100 books like The Spies of Warsaw

By Alan Furst,

Here are 100 books that The Spies of Warsaw fans have personally recommended if you like The Spies of Warsaw. 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

David L. Robbins Author Of War of the Rats

From my list on love and war and describing both battlefields.

Who am I?

I’ve penned (so far) seventeen novels, most set during some historical conflict or other, all of them revolving around intense personal relationships (loyalty, love, betrayal, those sorts of profound truths). I tend to read the sorts of books I wish to write. I also teach creative writing at a university (VCU); I tell my students that if they want to really know what a character is made of, shoot at them or have them fall in love. In my own work, I do both.

David's book list on love and war and describing both battlefields

David L. Robbins Why did David love this book?

The Cold War is the war I was born into. No writer has chronicled the competition between superpowers better than LeCarre.

When Alec Leamas falls for Liz, he’s not aware of the depth of his feelings until she’s murdered as a pawn in the great game between Russia and the West. The revenge he seeks and the resolution he acquires are among LeCarre’s best efforts.

I was riveted to every scene. 

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

13 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 The Talented Mr. Ripley

Annette Joseph Author Of The Killer Menu: A Delicious Tale of Food, Family and Murder

From my list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic.

Who am I?

I am Annette Joseph, a writer and food stylist. I spend most of the year at our twelfth-century fortress in northern Tuscany. I have written six books, three cookbooks, and two memoirs about life in Italy. We run private retreats on the grounds. My book My Italian Guestbook is based on these retreats. Writing about everything around me in Italy gives me great pleasure.

Annette's book list on mystery books with a beautiful aesthetic

Annette Joseph Why did Annette love this book?

A Classic. I have read it three times. I would read it a fourth time. It's a beautifully crafted book. The writing is masterful. As a writer, I can’t get enough.

Set in the most beautiful places in Italy. This book transports you to another time. It’s a delicious read. If you have not read it, you must. If you have read it,  you must reread it; like a fine wine, it only becomes better. 

By Patricia Highsmith,

Why should I read it?

18 authors picked The Talented Mr. Ripley as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's here, in the first volume of Patricia Highsmith's five-book Ripley series, that we are introduced to the suave Tom Ripley, a young striver seeking to leave behind his past as an orphan bullied for being a "sissy." Newly arrived in the heady world of Manhattan, Ripley meets a wealthy industrialist who hires him to bring his playboy son, Dickie Greenleaf, back from gallivanting in Italy. Soon Ripley's fascination with Dickie's debonair lifestyle turns obsessive as he finds himself enraged by Dickie's ambivalent affections for Marge, a charming American dilettante, and Ripley begins a deadly game. "Sinister and strangely alluring"…

Book cover of Fatherland

Luciana Cavallaro Author Of Search for the Golden Serpent

From my list on fantasy that blends the past and the imaginary.

Who am I?

In my teens, I read a book by Charles Berlitz titled Atlantis: the lost continent. I was enthralled and fascinated about this lost race of people, who were technically and sophisticated advance society and on one fateful day, vanished. My appetite for Greek mythology and ancient history grew from there, and I wanted to learn more about various ancient cultures and their mythologies. I eventually studied ancient history and continue my education as new archaeological discoveries and advancements are made. It wasn’t until a trip to Europe and seeing the Roman Forum and Colosseum, that I was inspired to write and combine my love for mythology and ancient history into historical fiction fantasy.

Luciana's book list on fantasy that blends the past and the imaginary

Luciana Cavallaro Why did Luciana love this book?

Fatherland was the first book I read by Robert Harris and from then on, I’ve read all his books except his latest publication.

The novel is an alternative history narrative, the plot a murder mystery set in Nazi Germany in the 1950s. Yes, you read that right. What if Hitler won World War 2? The allies have negotiated a treaty with Hitler and the world is a very different place.

The main character, Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, investigates the death of an old man and as he delves into the murder, he discovers a conspiracy that involves the Gestapo.

I’ve recommended this book to friends and colleagues and all have enjoyed the story. While the setting is more contemporary than the other four titles, this is definitely worth reading.

By Robert Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The highest form of thriller . . . non-stop excitement' The Times


What if Hitler had won the war?

