The most recommended books about assassins

Who picked these books? Meet our 91 experts.

91 authors created a book list connected to assassins, and here are their favorite assassins books.
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Book cover of The Perfect Assassin

Jasmine Gower Author Of Moonshine

From my list on fantastical civic design.

Who am I?

Having previously worked in the Urban Affairs side of academia and drawing heavily on my own experience living in the city of Portland, OR while writing my book, Moonshine, I’ve become very interested in how fantasy authors find creative ways to incorporate the supernatural elements of the genre with the extremely mundane aspects of urban planning and civics. I find that the most immersive fantasy worlds are the ones that concern themselves with the gritty details of how their societies operate on a basic logistical level, and I think a well-written fantasy city can very much shine as a character in its own right.

Jasmine's book list on fantastical civic design

Jasmine Gower Why did Jasmine love this book?

Harsh environments provide a compelling opportunity for fantasy authors to explore how otherworldly magic or technology can help populations build functioning civilizations and survive in such conditions. The Perfect Assassins setting of Ghadid, a desert city built upon massive platforms that rise above the dunes, does exactly this with an ancient plumbing system that provides its residents with water that not only fills their cups but also fuels the magic of their healers. While the water supply allows the residents of Ghadid to survive in such a harsh climate, its limitations further inform how the city handles farming, commerce, medicine, its calendar, and—most pertinently to the story—the threat of malevolent spirits from the sands below.

By K. A. Doore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The assassins of Ghadid serve a higher power, dispensing justice in the shadows. Or so Amastan has been taught.

Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, fellow assassins are being killed off. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders. Even worse, the jaan of the murdered start roaming the dusty streets of Ghadid: restless spirits seeking any body to possess.

Time is running short, and Amastan must find this perfect assassin or become their next target.


Book cover of Takedown

Ian Coates Author Of Eavesdrop

From my list on page-turning assassin thrillers.

Who am I?

I worked in high-tech electronics for thirty years, specialising in the design of radio communication equipment. My first love, though, has always been books, particularly exciting page-turners about spies and assassins. Eavesdrop – my first thriller – brought those two worlds together, and “what-if” ideas from my professional life engendered the plot’s high-tech angle. I wrote the early drafts largely while on planes and in airport lounges during business trips, and in snatched moments before starting work each morning. It was exciting when Assent Publishing took it on and did such a great job of producing the thriller ready for you to read. I hope you enjoy it.

Ian's book list on page-turning assassin thrillers

Ian Coates Why did Ian love this book?

This is another book of heart-pounding excitement from first page to last. Lex Harper is an assassin used by the British government’s shady department called The Pool, which has the remit to work in unconventional ways to achieve its goals.

The main storyline relates to a rogue soldier who persuades ISIS to support his desire to launch an attack on British soil. When The Pool learns what is happening, they hire Harper to neutralise him.

I wouldn’t rank it as highly as my other favourite picks because I found a few parts of the plot rather unrealistic, but the never-ending action and excitement dragged me through the book at high speed, so I definitely still enjoyed it overall and award it a place among the others.

By Stephen Leather,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A heart-pounding new standalone thriller from Sunday Times bestselling author Stephen Leather. 'He has the uncanny knack of producing plots that are all too real, and this is no exception' (Daily Mail on First Response)

When a British Special Forces soldier goes rogue, carrying out an attack at a US army base in Syria leading to the death of two men, ex-MI5 controller Charlotte Button is hired to work out what his plan is and to take him down before he can carry it out.

Charlotte puts her best man on the case - hitman Lex Harper. It's up to…


Book cover of Libra

Geoffrey Fox Author Of Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune

From my list on fiction on revolutionary social change.

Who am I?

Chicago-born and now living in Spain, I was a community organizer in South America and the US before earning a PhD in sociology and becoming a college professor and author. I’ve written five nonfiction books and articles for publications including The New York Times, The Nation, Counterpunch, etc. Of my collection of short stories, Welcome to My Contri, the NY Times Book Review said that it “leaves us aware that we are in the presence of a formidable new writer.” In Rabble! I’ve called on my organizing experience as well as analysis and fiction to bring to life the actors in the first worker-run, self-governing society in the modern world.

Geoffrey's book list on fiction on revolutionary social change

Geoffrey Fox Why did Geoffrey love this book?

Libra is a chillingly realistic novel that re-imagines the assassination of John F. Kennedy. What particularly delighted me was the very realistic-sounding dialogue of the very dissimilar actors in the rambling, uncoordinated but ultimately successful conspiracy, including right-wing Aryan-nation types, non-ideological drifters desperate to leave a mark on history, and (in this version) mobsters and Cuban exile terrorists who blamed Kennedy for the "loss" of Cuba. DeLillo’s renderings of Jack Ruby’s mobster lingo, the uptight tersely coded grunts of the CIA men, the incoherencies of revolutionary wannabe Lee Harvey Oswald and others, are a model of dialogue for any fiction writer.  

