9 Books About Spies And Undercover Agents That Are Full of Intrigue

Full of mystery, intrigue, and suspense, spy books follow daring secret agents as they attempt to uncover vital information and put a stop to illicit conspiracies. If you love pulse-pounding novels that make you feel like you're part of the action, you'll probably find something on this list that appeals to you. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Spy Books: Our 9 Picks

Title Author(s)
1. Nobody Walks Mick Herron
2. Spy Hook Len Deighton
3. All the Old Knives Olen Steinhauer
4. Intimate Enemies Joan Swan
5. Purple Python Scarlet Risque
6. Enemy of My Enemy Allan Topol
7. The Undercover Agent Carolyn Wren
8. The 231 Club J. Bartell & Ginger Marin
9. Embedded Liz Coley

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8 Great Spy Movies

  1. Goldfinger (1964)
  2. The Bourne Identity (2002)
  3. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
  4. Skyfall (2012)
  5. North by Northwest (1959)
  6. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
  7. Argo (2012)
  8. The 39 Steps (1935)

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In Depth

Even with the dramatic backdrop of the Cold War behind us, the world of espionage is always capable of providing suspense as characters are on the verge of being discovered at any moment and never know who to trust. Rife with intrigue and high-stakes drama, spy books thrillingly pull back the curtain on this most secretive of professions. In no particular order, here are nine titles that allow readers to experience perilous clandestine missions, both at home and abroad.

For #1 we find "Nobody Walks" by Mick Herron. Now living in France, disillusioned British ex-agent Tom Bettany intends to be done with life as a spy. But when he receives a call from an unknown Englishwoman informing him that his estranged son has died, he finds himself drawn back into action. Suspecting foul play after returning to London, Bettany ends up attracting the attention of both mafia bosses and MI5 officials. Soon enough, he's walking right back into the world of crime and deception he meant to leave behind.

At #2 is "Spy Hook" by Len Deighton. In this fourth book about the adventures of Bernard Samson, the implacable field agent is attempting to sort out his life after his wife Fiona defects to the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, a massive sum of Secret Service money has gone missing, and it appears the K.G.B. might have something to do with it. As Samson works to expose a major conspiracy surrounding the stolen funds, he finds himself the target of both foreign adversaries and his own intelligence agency.

As Samson works to expose a major conspiracy surrounding the stolen funds, he finds himself the target of both foreign adversaries and his own intelligence agency.

For #3 we get "All the Old Knives" by Olen Steinhauer. Celia and Henry were C.I.A. agents and lovers when they witnessed a hostage crisis in Vienna that went terribly wrong. While Henry stayed on as a case officer in the aftermath, Celia called it quits and eventually established a peaceful domestic life in California. Six years later, the two sit down for dinner to hash out the past. As they reminisce, one thing weighs heavily on their minds: the tragedy in Vienna, and how their actions might have affected the outcome.

Showing up at #4 is "Intimate Enemies" by Joan Swan. This scintillating romance details a dangerous affair between a woman and a customs officer who can't seem to stay away from danger, or one another. Cassie, who lost her mother and sibling in an unsolved yacht explosion months ago, has returned to her childhood town of Baja to start her own investigation. Rio, her former flame, is an undercover U.S. immigration agent working on a major sting in northern Mexico. If Rio tells Cassie the truth about what he's doing, it could ruin his operation. And if the two rekindle their passions, it could destroy both of their lives for good.

For #5 we have "Purple Python" by Scarlet Risque. Tasked with undermining the expansion of a major Asian corporation, undercover agent Jessica travels to Singapore to stop financial officer Garrett from investing in the company. But as she carries out her plan, she finds herself falling hard for the wealthy investor. Her allegiances torn, Jessica will have to either betray her mission and her mentor who ordered it or lose a potential life partner.

Her allegiances torn, Jessica will have to either betray her mission and her mentor who ordered it or lose a potential life partner.

Arriving at #6 is "Enemy of My Enemy" by Allan Topol. To unite the Middle East against the United States and Israel, a mastermind Syrian general has devised a plot to make his nation into a nuclear power. Enter Jack Cole, a secret agent who must do whatever it takes to stop the general's plan from succeeding. Joined by the elusive Layla Gemayel, he will have to infiltrate the insurgents if he's to save the region, and the world, from catastrophe.

For #7 we come to "The Undercover Agent" by Carolyn Wren. Two antagonistic spies must learn to work together to thwart crime in this sixth installment in the "Protectors" series. Jade, an ex-operative, loathes fellow agent Lucien, who's currently undercover trying to out corrupt businessman Karl. Unluckily for her, she's been recruited to team up with him as his fake fiancee in order to infiltrate Karl's estate. Spending a week living together at the estate, Jade and Lucien are forced to play the part of a couple to assuage their host's suspicions, made all the more complicated by cameras everywhere, possibly even in their bedroom.

At #8 we find "The 231 Club" by J. Bartell and Ginger Marin. In this stranger-than-fiction memoir, Bartell chronicles his unlikely journey from instructor and therapist to C.I.A. courier and black ops agent. While working at a therapy institute in California, he was traveling around the world on behalf of high-profile clients. The C.I.A. noticed Bartell and recruited him as a courier. He claims he eventually became part of a subcontractor unit that handled off-the-record assignments. This eye-opening tale will make readers question just how much they really know about what their government is doing.

In this stranger-than-fiction memoir, Bartell chronicles his unlikely journey from instructor and therapist to C.I.A. courier and black ops agent.

Finally, coming in at #9 is "Embedded" by Liz Coley. The second volume in the "Tor Maddox" young adult series finds the titular heroine enlisted by the Feds to monitor hunky high school swim star Hamilton Parker. It sounds easy enough, but being a spy in your own school is never a walk in the park. The more Tor learns about Hamilton, and the more she uncovers about his dad's illicit work involving Mexican immigrants, the deeper she finds herself ensnared in a conspiracy that tests her sense of justice.