It is April 1964 and one week before Hitler's 75th birthday. Xavier March, a detective of the Kriminalpolizei, is called out to investigate the discovery of a dead body in a lake near Berlin's most prestigious suburb.

As March discovers the identity of the body, he uncovers signs of a conspiracy that could go to the very top of the German Reich. And, with the Gestapo just one step behind,…

Book cover of The Day of the Jackal

David Z. Pyke Author Of Rescuing Crockett

From my list on elements of historical adventure fiction.

Who am I?

My passion for historical adventure and Texas history stems from my heritage: I’m a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders. My great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the Immortal 32, the reinforcements from Gonzales who answered William Barret Travis's call for help, rode to San Antonio, and died in the Alamo on March 6, 1836. My relationship with words began in elementary school, where I read Beowulf and Dracula by the time I was 10 years old (probably explains a lot about me). I began writing for newspapers in 1975 and have been writing professionally ever since.

David's book list on elements of historical adventure fiction

David Z. Pyke Why did David love this book?

I chose this for authenticity. Newsday's review said it was "chillingly real" and "the reader himself seems to be traveling with 'the Jackal.'"

That’s because Forsyth, as a foreign correspondent working in Europe and Africa, knew assassins, mercenaries, and arms dealers, which allowed him to craft fantastic but believable characters, settings, and situations. Forsyth opens the novel with the depiction of a real assassination attempt, employs historical figures, locations, and details, then seamlessly weaves his fictional plot into this authentic world.

Forsyth reveals lives most of us can only imagine, and he shows that wall-to-wall suspense does not require wall-to-wall action, but is built on plausible intrigue, sustained tension, and excellent writing.

By Frederick Forsyth,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Day of the Jackal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Day of the Jackal is the electrifying story of the struggle to catch a killer before it's too late.

It is 1963 and an anonymous Englishman has been hired by the Operations Chief of the O.A.S. to murder General De Gaulle. A failed attempt in the previous year means the target will be nearly impossible to get to. But this latest plot involves a lethal weapon: an assassin of legendary talent.

Known only as The Jackal, this remorseless and deadly killer must be stopped, but how do you track a man who exists in name alone?

Book cover of Eye of the Needle

Jim Carr Author Of Femme Fatale

From my list on Cold War spies and secret agents.

Who am I?

When the war ended, we all felt the horrors of war were finally over. My cousins were back from Europe, and all seemed at peace once again. We were wrong. A few years later I was a young journalist editing stories about Soviet-held Berlin and how Russia stopped the West from sending food and even coal to residents in West Berlin. That was just the beginning.

Jim's book list on Cold War spies and secret agents

Jim Carr Why did Jim love this book?

Leave it to Follett to keep you in suspense from one chapter after another when a German agent operating in England discovers that the barracks and equipment on the coast are fakes and needs to get the information to German Intelligence.

The book’s title comes from the agent’s code name, The Needle, who uses a long needle to kill anyone. The book later became a movie in 1981. Ironically, only Hitler had the right guess where the invasion would take place. He was ignored by his generals.

I admire Follett’s great writing style. It’s fast-paced, with almost every chapter filled with suspense that keeps you guessing what’s happening next. A hard book to put down.

By Ken Follett,

Why should I read it?

5 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

Ephraim Author Of Requiem for Betrayal

From my list on international spy thrillers with cultural differences.

Who am I?

In the early 70s I was a pop singer/recording artist in Paris with a dinner show at a restaurant/discotheque/bar called Jacky’s Far West Saloon. Located in the trendy Montparnasse area, it was popular with the US embassy personnel. As such, it was also a magnet for spooks looking to score contacts with the Americans. I witnessed a lot of intrigue there, some of it major, most of it minor, and developed a passion for international espionage. I also developed a passion for international finance and went on to author or co-author ten books and over a hundred journal articles on the subject.  

Ephraim's book list on international spy thrillers with cultural differences

Ephraim Why did Ephraim love this book?

This book is long and complicated. With an expansive plot that doesn’t overwhelm or convoluted.

One of its great strengths is the accurate depiction of investigative techniques. I especially enjoyed seeing how espionage has changed since the cold war. It also draws attention to the problem of dealing with adversaries willing to die for their cause.