By Don DeLillo,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A reconstruction of the events leading up to John Kennedy's assassination. The antihero of the book is, of course, Lee Harvey Oswald, who is as hauntingly real in this novel as he was elusive to us in real life.


The Ninja's Oath

By Tori Eldridge,

Book cover of The Ninja's Oath

Tori Eldridge Author Of The Ninja Daughter

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Ninja Hiker Love Boat Mermaid Mom

Tori's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja, Lily Wong travels to Shanghai in an explosive joint mission with her father’s former-triad cook, Lee Chang, and the infuriatingly alluring assassin J Tran.

As this uneasy trio hunts for Chang’s kidnapped twelve-year-old niece, they must also move Chang’s family out of their condemned home, a task complicated by the feud between brothers and the old resentments and intrigues entwined with the stunning history of Shanghai. Meanwhile, back home in Los Angeles, Lily’s father is hospitalized with an unknown disease, and Lily is shocked by the true identity of her ninja teacher, known only as Sensei, and the truth behind why he left Japan. Although fourth in the series, it can be read as a standalone thriller or introduction to Lily Wong.

The Ninja's Oath

By Tori Eldridge,

What is this book about?

The Ninja's Oath takes Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja, Lily Wong, to Shanghai in an explosive joint mission with her father's former-triad cook and the assassin J Tran. Get ready for the riveting next book in Tori Eldridge's bestselling Lily Wong series!

International action adventure ensues when Lily Wong—a Chinese-Norwegian modern-day ninja—travels from Shanghai to Japan to help family friend and former triad enforcer, Lee Chang, locate and rescue his kidnapped twelve-year-old niece while, back home in Los Angeles, her father’s health wanes.

Their mission is aided and complicated by an enigmatic assassin with a discomforting fascination for Lily. When the hunt…


Book cover of Assassin's Gambit

Anna Kashina Author Of Blades of the Old Empire

From my list on fantasy books about assassins.

Who am I?

I’ll start with my passion for the topic. I find it irresistible to think of a profession where people are the absolute best at what they do – not just weapons, but many different skills that enable them to plan, blend in, get around, and improvise. There is a brutal kind of selection in the assassins’ world that makes sure only the best of the best survive. Added to the rich backstories these people tend to have, with the conflicts and moral choices they face, assassins make for some of my favorite fiction characters. I have published seven novels, four of them assassin-themed, and I claim my expertise on the topic as a scientist, ballroom dancer, and student of martial arts.

Anna's book list on fantasy books about assassins

Anna Kashina Why did Anna love this book?

This book was originally marketed as a “romance for the fans of the Game of Thrones”, and it is one of the books I really enjoy. The main character, Vitala, is sent by her secret order of rebels to assassinate the powerful Emperor of Kjall. When she arrives at court, she is quickly dropped into a torrent of intrigue that makes her question everything she’d learned, including her own mission. 

This book is pure fun, from start to finish. From the assassins’ standpoint, Vitala is a refreshing one, because her powers come from a special skill she possesses rather than weaponry. In fact, most of the imperial guards, as well as the Emperor himself, are much more capable than her when it comes to combat, and yet in the end the danger she brings outpowers them all. This book taught me a lot about writing action, intrigue, and romance.

By Amy Raby,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Assassin's Gambit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vitala Salonius, champion of the warlike game of Caturanga, is as deadly as she is beautiful. She’s a trained assassin for the resistance, and her true play is for ultimate power. Using her charm and wit, she plans to seduce her way into the emperor’s bed and deal him one final, fatal blow, sparking a battle of succession that could change the face of the empire.

As the ruler of a country on the brink of war and the son of a deposed emperor, Lucien must constantly be wary of an attempt on his life. But he’s drawn to the…


Book cover of Fool's Fate

Isabel Hoving Author Of The Dream Merchant

From my list on showing that our world is a wildly different place.

Who am I?

My favorite books all show me that reality is much, much richer and stranger than it seems. And that is exactly what makes me write myself. Already as a child, I wanted the world to be different. I longed for the other, richer realities that were, I felt, just around the corner. So I started to travel, to Senegal and beyond, and learn about other people’s life experiences. When I became a researcher of world literature, it truly came home to me how one-sided my view of the world was. Ouch. Fortunately, there is a wealth of stories out there to tell us about everything we have been blind to. 

