elaborate mock funeral…


Thunderball

By Ian Fleming,

Book cover of Thunderball

I have to mention either John Le Carre or Ian Fleming. I’ll go for guilty pleasure over great mastery. I haven’t read this since I was a kid. But I loved it back then. The Bond of the books is more realistic and complex than the cartoon character of the movies but, don’t worry, this isn’t a tale of gritty realism. A lot of fun and a great way to dispose of a few hours of excess reality.

Thunderball

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

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


Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

By John Le Carré,

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

What is it like to be a spy? John le Carré spent decades working for the British Secret Intelligence Service. He offers readers true insider details about spycraft—the operational methods, the clashes, and turf wars, the choreography of secret missions and extra-legal actions, the consequences if they fail, the high toll on agents in the field. But more than anything, the story is built on fascinating characters, drawn with elegant prose and sterling dialogue. Among them is one of my favorites in any genre, the quietly brilliant George Smiley. If you’ve read the book and want more (or haven’t read it, though I think you’d love it), try the mini-series with Alec Guinness. It captures some of the novel’s magic. I can’t resist rewatching it every few years. 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

By John Le Carré,

Why should I read it?

3 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…


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