100 books like The Mask of Dimitrios

By Eric Ambler,

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

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Book cover of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

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?

A gem of a book and another one that I read again and again. It’s not just the wonderful writing and the moody atmosphere; I love the way that le Carré explores the moral ambiguity in spying during this early part of the Cold War.

I read an interview in which le Carré talked about the pleasure of secrecy and enjoying the feeling that you know something that others don’t. I get that "I’ve got a secret" idea and I’ve used that thought in my own work. Le Carré was also a spy.

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Spy Who Came in From the Cold 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 Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Our Kind of Traitor; and The Night Manager, now a television series starring Tom Hiddleston.

The 50th-anniversary edition of the bestselling novel that launched John le Carre's career worldwide

In the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse-a desk job-Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered…


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. . . .


Book cover of I Am Pilgrim

David Putnam Author Of The Ruthless

From my list on Crime with deep character and stories.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my career in law enforcement, I worked in narcotics, violent crimes, criminal intelligence, hostage rescue, SWAT, and internal affairs, to name just a few. I am the recipient of many awards and commendations for heroism. The Sinister is the ninth novel in the best-selling Bruno Johnson Crime series, following The Disposables, The Replacements, The Squandered, The Vanquished, The Innocents, The Reckless, The Heartless, and The Ruthless. I live in the Los Angeles area with my wife, Mary.

David's book list on Crime with deep character and stories

David Putnam Why did David love this book?

I struggled to put this book on a crime novel list, but this is one of my favorite books of all time. At its heart, it’s a spy novel. It makes the list because the main character hunts bad agents–the internal affairs of the CIA.

The book opens with a murder crime scene in New York. If you haven’t heard about this book, it’s a true phenomenon. Many times, during book signings, I’ve been asked by readers if I knew of this book and how much they absolutely loved it. More importantly, though, they wanted me to tell them when the sequel was coming out. This book came out in 2014, and the sequel came out this year, ten years later. It garners 95k reviews on Amazon, which alone tells you all you need to know.

By Terry Hayes,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked I Am Pilgrim as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The astonishing story of one man's breakneck race against time to save America from oblivion.
_______________
A FATHER PUBLICLY BEHEADED. Killed in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A YOUNG WOMAN DISCOVERED. All of her identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.

A SYRIAN BIOTECH EXPERT FOUND EYELESS. Dumped in a Damascus junkyard.

SMOULDERING HUMAN REMAINS. Abandoned on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.

PILGRIM. The codename for a man who doesn't exist. A man who must return from obscurity. The only man who can uncover a flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
_____________

'The plot twists…


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 Spies of Warsaw

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?

Reading a novel by Alan Furst is like seeing Casablanca for the first time, if it were written by Hemingway. There’s that same evocative atmosphere of people smoking cigarettes, having affairs, making sophisticated remarks, while looming over them is the war. Furst mines a narrow niche. All of his books are set in Europe either during World War Two or in the Thirties, with the war threatening. The protagonist here is Colonel Mercier, military attaché at the French embassy in Warsaw. Mercier must navigate the salons and alleyways of Warsaw against all manner of spies and German agents. The book is also an exploration of love in a desperate time through Mercier’s affair with the beautiful Anna, a Polish lawyer. It’s very good. Furst is always good. 

By Alan Furst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An Autumn evening in 1937. A German engineer arrives at the Warsaw railway station. Tonight, he will be with his Polish mistress; tomorrow, at a workers' bar in the city's factory district, he will meet with the military attache from the French embassy. Information will be exchanged for money. So begins The Spies of Warsaw, with war coming to Europe, and French and German operatives locked in a life-and-death struggle on the espionage battlefield. At the French embassy, the new military attache, Colonel Jean-Francois Mercier, a decorated hero of the 1914 war, is drawn in to a world of abduction,…


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 Kolymsky Heights

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?