I also appreciated the objective treatment of the Muslim community and some insights into the causes of Muslim extremism.

By Terry Hayes,

Why should I read it?

9 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.

Who am I?

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.

Who am I?

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 Natchez Country: Indians, Colonists, and the Landscapes of Race in French Louisiana

Christian Pinnen Author Of Complexion of Empire in Natchez: Race and Slavery in the Mississippi Borderlands

From my list on race and slavery in colonial Mississippi Valley.

Who am I?

I am a historian of race and slavery in the lower Mississippi Valley because the region is a fulcrum of United States history. I was always fascinated by the significance of the Mississippi River for American expansion, society, and culture. Ultimately, this region of the country is so deeply influenced by people of African descent that must be included in all histories, and I wanted to share their stories in a particular place during the colonial period. Telling these stories in places where they have commonly been less well represented is very rewarding and it opens more ways to understand the histories of places like Natchez along the Mississippi River.

Christian's book list on race and slavery in colonial Mississippi Valley

Christian Pinnen Why did Christian love this book?

George Milne writes the definitive history of the Natchez people and how their encounter with the French changed the power dynamics in the lower Mississippi Valley in the eighteenth century. Milne draws on research in French archives to show how French and Natchez built a fragile cultural understanding based on misinterpretation of social and cultural cues. This book is very good at elaborating on the complicated relationships that often turned on questions of race, dominance, and submissiveness in the lower Mississippi Valley. It specifically highlights the way in which the Natchez people became aware of the way the French viewed them as racially inferior and in turn defined their own people as distinct from Europeans and Africans.

By George Edward Milne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

At the dawn of the 1700s the Natchez viewed the first Francophones in the Lower Mississippi Valley as potential inductees to their chiefdom. This mistaken perception lulled them into permitting these outsiders to settle among them. Within two decades conditions in Natchez Country had taken a turn for the worse. The trickle of wayfarers had given way to a torrent of colonists (and their enslaved Africans) who refused to recognize the Natchez's hierarchy. These newcomers threatened to seize key authority-generating features of Natchez Country: mounds, a plaza, and a temple. This threat inspired these Indians to turn to a recent…

Book cover of Pronoun Envy: Literary Uses of Linguistic Gender

Emilia Di Martino Author Of Celebrity Accents and Public Identity Construction: Analyzing Geordie Stylizations

From my list on language and identity and why it matters.

Who am I?

I am a professor of English Linguistics interested in all aspects of language, identity, society, and power. I grew up and live in Southern Italy, in the Naples area, except for extended summertime family visits to San Diego, Southern California. I alternate my reading and writing between books on language and identity (how we self-promote ourselves to the public through personal style and narratives, molding our public image in a way we believe most advantageous to us) and texts on language and society (how we as individuals do things with words and gather information about other people from the way they communicate) and how these aspects intersect with power issues.

Emilia's book list on language and identity and why it matters

Emilia Di Martino Why did Emilia love this book?

In 1971, in response to a protest by women students at the Harvard Divinity School against the masculine universal, the chair of Harvard’s linguistics department, Calvert Watkins, wrote a letter to Crimson, cosigned by other colleagues. Explaining the concept of ‘markedness,’ he contended there was “really no cause for anxiety or pronoun-envy on the part of those seeking such changes.” Anna Livia’s book─originally her PhD thesis at Berkeley, uses the controversial phrase as the departure point for an enlightening analysis of a wide range of English and French texts problematizing the traditional linguistic gender system. The study reveals that rather than stemming from undue envy, gendered language is justifiably at the core of feminist battles. How can we express ourselves fully if our identities are not adequately represented in discourse?

By Anna Livia,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this interdisciplinary book, Livia examines a broad corpus of written texts in English and French, concentrating on those texts which problematize the traditional functioning of the linguistic gender system. They range from novels and prose poems to film scripts and personal testimonies, and in time from the nineteenth century to the present. Her goal is to show that rather than being a case of misguided envy, battles over gendered language are central to feminist
concerns. This fresh and exciting scholarship will appeal to linguists and scholars in literary and gender studies.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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