The most recommended books about intelligence officers

Who picked these books? Meet our 74 experts.

74 authors created a book list connected to intelligence officers, and here are their favorite intelligence officer books.
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Book cover of Prince of Fire

Charles S. Oliviero Author Of Strategia

From Charles' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Professor Soldier Strategist Husband Friend

Charles' 3 favorite reads in 2023

Charles S. Oliviero Why did Charles love this book?

Like all of Silva’s novels, Prince of Fire weaves intricate storylines together with seemingly effortless dexterity. 

The joy in reading his novels is in more than just the plotline. His characters are three-dimensional and relatable. They are flawed humans without being pitiable. Further, for anyone who loves language, there is joy in observing the craft of his storytelling. The reader is pulled into the scene.

Further, and perhaps most important to me, there is inevitably a moral lesson (or two) in all his novels: good versus evil, the difficult but necessary choices.

By Daniel Silva,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times bestselling author Daniel Silva presents "a first-rate thriller" (Rocky Mountain News) featuring art restorer—and reluctant spy—Gabriel Allon.

After an explosion in Rome destroys the Israeli embassy, Gabriel Allon makes a disturbing discovery—the existence of a dossier in terrorist hands that strips away his secrets, and lays bare his history. Drawn into the heart of a service he’d once forsaken, Allon finds himself stalking a master terrorist across a bloody landscape generations in the making. But soon, Allon will wonder who is stalking whom.

When the final showdown comes, it won’t be Allon alone who is threatened…

Book cover of Almost Home

Jeannee Sacken Author Of Behind the Lens

From my list on thrilling fiction with brave, gutsy, badass women.

Who am I?

Like my main character, Annie Hawkins Green, I’m passionate about photojournalism, and we both love to travel the world capturing images that tell our stories. My training as a photographer has led me to write novels that are visual and cinematic, affording readers authentic and immersive experiences in the places Annie takes us—Afghanistan, Milwaukee, wherever. We’re both seriously committed to empowering girls through education and go to great lengths, and some risk, to make that happen. Readers tend to think Annie and I are brave and gutsy and, well, badass. Annie is, for sure—she goes to dangerous places. Okay, I admit that many of her adventures have an autobiographical twist.  

Jeannee's book list on thrilling fiction with brave, gutsy, badass women

Jeannee Sacken Why did Jeannee love this book?

Pam Jenoff’s historical fiction rocks, but Almost Home is my favorite of her books. Here’s a secret: it’s her favorite, too. With its interwoven past and present storylines and breathtaking suspense, I couldn’t put it down. As a graduate student ten years ago at Cambridge University, Jordan Weiss’s life was shattered when her boyfriend drowned. Now, a U.S. intelligence officer, she finally returns to England to help her terminally ill friend, Sarah, and to make sense of decade-old secrets. As soon as Jordan arrives, she discovers that no one and nothing are what they seem. But she doesn’t give up her investigation—even in the face of grave danger. A true badass! This book kept me up all night—exactly the kind of read I adore. 

By Pam Jenoff,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Ten years ago, American Jordan Weiss's idyllic life as a graduate student and coxswain at Cambridge was shattered when her boyfriend and fellow crew member, Jared Short, drowned in the River Cam the night before the biggest race of the year. Since that time, Jordan, a State Department intelligence officer, has traveled the world on dangerous assignments but has avoided returning to face her painful memories in England. When her terminally ill friend Sarah asks her to come to London, though, Jordan returns. Shortly after her arrival in London, she is approached by a former college classmate who makes the…

Book cover of The Last Patriot

Seth Sjostrom Author Of Patriot X

From my list on thrillers that kick terrorist butt.

Who am I?

I have a fierce passion for justice. Studying political science in college, I keyed on moments in history where greed, power, and oppression marred human society. As a thriller writer myself (15 published titles and counting), I enjoy authors that understand the characters, settings, and combat sequences in their novels either through personal experience, training, or deep research. I work hard to ensure as wild as my characters’ adventures are, every detail is plausible. The books on this list are filled with raucous action and death-defying scenes while remaining possible. 

