100 books like The Fist of God

By Frederick Forsyth,

Here are 100 books that The Fist of God fans have personally recommended if you like The Fist of God. 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 A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

Merle Nygate Author Of The Righteous Spy

From my list on spy books that spies read and sometimes wrote themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve written and script edited in a lot of different genres, from factual drama to sitcom, children’s TV to fantasy. I’ve always loved spy stories, and I’ve always wanted to write one. Recently, at the University of East Anglia I studied for an MA in Crime Fiction, and that’s where I finally got the chance to study espionage and write a spy novel myself. I hope you enjoy my selection of books if you haven’t already read them. Or even if you have. They’re all so good that I feel like re-reading them right now. 

Merle's book list on spy books that spies read and sometimes wrote themselves

Merle Nygate Why did Merle love this book?

This is a non-fiction book but it reads like a novel and explores one of the great mysteries of the spy world: how on earth did Kim Philby manage to betray not only his country but also his friends over so many years? 

A former spy I had the privilege of interviewing described Philby as a shit, so maybe there’s the answer. I think this is a terrific read, and although Macintyre probably isn’t a spy, like Deighton, he knows them. 

By Ben Macintyre,

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked A Spy Among Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kim Philby was the most notorious British defector and Soviet mole in history. Agent, double agent, traitor and enigma, he betrayed every secret of Allied operations to the Russians in the early years of the Cold War.

Philby's two closest friends in the intelligence world, Nicholas Elliott of MI6 and James Jesus Angleton, the CIA intelligence chief, thought they knew Philby better than anyone, and then discovered they had not known him at all. This is a story of intimate duplicity; of loyalty, trust and treachery, class and conscience; of an ideological battle waged by men with cut-glass accents and…


Book cover of The War of the Worlds

Jools Cantor Author Of The Trellis

From my list on real-life time machines through sci fi.

Why am I passionate about this?

Science fiction lets us readers escape into space or travel through time, but I believe it is most effective when grounded in our primal anxieties. Classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and The Handmaid’s Tale resonate because the dark futures they describe drive us to prevent their prophecy. These stories give us a window into the world that birthed them by crystalizing the authors' fears into a work of fiction. When I read each book on this list, they transported me to the time they were written. En route, they showed how much our world has changed and how much we humans haven’t.

Jools' book list on real-life time machines through sci fi

Jools Cantor Why did Jools love this book?

I don’t know what I was expecting when I decided to cross this book off my “should have read a long time ago” list, but right off the bat, the narrator is riffing on humanity’s destruction of its own planet and Europe’s extermination of indigenous groups across the world, and asking if we can really blame the Martians for giving us a taste of our own medicine.

Written in 1898 as the Victorian age waned and the new century loomed, Wells weaves all sorts of still-relevant commentary between the gripping action and horror. Whether it’s the suicidal religious fervor of the curate, the terror of total war and mechanized murder, or societal breakdown as London evacuates, the 1890s had things to say that never stopped being relevant. Maybe we’ll finally sort them out in the next 130 years.

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked The War of the Worlds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

But planet Earth was not only being watched - soon it would be invaded by monstrous creatures from Mars who strode about the land in great mechanical tripods, bringing death and destruction with them. What can possibly stop an invading army equipped with heat-rays and poisonous black gas, intent on wiping out the human race? This is one man's story of that incredible invasion, from the time the first Martians land near his home town, to the destruction of London. Is this the end of human life on Earth?


Book cover of Lords of the Desert: The Battle Between the United States and Great Britain for Supremacy in the Modern Middle East

Louise Burfitt-Dons Author Of Our Man In Kuwait

From my list on spies in the Middle East.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a thriller writer who was born and grew up in Kuwait during a period when the country was threatened with invasion by Iraq. My father was the Preventative Health Officer for the Kuwait Oil Company. At the end of 1960 Ian Fleming visited the country and they became close friends. At the time Britain depended on inside information to prepare for military Operation Vantage. The experiences I had of that time and of that relationship, even as a child, were crying out to be written about. Despite the Middle East being a hotspot for espionage during that period of the Cold War, there’s been relatively little written about it.