Isabel's book list on showing that our world is a wildly different place

Isabel Hoving Why did Isabel love this book?

There is so much to love, perhaps in the first place, the bond between tragic hero Fitz and the irresistible Fool. But even more moving is that the series shows you how deeply human beings can be bonded to non-human beings. The world is so much alive that even wood harbours intelligence; and even if human beings arrogantly fail to acknowledge it, there are more magnificent intelligent creatures around than human beings. This series makes me all the more aware of the broken beauty of our own nature, and the need to take good care of it.

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fool's Fate as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The triumphant conclusion to our three thrilling fantasy series, from the author of the bestselling Farseer and Liveship traders trilogies.

The triumphant conclusion to the tale of the Farseers, in which kingdoms must stand or fall on the beat of a dragon's wings, or a Fool's heart.

A small and sadly untried coterie - the old assassin Chade, the serving-boy Thick, Prince Dutiful, and his reluctant Skillmaster, Fitz - sail towards the distant island of Aslevjal. There they must fulfil the Narcheska's challenge to her betrothed: to lay the head of the dragon Icefyre, whom legends tell is buried there…


Book cover of Fool's Assassin

L. Darby Gibbs Author Of Dragon-Eyed Rogue

From my list on creating a sense of family with strangers.

Who am I?

I'm the product of a man who married more times than I like to admit to strangers and even family. We moved all the time. Those two elements in my life led me to run out the door immediately upon release from sorting my belongings from their thoroughly packed boxes. I made friends at once with everyone I came across. Who knew how long we’d live there? Over the years, I acquired deep friendships from around the U.S. and often daydreamed of them all being in the same place at once and loving the solidarity. It never happened, but it's a theme that runs through me. It’s what I like to write about.

L.'s book list on creating a sense of family with strangers

L. Darby Gibbs Why did L. love this book?

I stumbled upon this book. Thank goodness for that stumble.

So many outcasts trying to survive in a world not only rarely giving them notice, but when it does, it is in an active effort to destroy the poor devils.

As they find each other, and in some cases, redefine each other, they build new friendships and rebuild old ones, all in an effort to become who each was meant to be and do so as a family built from the challenges bent on destroying loyalty and love.

It is as much an adventure against the world as a journey to the self.

By Robin Hobb,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Fool's Assassin as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Fantasy as it ought to be written' George R.R. Martin

Tom Badgerlock has been living peaceably in the manor house at Withywoods with his beloved wife Molly these many years, the estate a reward to his family for loyal service to the crown.

But behind the facade of respectable middle-age lies a turbulent and violent past. For Tom Badgerlock is actually FitzChivalry Farseer, bastard scion of the Farseer line, convicted user of Beast-magic, and assassin. A man who has risked much for his king and lost more...

On a shelf in his den sits a triptych carved in memory stone…


Book cover of The Queen's Executioner

Sally Altass Author Of The Witch Laws: Book One of The Moon Magic Chronicles

From my list on fantasy sweeping you into a beautiful, scary world.

Who am I?

When I read, I’m not just seeing the words on a page; I’m escaping into the world crafted by the author. Since I was a child, I’ve always been a lover of fantasy – it was an escape for me to slip between the pages and be a part of the world inside them. Especially if they were beautiful and filled with hidden danger. I wanted to have my heart pound out of my chest, to have the thrill of magic, wonder, and fear. Now, I try to write those types of worlds; because of the books which inspired me. I only hope you love them as much as I do. 

Sally's book list on fantasy sweeping you into a beautiful, scary world

Sally Altass Why did Sally love this book?

The first book in an ever-growing world, The Queen’s Executioner introduces us to Daphne Holdfast. 

An immensely talented vision mage, Daphne is able to use her powers to speak to others, to manipulate others, and is unmatched when in combat. And she’s about to find out that her government and religion have been lying to her and the occupants of the Star Continent. Now, she’ll do whatever she can to save the people she loves. 

I fell in love with Daphne from the first introduction of her, and the Star Continent completely and utterly captivated me – from the tip of Kell to the deserts of the Holdings. Both beautiful and deadly in equal parts, depending on who you happened to bump into while roaming the lands. 

By Christopher Mitchell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rahain - a land where the mage-born rule and everyone else is expendable.

A slave, a politician and an assassin find themselves the unlikely heroes that could bring the republic to its knees.

Killop is a slave with a secret: his sister is a renegade Fire Mage. Hunted by the Rahain, her capture could lead to the death of thousands.

Laodoc is a politician who loves his country but has grown to hate many of its ancient traditions. He risks losing his family, his career and his liberty to fight for what he believes in.