Seth's book list on thrillers that kick terrorist butt

Seth Sjostrom Why did Seth love this book?

When I select a thriller, I like to find someone who has developed a deep knowledge of the subject and settings either through experience or deep research. Brad Thor is an expert on terrorism and global politics.

His character, former Navy SEAL Scot Harvath, is brash and brutal as he operates to counter-terrorism in his role as a covert Homeland Security Officer. In The Last Patriot, he chases a militant Islamic cell that is protecting a lost revelation of the Prophet Mohammed that could change derail terror forever.

I enjoy reading Brad Thor books for the intensive research and logic he weaves into his stories. Reading The Last Patriot, and other titles in the series is like having a conversation over a pair of fingers of whiskey talking global politics with my friends.

By Brad Thor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brad Thor, master of suspense and #1 New York Times bestselling author is back with his highest-voltage thriller to date in which Navy SEAL turned covert Homeland Security operative Scot Harvath must race to locate an ancient secret that has the power to stop militant Islam dead in its tracks.

June 632 A.D.: Deep within the Uranah Valley of Mount Arafat in Mecca, the Prophet Mohammed shares with his closest companions a final and startling revelation. Within days, he is assassinated.

September 1789: U.S. Minister to France Thomas Jefferson, who is charged with forging a truce with the violent Muslim…

Book cover of Red Winter

John Houle Author Of The King-Makers of Providence

From John's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Politico PR guy Marketing executive Entrepreneur Political science graduate

John's 3 favorite reads in 2023

John Houle Why did John love this book?

As a fan of the Tom Clancy genre, I felt like I was right back reading Clancy’s classics when I picked up Red Winter. Most of the new Clancy fiction surrounds Jack Ryan, Jr., and while I enjoy those works as well, it was fun to return to the Cold World era.

Cameron pays homage to the greatness that was Clancy, and while I can no longer read the master of modern-day political thrillers, I found a worthy successor.

I enjoyed uncovering a past mission of Jack Ryan, who is one of my all-time favorite characters in fiction. As a child of the Cold War, it was a fun ride behind the Iron Curtain.

By Marc Cameron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1985: For Jack Ryan, the Cold War is burning hot

A top secret F117 aircraft crashes into the Nevada desert. The Nighthawk is the most advanced fighting machine in the world and the Soviets will do anything to get their hands on its secrets.

In East Berlin, a mysterious figure contacts the CIA with an incredible offer: invaluable details of his government's espionage plans in return for asylum. With the East German secret police closing in, someone will have to go to behind the Berlin Wall to investigate the potential defector. It's a job Deputy Director James Greer can only…

Book cover of A Killer in King's Cove

Erin Lindsey Author Of Murder on Millionaires' Row

From my list on lady sleuths and spies to transport back in time.

Who am I?

So look, I’m going to admit something: I’ve been casting myself as the heroine in historical adventures and mysteries since the age of six. I’ve been Sherlock Holmes’s daughter, Elizabeth Bennett’s slightly disreputable sleuthing cousin, the lone lady Pinkerton hunting down Butch and Sundance. These youthful fantasies combined three things I adored: puzzles, adventure, and geeking out on history. When I got a little older, I left off imagining myself in the starring role in favour of something even more immersive: becoming someone else entirely. Whether I’m writing them or reading them, books like the ones on this list transport me, and I hope they’ll transport you, too.

Erin's book list on lady sleuths and spies to transport back in time

Erin Lindsey Why did Erin love this book?

Sometimes, I want to be transported to faraway, exotic places. But it can be equally delicious to experience a place you know well—in a time you don’t. It’s what attracted me to writing about 19th century New York, and what I love about Iona Whishaw’s Lane Winslow mysteries. They take place in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, a place I’ve spent plenty of time in. But sleuthing with ex-spy Lane Winslow in 1946 brings a fresh, fun perspective that is at once familiar and totally new. This book is perfect for curling up lakeside in an Adirondack chair, hot cup of tea in hand.