Louise's book list on spies in the Middle East

Louise Burfitt-Dons Why did Louise love this book?

This book sums up so much of what went on in the Middle East from the Second World War onwards. As such, James Barr lifts the curtain on British plotting and intrigue in a most readable and thrilling way. It details how America got involved in the middle decades of the twentieth century and much of the rivalry that existed during this period between the secret services. Essential reading to understand some of the present-day political ramifications of the region.

By James Barr,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Lords of the Desert as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A path-breaking history of how the United States superseded Great Britain as the preeminent power in the Middle East, with urgent lessons for the present day

We usually assume that Arab nationalism brought about the end of the British Empire in the Middle East -- that Gamal Abdel Nasser and other Arab leaders led popular uprisings against colonial rule that forced the overstretched British from the region.

In Lords of the Desert, historian James Barr draws on newly declassified archives to argue instead that the US was the driving force behind the British exit. Though the two nations were allies,…


Book cover of Absolute Friends

Allen Kent Author Of The Shield of Darius

From my list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Four of my formative years were spent in Iran and England where I became intrigued by the history and politics that shaped the Middle East. An avid reader, I was intrigued by how effectively international thrillers, particularly those by British authors, captured the mystery, complexity, and murky ambiguities of global politics. When I launched a second career as a writer, I committed to using international thrillers as a vehicle for exposing readers to other peoples and cultures and to the unending moral dilemmas that shape our political world. My aspiration is to present those stories as effectively and provocatively as the five writers recommended in my list! 

Allen's book list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers

Allen Kent Why did Allen love this book?

I am a devout LeCar fan and find him both a master writer and storyteller—perhaps the most “literary” of the great spy/thriller authors. A later and often overlooked LeCar gem, published in 2003, Absolute Friends details in captivating prose the development over four decades of British double-agent Ted Mundy and his friend (handler) Sasha. You can’t read LeCarré without getting the feeling that he really understood how the whole clandestine community operated! Absolute Friends is one of LeCarré’s most revealing in terms of his own attitudes about espionage, political ideologies, and their moral ambiguities. 

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'One of his most enthralling creations' Daily Telegraph

Broke and working as a tour guide in Germany, rootless Englishman Ted Mundy catches a glimpse of an old friend hiding in the shadows. A friend he thought was lost to him. A friend who took him from radical 1960s Berlin to life as a double agent. Now, decades later, the Cold War is over and the war on terror has begun. Sasha has another mission for them both, but this time it is impossible to tell the difference between allies - and enemies.

Set in a world of lies and shifting…


Book cover of On Wings of Eagles

Allen Kent Author Of The Shield of Darius

From my list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Four of my formative years were spent in Iran and England where I became intrigued by the history and politics that shaped the Middle East. An avid reader, I was intrigued by how effectively international thrillers, particularly those by British authors, captured the mystery, complexity, and murky ambiguities of global politics. When I launched a second career as a writer, I committed to using international thrillers as a vehicle for exposing readers to other peoples and cultures and to the unending moral dilemmas that shape our political world. My aspiration is to present those stories as effectively and provocatively as the five writers recommended in my list! 

Allen's book list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers

Allen Kent Why did Allen love this book?

I spent several of my teen years living in Iran, so had a personal interest in what happened to Americans during and after the Shah’s removal from power. Although Follett is best known for his epic Kingsbridge Series and thrillers such as Eye of the Needle, this non-fiction piece is as tense and engaging as much of his fiction. It details the efforts of a team assembled by Ross Perot to rescue two of his top EDS executives from Iranian captivity after a series of diplomatic efforts fail. Though this isn’t Follett’s finest prose and does seem to lionize Ross Perot, it is a great example of how factual tales of courage and ingenuity can be as engaging as the best thriller fiction. The descriptions of Tehran and the Iran/Turkish frontier are spot-on.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On Wings of Eagles is the thrilling novel based on the incredible real-life rescue of two Americans by a Green Beret colonel and a group of corporate executives from revolutionary Iran, from number one bestseller Ken Follett.