Written in 1994 after the collapse of the USSR, it is a spy story, but much more than that, a Homeric quest. A letter is smuggled out of Siberia, addressed to Jonny Porter, a Canadian of indigenous extract and who is then recruited by the CIA to go into Russia, posing as a Korean sailor to undertake a rescue mission. Porter’s journey into Russia is layered with unremitting tension as near his final destination, his identity is discovered, and he is hunted across the frozen tundra by Soviet forces.

Kolymsky Heights is my first port of call when I’m preparing to write my novels. It is a masterclass in plotting and immersing the reader into a world and country we still know so little about. Davidson is a very underrated writer and deserves a wider audience, this is the perfect introduction to his work.

By Lionel Davidson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Kolymsky Heights. A Siberian permafrost hell lost in endless night, the perfect setting for an underground Russian research station. One so secret it doesn't officially exist. Once there, scientists cannot leave. But someone has got a message out to the West - a message summoning the only man alive capable of achieving the impossible.'One of the most powerful thrillers I have ever read'Michael James, The Times'A breathless story of fear and courage' Daily Telegraph'A tremendous thriller' Observer


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 Bosphorus: The Ultimate Guide

Lisa Morrow Author Of Inside Out In Istanbul

From my list on exploring and understanding Istanbul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on exploring and understanding Istanbul

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

Tonguç is probably Turkey’s most famous travel guide and Yale is the former writer of the Turkey Lonely Planet guide. Together they’ve written a beautifully put-together guide to the Bosphorus, the watery strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and the Golden Horn. Each entry includes the history and images of neighbourhoods along the waterway, but it’s the quirky anecdotes, nostalgia, and personal photographs, combined with exhaustive coverage of every park, palace, mansion, fountain, mosque, church, synagogue, and other examples of architectural majesty found in them that makes this guide invaluable.

By Saffet Emre Tonguç, Pat Yale,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is among the most accurate and elaborative work about the Bosphorus. Alongside the exclusive, unseen photos from the most famous waterside mansions, it provides up-to-date information about the Bosphorus from one side to another. Asian and European sides being the two main chapters of the book, it takes you on a step by step Bosphorus tour that covers not only the touristic spots, but also the hidden treasures of the city only known by the locals. The 348 page guidebook written by Saffet Emre Tonguc and Pat Yale after months of preparation is an excellent work devoted to…


Book cover of Turkish Letters

Lisa Morrow Author Of Inside Out In Istanbul

From my list on exploring and understanding Istanbul.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Sydney, Australia born sociologist and writer and back in 1990 I hitchhiked through the UK, travelled in Europe and arrived in Turkey just as the Gulf War was starting. After three months in the country I was hooked. I now live in Istanbul and write about the people, culture, and history. Using my less than perfect Turkish language skills I uncover the everyday extraordinary of life in modern Istanbul even though it means I’ve accidentally asked a random stranger to give me a hug and left a butcher convinced I think Turkish sheep are born with their heads on upside down.

Lisa's book list on exploring and understanding Istanbul

Lisa Morrow Why did Lisa love this book?

Living in a world where we can look at images of places we’re planning to travel without even going there means it’s easy to forget the importance of letters sent from foreign countries. Especially ones as well written as these. Ogier De Busbecq was an ambassador for the Hapsburg Empire in the court of Suleyman the Magnificent in the 16th century, but his observations, comments, and snippets of gossip read like he was in Istanbul last month. He had a keen eye for detail and nothing escaped his notice – palace machinations, dirty politics, and even prison conditions, gleaned from the time he spent incarcerated.

By Ogier De Busbecq,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Intelligent but unpretentious, gossipy yet honest, inquiring and unprejudiced - de Busbecq is the sort of man we would all like to meet on our travels. As Habsburg ambassador to the 16th-century court of Suleyman the Magnificent he missed nothing: the intrigue of Roxelana at court, the unloading of Spanish prisoners of war, the yoghurt diet of country Turks, the brutal realities of 16th-century realpolitik, and the charming, but expensive, habit of being wecomed with gifts of flowers by Janissary guardsmen. De Busbecq brings Constantinople, at the heyday of Ottoman power, bursting into life. This is eyewitness history at its…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Istanbul, the Cold War, and espionage?

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