By Iona Whishaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Killer in King's Cove as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is 1946, and war-weary young ex-intelligence officer Lane Winslow leaves London to look for a fresh start. When she finds herself happily settled in King's Cove, a sleepy hamlet nestled in the idyllic interior of British Columbia surrounded by a suitably eclectic cast of small-town characters she feels like she may finally be able to put her past to rest. But then a body is discovered, the victim of murder, and although she works alongside the town's inspectors Darling and Ames to discover who might possibly have motivation to kill, she casts doubt on herself. As the investigation reveals…

Book cover of Digital Fortress

Kat Wheeler Author Of There Is No Cloud

From my list on technothrillers with accurate technology representation.

Who am I?

I’m just a book-loving girl working in a corporate world who’s sick to death of the inaccurate representations of technology in fiction. FYI, tracing a phone call is instantaneous, no need to keep that pesky murderer on the line these days. Technology is so ingrained in our daily lives and most people have very limited knowledge of what it actually does, so I became fascinated with the idea of using real modern-day tech in murder mysteries. I got so obsessed with the idea I decided to write it. No Sci-Fi of future tech, it may seem farfetched, but all the electronic wizardry used in my novels is real and accurately represented.

Kat's book list on technothrillers with accurate technology representation

Kat Wheeler Why did Kat love this book?

Ah, Dan Brown. Love him or hate him, he’s a paragon of the modern thriller. Let’s go way back to 1998. It was pre-DaVinci Code, and he released his first novel, Digital Fortress. For the time period, it was a unique idea. A woman cryptologist at the NSA gets embroiled in a high-stakes murder mystery and the only way through is to solve the code. There are a lot of issues with this book, primarily that the author couldn’t be bothered to check his work and misuses bits and bytes throughout the whole novel which makes the code-breaking premise ridiculous. But to be fair, this was 1998 and for a first novel, it’s still a fun ride. So, if you’re a Dan Brown fan or love a fast-paced easy read give it a try. If you have even a basic understanding of how encryption works you may…

By Dan Brown, Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A former National Security Agency programmer threatens to release a mathematical formula that will allow organized crime and terrorism to skyrocket, unless the code-breaking computer that is used to keep them in check but that violates civil rights is not exposed to the public.

Book cover of A Perfect Spy

Carl Vonderau Author Of Saving Myles

From my list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger.

Who am I?

I am a former international banker and now a prize-winning author. My books take place in the financial world. However, my writing principle is that behind every crime is a family. In my thrillers, the crime amplifies the family dysfunction. My characters can only survive by growing and coming together. If you like character development, as well as the twists and turns of a good plot, you will like the novels that I recommend. 

Carl's book list on thrillers that are as much about family as danger

Carl Vonderau Why did Carl love this book?

Magnes Pym is a British intelligence officer and double agent. He’s had perfect training for the job from his con artist father.

Le Carré deftly balances Magnes’s urge to lie like his father, and his yearning for meaning and principle in his life. It is very difficult to make a con artist likable and le Carré succeeds brilliantly with Pym’s father. At the same time the father steals from his victims, he gives them the kind of support and appreciation that they long for.

The dialogue is brilliant and you can’t help but love these eccentric characters. 

By John le Carré,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"The best English novel since the war." -- Philip Roth

Over the course of his seemingly irreproachable life, Magnus Pym has been all things to all people: a devoted family man, a trusted colleague, a loyal friend-and the perfect spy. But in the wake of his estranged father's death, Magnus vanishes, and the British Secret Service is up in arms. Is it grief, or is the reason for his disappearance more sinister? And who is the mysterious man with the sad moustache who also seems to be looking for Magnus?

In A Perfect Spy, John le Carre has crafted one…

Book cover of The Eleventh Commandment

Jyoti Guptara Author Of Roulette

From Jyoti's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Novelist Business storytelling expert British-Indian-Swiss Traveler Popcorn addict

Jyoti's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Jyoti Guptara Why did Jyoti love this book?

My wife and I listened to this while on a road trip in Southern France and looked forward to every drive! 