A Terrifying Prison
As Iran descends into revolution, two Americans get caught up in the upheaval. They are captured and held in a heavily guarded fortress. Their situation is desperate, with the US government refusing to get them out. But all hope is not lost . . .

A Daring Rescue
This is the fictionalised real-life story of a Green Beret colonel, who…


Book cover of The Matarese Circle

Allen Kent Author Of The Shield of Darius

From my list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Four of my formative years were spent in Iran and England where I became intrigued by the history and politics that shaped the Middle East. An avid reader, I was intrigued by how effectively international thrillers, particularly those by British authors, captured the mystery, complexity, and murky ambiguities of global politics. When I launched a second career as a writer, I committed to using international thrillers as a vehicle for exposing readers to other peoples and cultures and to the unending moral dilemmas that shape our political world. My aspiration is to present those stories as effectively and provocatively as the five writers recommended in my list! 

Allen's book list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers

Allen Kent Why did Allen love this book?

It’s too easy when reading Ludlum to get caught up in the Bourne Trilogy and overlook the author’s other great political thrillers. For me, The Matarese Circle best captures a theme that appears in most of Ludlum’s work – “We shouldn’t always trust our own intelligence community.”  

In The Matarese Circle, two disaffected covert agents—one American and one Soviet—team up to identify members of an international league of assassins bent on achieving world domination to promote commercial gain. This corpse-laden, globetrotting chase is one of Ludlum’s finest. 

By Robert Ludlum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A former director of the KGB and the West's most professional assassin join forces against a common enemy, the Matarese Circle.


Book cover of The Confidential Agent: An Entertainment

Allen Kent Author Of The Shield of Darius

From my list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers.

Why am I passionate about this?

Four of my formative years were spent in Iran and England where I became intrigued by the history and politics that shaped the Middle East. An avid reader, I was intrigued by how effectively international thrillers, particularly those by British authors, captured the mystery, complexity, and murky ambiguities of global politics. When I launched a second career as a writer, I committed to using international thrillers as a vehicle for exposing readers to other peoples and cultures and to the unending moral dilemmas that shape our political world. My aspiration is to present those stories as effectively and provocatively as the five writers recommended in my list! 

Allen's book list on underrated gems by master spy/thriller writers

Allen Kent Why did Allen love this book?

Graham Greene is another master craftsman of thriller novels that explore political, moral, and ethical ambiguities in a way that both entertains and provokes. Better known for Our Man in Havana, Greene was sufficiently uncomfortable with The Confidential Agent that he wanted it published under a pseudonym. Yet I agree with critics that this tale of a foreign agent’s covert efforts to buy British coal to fuel a European civil war is among his best. Greene reputedly wrote it in six weeks, assisted by a diet of amphetamines and an affair with his landlady’s daughter, giving the novel a pace and rawness that reflect its creation.  

By Graham Greene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

He was sent to England to buy coal - at almost any price. Failure meant defeat - defeat of a continental government with a civil war on its hands. And this man carried the war with him, trusted by no man, trusting nobody.


Book cover of The Ax

Jay Bonansinga Author Of Return to Woodbury

From my list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran novelist who believes this over all else: The opening is everything. This has been my modus operandi as a storyteller for over thirty books, as well as a half dozen screenplays. I love a great opening. It is how a reader or viewer will subconsciously decide whether they will devote themselves to a story. It is the first kiss. The first shot over the bow. The ignition, the countdown, and the launch. It is the alpha and omega… because the beginning dictates the ending. Oh my, how I love the beginning! 

Jay's book list on thrillers that begin with a bang

Jay Bonansinga Why did Jay love this book?

Donald Westlake was the consummate professional, a writer’s writer with more than a hundred novels to his credit. 

