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Mmm...a lot of these books sound really good. I'm especially intrigued by The Spy's Wife and The Cambridge Theorem. Then there's The Spy Who Loved...maybe February will turn out to be my spy-reading month. :)


You put together the best reading lists! I have nothing to add as I don't read spy fiction but reading some of these intros makes me want to try a couple, especially the Laurie King one.


I am not familiar with most of these, but I have read a few books by Eric Ambler, and "A Coffin for Demetrios" is the best of his books, and I really recommend it. Like most people I am only familiar with James Bond from the movies.

Liz F

The Spy Game is excellent - I read it a few years ago and was absolutely gripped by it - Georgina Harding's other books are also very good especially The Painter of Silence which is set in Romania just after WW2 and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize (as it was then) in 2012.

I adored all Helen MacInnes's books when I read them but that was a very long time ago - back in the 70's in fact when they were all still in print! Don't think that I have read any since although I am sure that at least some are still lurking in a box somewhere (not very good at clearing out books if I enjoyed them!)
Typically I have both The Polish Officer and Zoo Station on my shelves and I think that Waiting for Sunrise is there too - I do like spy fiction when the timing is right and since I haven't read any for a while, it may be about to have another reading 'moment'!
I have read a couple of James Bond novels but only because we were on holiday in a rented house where they were in a bookcase and I had run out of other reading material (very unlike me!) The fact that I didn't search more out is a probable indication that they didn't appeal that much although I love the films.


I've gone through phases of reading more spy type books. I remember reading a lot of Robert Ludlum books years ago. I knew about Jason Bourne long before the movies.

I'm just impressed that you can read and also be on an exercise machine. I've seen people do it, but somehow I can't keep the book in focus. Audiobooks for me.


Another great list. I read Decision at Delphi long ago, and I think I'd like to reread it, and perhaps explore more of Helen MacInnes work. I recently read The Expats, which I liked fairly well-a spy-ish story.

I'm currently reading Her Royal Spyness--does that count?!


I love reading about spies and this is a fabulous list. I'm a big fan of Helen MacInnes whose novels are also comfort reads, if that doesn't sound too odd! And I just read the latest Charles Cumming, A Colder War, and it was very good. He's great, too. And now of course I will have to check out several from your very tempting list!


I remember Helen MacInnes as being very good and also of course John le Carre with his The Spy who Came In From the Cold and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy.


Ooh, another season of spies! Your last one went really well if I'm remembering correctly. You have lots of juicy books to choose from too! Have fun!


I have read a few of Reginald Hill's books and liked them very much--though The Spy's Wife looked really intriguing! Must dig out my copy. They all appeal and I am not sure which one I will pick up next. So many temptations! If you do end up reading spy stories next month, let me know which you pick! :)


I really love making lists. I often will go back to them later so it is handy to have them here and tagged. I love spy novels--as you can see how I collect them, but I don't read them as often as I should (or as often as I accumulate them anyway)! The Laurie King book does look good. I think one or two of her more recent books pick up where this story left off.


I think most of these are not really the most obvious books--the classics of the genre, save the Ambler, which I have seen on other lists. I'm glad I have picked one of the best of the lot by Ambler! I have only read one Ian Fleming book--which was sort of fun. I have only seen a handful of the movies--I wonder if that is how most people 'know' Bond?!


I totally agree that the Harding is gripping. I meant to leave it in my locker each night, but then couldn't bear to part with it as I might feel the urge to read more in the evening. I never get to read much at night, but I did have it out on my bus rides and so continued on with the story then. I am flying through the story. I read an earlier novel by her so knew I would like it, and I also have The Painter of Silence. This makes me want to read it even more now!

I am in the middle of two of Helen MacInnes's books and have accumulated most of the reissues, though I have a few gaps. I was first introduced to her through the old copies that my library owns and then was pleased to see Titan Books was bringing her work back into print! Otherwise I have yet to read any of the other books on my list but they all look good and I have itchy fingers to start another one. I sort of like the Ian Fleming books--haven't read very many and I think I wouldn't read them back to back but one every now and then is cool. I should have a little 007 movie marathon!


I have meant to read those Ludlum books. I have only ever seen part of one of the movies and never read his work, but I am sure I would enjoy them. I read while walking on the treadmill (key word here--walking!) and if I can prop the book on the elliptical I can read and work out on that machine too. I like audio books and have listened on occasion while working out, but I always prefer a real book to any other format, so if I can manage it, I always have a book with me at the gym. So far (knock on wood!) I have not had any problems.


I'm not surprised you would choose the book set in Greece! :) I am halfway through it and must get back to it. She's great fun but not fluffy either. I have The Expats--good idea, as I didn't even think about that one. I know he has a newer book out, too. And I listened to Her Royal Spyness--it was an excellent audio book and yes, it is a spy story, too! I have the second one on audio too and now that you mention it--maybe I should start listening to it!


I know you do and I think you were the one who suggested The Spy Game! The MacInnes novels are very much in that comfort read realm, of which I am always happen to settle into for a while. I wonder if the Cumming novels are related or if each is just an individual story? I'm glad to hear you liked his newest. I had Trinity Six sitting next to my bed, but I should really finish what I have started first... But it is always good to have a list of potential reads on hand otherwise.


I have yet to read John le Carre and really must rectify that as he is a classic spy novel author! I think I have The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. And Helen MacInnes is wonderful I think. I'm happy to see a female writer of spy novels. From what I understand she was also highly respected when she was alive.


I can't believe so many years have passed since I did this last--too many! I did enjoy it the first time around and kept meaning each year to do it again, and finally the moment has arrived! I have all sorts of little reading projects popping up now--so the reading year is off to a very good start!

vicki (skiourophile/bibliolathas)

I recently read a couple of Charles Cumming's books -- very gripping and easily devoured. I haven't read those two on your list yet, but I imagine they will be well worth it.


As you probabaly remmeber I'm not keen on novels about spies with the exception of Liaty Pisani's novels but they are not that serious. Still, one never knows, the mood might come one day and your list will be so great.


I am mentally rubbing my hands together in gleeful anticipation as I think I am going to pick up Trinity Six next as soon as I finish the Harding which will be very soon as it is moving right along! I had no idea he had written so many books (well, not that he has written loads and loads). I was thinking he was a new author and the book I have was a first, but it would appear that is not the case at all. I have more to look forward to it would seem! :)


I'm not sure when I started reading spy novels--I think when I was younger they didn't really appeal to me either, but somewhere along the way I read something that caught my attention. And then I watched the entire run of MI-5/Spooks and was well and truly hooked. I don't know what it is about the stories--the suspense and the often labrynthine stories--I like a good puzzle. It's a pity that none of Liaty Pisani's books seem to have been translated into English!


You have treats in store if you have yet to read Le Carre and Ludlum! Loved them both when I read them in the 70's and 80's.
Not sure about the more recent books by Le Carre as I haven't read them but certainly the Smiley books, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and The Looking Glass War are all really gripping.


Just re-read that comment and it looks like the last two books mentioned are Smiley books which they aren't - sorry!


I haven't read either author yet. I have a couple of Le Carre's books but nothing by Ludlum--dare I even look at his backlist or will I want to order something?! I do have The Spy Who Came in from the Cold--I really should read it as it is classic spy literature I think! And I am always up for something gripping--off to pull it from my pile as I will need to pick a new one--am nearly finished reading The Spy Game (which is most excellent). Always fun choosing a new book!


No worries--I am up for anything good! Does it matter if you read books out of order (the Smiley books?). I'm sure I am going about all this in a very haphazard way, but it works so that's all that matters!

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