We particularly enjoyed the backstories, which added depth rather than distraction. We loved relating to the personal struggles and moral dilemmas faced by the characters, often revolving around the main character’s dual life as a devoted family man and CIA assassin.

Setups and payoffs were very satisfactory, and the history and international geopolitics (to us) were convincingly researched. Without any suspension of disbelief encroaching, we were sucked in, and twists and turns kept us on the edge of our seats.

When we’d reach an Airbnb, no wonder we were tempted to keep listening rather than going out.

By Jeffrey Archer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A gripping spy thriller set at an addictive pace, from bestselling author, Jeffrey Archer.

Connor Fitzgerald is the professional's professional. Holder of the Medal of Honour. Devoted family man. The CIA's most deadly weapon. But for twenty-eight years, he has been leading a double life. And only days from his retirement, he comes across an enemy even he cannot handle. The enemy is his own boss. And she has only one purpose: to destroy him. Meanwhile, the United States is faced with an equally formidable foe: a new Russian President, determined to force a military confrontation between the two superpowers.…

Book cover of American Assassin

John Clark Payne Author Of In Defense of Patch Schubert

From my list on action mystery stories that energize my writing.

Who am I?

In college I minored in Military History and spent over twenty active duty years in the military. My earlier books were primarily murder/mystery stories, and I had the urge to write a historical romance. The War between States (not civil but ruthless) has always enthralled me. I visited most of the battlefields in the East and Southeast but never in the West. I researched the war’s end and found the last battle at Palmetto Ranch near Brownsville, Texas was near my home in San Antonio. Strange things happened on this dysfunctional battlefield. Little did I realize the involvement of Mexico, France, and Spain and their attempts to influence this conflict.

John's book list on action mystery stories that energize my writing

John Clark Payne Why did John love this book?

Vince Flynn has a unique ability of highlighting his main character in such a realistic way that the character is facing you and waiting for your next question.  His description of action-oriented scenes leaves no doubt as to the severity and authenticity of what is happening to hold you glued to the pages. I'm left with great anticipation for his next book using the same main character. My goal is consistent with Vince Flynn's.

I've been told that my characters "jump off the page and slap you in the face."

By Vince Flynn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Now a major motion picture starring Dylan O'Brien (Maze Runner), Taylor Kitsch (True Detective) and Michael Keaton.

Tensions in the Middle East are simmering when Central Intelligence Agency Director Irene Kennedy pays a visit to Syracuse University, where she hopes to recruit none other than Mitch Rapp, a student who has quickly climbed up the academic and athletic ranks. At first glance, he appears like any other smart, good-looking American college kid. Under the surface, however, a tempest rages.

Nine months later, after gruelling training, Mitch finds himself in Istanbul on his first assignment. He hits his target but quickly…

Book cover of Line of Sight

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?

I like the Jack Ryan concept, a spy whose dad is the president. I like the campus one-for-all-all-for-one esprit de corps.

The starting point is nothing new – a diabolic plan to start a civil war. The Balkan venue is what makes it interesting. Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, Turks, Chechens, Syrians, Russians, Bulgarians, Czechs, Muslim fanatics – what a mix! The reason this particular book is special is because I read it twice.

I have a Serbian colleague, which made the story more relevant to me, personally. We often discuss world events. The first time I read the book I did not know him. The second time I read it was after we had met and discussed extensively. I saw things in a different light and enjoyed it much more the second time.

By Mike Maden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A stunning thriller in the internationally bestselling series that inspired the smash-hit Amazon Prime TV Show JACK RYAN

Jack Ryan Jr is in an assassin's sights . . .

Sent to the Balkans on an analytical mission, Jack Ryan Jr visits Sarajevo to meet Aida, the girl his mother saved in the war. He finds a selfless, attractive woman helping refugees in a restless country where a new war is brewing.

Coming to her aid, Jack is soon tangling with the Serbian mafia while dodging assassins from the mysterious Iron Syndicate. Alone and defying recall orders, he believes this is…