Specializing in crime fiction, he created the blockbuster Parker series and was so prolific he needed a half a dozen pseudonyms just to avoid competing with himself in the marketplace. This book is his masterpiece. Period. Full stop. And if the first sentence doesn’t grab you, nothing will:

I’ve never actually killed anybody before, murdered another person, snuffed out another human being.

So let the games begin!

By Donald E. Westlake,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The multi-award-winning, widely-acclaimed mystery master Donald E. Westlake delivers a masterpiece with this brilliant, laser-sharp tale of the deadly consequences of corporate downsizing.

Burke Devore is a middle-aged manager at a paper company when the cost-cutting ax falls, and he is laid off. Eighteen months later and still unemployed, he puts a new spin on his job search -- with agonizing care, Devore finds the seven men in the surrounding area who could take the job that rightfully should be his, and systematically kills them. Transforming himself from mild-mannered middle manager to ruthless murderer, he discovers skills ne never knew…


Book cover of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

Jay Bonansinga Author Of Return to Woodbury

From my list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran novelist who believes this over all else: The opening is everything. This has been my modus operandi as a storyteller for over thirty books, as well as a half dozen screenplays. I love a great opening. It is how a reader or viewer will subconsciously decide whether they will devote themselves to a story. It is the first kiss. The first shot over the bow. The ignition, the countdown, and the launch. It is the alpha and omega… because the beginning dictates the ending. Oh my, how I love the beginning! 

Jay's book list on thrillers that begin with a bang

Jay Bonansinga Why did Jay love this book?

"The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted." 

It’s more than a creepy opening sentence; it’s a mission statement from the Master of the Macabre, the Poet of the Paranormal, the Chaucer of Chills. It encapsulates what Stephen King does so well – a plucky little girl gets lost in the woods, a shadowy presence stalking her, and something dark, magical, and miraculous emerging from the girl’s soul. 

This short novel is so riveting, you will finish it in one sitting.

By Stephen King,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the master of horror and suspence, Stephen King, comes a pop-up adaptation of one of his bestselling novels.; Trisha MacFarland had no idea what was in store for her when she wandered away from her mother and brother on a family hike! Readers will travel with Trisha on her journey of horror, where she has only her witts for navigation, her ingenuity as a defence against the elements, and her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fear. For solace, during this terrifying journey, Trisha tuned in her walkman to listen to the broadcasts about her hero, the Red…


Book cover of Dirty White Boys

Jay Bonansinga Author Of Return to Woodbury

From my list on thrillers that begin with a bang.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran novelist who believes this over all else: The opening is everything. This has been my modus operandi as a storyteller for over thirty books, as well as a half dozen screenplays. I love a great opening. It is how a reader or viewer will subconsciously decide whether they will devote themselves to a story. It is the first kiss. The first shot over the bow. The ignition, the countdown, and the launch. It is the alpha and omega… because the beginning dictates the ending. Oh my, how I love the beginning! 

Jay's book list on thrillers that begin with a bang

Jay Bonansinga Why did Jay love this book?

Stephen Hunter’s crime fiction masterpiece, Dirty White Boys, begins with a sentence lovingly detailing the villain’s genitals. 

I assure you this opening is in no way gratuitous or prurient; it signals that we’re in for a wild ride, informing us that only “…three men at McAlester State Penitentiary had larger penises than Lamar Pye….” 

Pye is one of the great literary villains of all time – racist, crude, violent, and cruel… and smart as a whip. And the tone here is pitch-dark hillbilly noir. If you’re brave enough to read this book it will live in your imagination for the rest of your life. 

By Stephen Hunter,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dirty White Boys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Three convicts on the run with an arsenal of weaponry and only one rogue cop can stop them. Lamar Pye has escaped from Oklahoma State Penitentiary, accompanied by his idiot cousin and a vicious, but cowardly artist. To have stayed in prison was certain death, but his chances on the outside are not much greater: his excesses know no bounds - one killing follows another. But one murder brings his nemesis upon him: Bud Pewtie of the Highway of the Highway Patrol loses his partner in a blood-soaked shoot-out with Lamar, and from that moment on, nothing will stop him…


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