Books, The Eclectic Eccentric’s guide to binging through the Apocalypse

The Eclectic Eccentric’s guide to binging through the Apocalypse- Spy Novels

Everybody loves a good spy story. They tend to have a little bit of everything mystery, suspense, political intrigue, action; they’re like the Neapolitan ice cream of fiction. Personally, I love the spy craft and the intellectual duels with an unseen enemy. Here are ten great spy novels that you can binge through while lounging on your favorite chair.

  • Patriot Games– This is not the first Jack Ryan book Tom Clancy wrote but it is chronologically first in the main sequence of books (not including spinoffs or prequels from other authors). The story is great. Good action and intrigue while still cerebral enough to give your brain a workout.
  • Call for the Dead- The first of John Le Carre’s George Smiley novels. It’s not the best of the bunch, but it’s still better than every other author’s attempts at this genre. Le Carre is the master, start here and find out why.
  • The Secret Agent: A Simple Tale- Modern audiences are more familiar with Joseph Conrad’s other works like Heart of Darkness and Nostromo, but don’t let this one pass you by. Filled with terrorism, anarchists, and espionage this is the forerunner of the modern spy novel.
  • Our Man in Havana– This is a spy novel but it’s also darkly comedic. And before you think it sounds too much like the Cuban Missile Crisis check the publication date. A great read when you want a spy story, but you also want to laugh.
  • The Quiet American- The novel that predicted the American calamity in Vietnam almost perfectly back when all those college protestors were still in middle school. This one doesn’t focus on spycraft so much as it highlights all the shady shit the C.I.A has gotten into over the years. A great work of literature that every American should read.
  • The Ipcress File- A classic Cold War story about the abduction of high-value British VIPs who are being abducted and sold to the Soviet Union. The unnamed protagonist of the book is charged with investigating. Great pacing and a really compelling plot.
  • The Faithful Spy- A spy undercover with Al Qaeda during 9/11 is accused of going rogue and must clear his name while stopping another attack. The first in the John Wells series which honestly starts out a little weak get but get better with each successive book.
  • The Fourth Protocol– A classic cold war thriller with a web of lies and a nuclear weapon in the wind. Full of twisty subplots and governmental conspiracies. A solid read and great example of a spy novel done right.
  • The Key to Rebecca- Ken Follet’s take on the story of Nazi Spy Johannes Eppler (oh he changes names and some details, but the inspiration is quite clear). A classic of the genre and an incredibly enjoyable read to boot.
  • The Quantum Spy- Who doesn’t like a good old-fashioned mole hunt? This is one you won’t be able to put down.