Battle Mage Daphne Holdfast is…


Book cover of Mrs. Paine's Garage: And the Murder of John F. Kennedy

Gerald Posner Author Of Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK

From my list on who killed JFK.

Who am I?

I was in the fourth grade when JFK was assassinated. I grew up in the late 1960s as conspiracy theories about ‘who killed Kennedy’ flourished. Jack Ruby’s murder of Oswald made me suspect the mafia played a role. After Oliver Stone’s controversial 1991 JFK film, I convinced a publisher to allow me to reexamine the assassination. I did not expect to solve the case. Halfway through my research, however, I realized there was an answer to ‘who killed Kennedy.’ It was not what I had expected. I discovered that the story of how a 24-year-old sociopath armed with a $12 rifle managed to kill the president was a far more fascinating one than I could have ever envisioned.

Gerald's book list on who killed JFK

Gerald Posner Why did Gerald love this book?

Award-winning novelist Thomas Mallon explores the serendipitous world of Ruth Paine, the Quaker who befriended Lee and Marina Oswald in the fateful months leading up to the assassination. In this fast-paced nonfition read, Mallon takes the reader through the tumultuous nine months before the assassination and then along for the often-bizarre years following in which Paine’s largesse is interpreted and twisted by conspiracy theorists to somehow accuse her of being in the middle of a giant plot against Kennedy. 

By Thomas Mallon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mrs. Paine's Garage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nearly forty years have passed since Ruth Hyde Paine, a Quaker housewife in suburban Dallas, offered shelter and assistance to a young man named Lee Harvey Oswald and his Russian wife, Marina. For nine months in 1963, Mrs. Paine was so deeply involved in the Oswalds’ lives that she eventually became one of the Warren Commission’s most important witnesses.

Mrs. Paine’s Garage is the tragic story of a well-intentioned woman who found Oswald the job that put him six floors above Dealey Plaza—into which, on November 22, he fired a rifle he’d kept hidden inside Mrs. Paine’s house. But this…


Book cover of The Accident Man

Ian Coates Author Of Eavesdrop

From my list on page-turning assassin thrillers.

Who am I?

I worked in high-tech electronics for thirty years, specialising in the design of radio communication equipment. My first love, though, has always been books, particularly exciting page-turners about spies and assassins. Eavesdrop – my first thriller – brought those two worlds together, and “what-if” ideas from my professional life engendered the plot’s high-tech angle. I wrote the early drafts largely while on planes and in airport lounges during business trips, and in snatched moments before starting work each morning. It was exciting when Assent Publishing took it on and did such a great job of producing the thriller ready for you to read. I hope you enjoy it.

Ian's book list on page-turning assassin thrillers

Ian Coates Why did Ian love this book?

This is the first book in Tom Cain’s series about the assassin Samuel Carver. It’s full of believable action and has a great storyline. Do you remember the conspiracy rumours surrounding the death of Dianna Princess of Wales? Well, in this story, Carver was responsible for the car crash that killed her, having been tricked into setting it up.

It’s a great thriller, full of exciting action from start to finish as he tries to work out who set him up. Carver then becomes the target himself when those who tricked him realise he is learning too much and has to be silenced.

By Tom Cain,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Breathlessly paced, international in scope, and featuring one of the most intriguing heroes in recent fiction, Tom Cain's smashing debut surprises the reader at every turn. A thriller that explores the secret of Princess Diana's death, The Accident Man imagines the man who may have killed her. For a certain sum of money, Samuel Carver can arrange a death. A ruptured gas line, an automobile crash, a fall from a window-anything can be made to look like an accident. But when Carver is set up, betrayed, and pursued by the very forces that hired him, he must execute his most…


Book cover of The Trial of Madame Caillaux

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

Henriette Caillaux was the wife of a prominent politician who marched into the office of a newspaper editor in 1914 and shot him dead. There’s no question she pulled the trigger, but was she actually guilty of murder?

That’s the central question of this book and Berenson dives deep into the culture and society of the day to answer it. I love this book because it’s such a rich exploration of Henriette Caillaux’s life and of everyone involved in the case, from her husband to the judge.

By Edward Berenson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Early in the evening of 16 March 1914, Henriette Caillaux, the wife of a powerful French cabinet minister, paid an unexpected call on her husband's most implacable enemy, "Le Figaro" editor Gaston Calmette. Concealed inside the muff that protected her hands from the wintry cold was a Browning automatic. After murmuring a few words, she fired six shots at point-blank range. Calmette slumped to the floor, fatally wounded; office workers seized Madame Caillaux, smoking gun in hand. Four months later - just two weeks before Europe exploded into war - Caillaux stood accused of murder. So mesmerizing was the trial…