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Hello Book lovers, reading a fantastic fiction novel takes you on an unprecedented journey of various emotions. In this modern world of Netflix and Youtube where you can not stop talking about Game of Thrones and True Detective, the charm of classic fiction is still unbeatable.

Stories are great there is no denying in that, and reading a novel which makes you forget the surrounding is an unmatched experience. From the start of literature era, spy novels and espionage stories have always fascinated bibliophiles.

The gradual building of mystery and the tense situation keeps the story to the edge. From the classic era of Shakespeare to the modern world of Sherlock Holmes which in addition another classic, some elements of spy novels have remained unchanged. When it comes to intense moments and creating paranoia among readers, novels have the advantage. It let the mind create its own world with elements in accordance with one’s imagination.

Top 10 Spy Novels That Takes You To An Enthralling Journey

Reading a novel can improve your brain function and it might be interesting reading a spy novel, full of suspense that builds a excitement in your brain and you are willing to reveal the suspense in next chapter. Here we got a list of topmost best spy novels ever written.

1. A Delicate Truth

– By John le Carré (2013)

best spy novels

A delicate truth is a very popular spy novel by John le Carré in 2013. An entangling mix of political mystery, crime and drama, this spy novel keeps the reader engaged.

In 2008 a civil servant in the Foreign Office, known by his alias “Paul Anderson”, is recruited by a Foreign Office junior minister, Fergus Quinn, to take part in an operation code-named Wildlife.

2. The Riddle of Sands

– By Robert Erskine Childers (1903)

best spy novels


Late Robert Erskine was an Irish writer and his book The Riddle of Sands is an interest spy novel very popular among readers. This espionage novel was published in 1903 was extremely influential in the genre of spy fictions. This book was very popular during the time of world war I. A full-length movie and television show also made on the plot of this novel.

Among the early works of spy literature genre, this novel encompasses thrilling story with an international political edge. Situation affecting national relation in the early 20th century is an heart-pumping experience.

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3. Call for the Dead 

– By John le Carre (1961)

best spy novels

Call for the dead is the first spy novel written by John le Carre in 1961. This novel brimmed out the most famous character George Smiley. The intricate plot on a story of British intelligence named “the circus” the story of the novel start in Cambridge and slowly build up into a well-structured fiction. A full-length movie based on the novel named “the deadly affair” was released in 1961 based on the book.

It is one of the few in the spy genre with extremely realistic details and filled with thrilling moments. It was the first novel of John le Carré and takes you to the classic era hardships between Great Britain and Germany.

4. Our Man In Havana

– By Graham Greene (1958)

best spy novels

This Spy novel is written by British author Graham Greene. Graham has written many critics about British intelligence MI6, this novel was published in 1958 by publisher Heinemann.

One of the most remarkable things about this novel is the anticipation of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was written before the incident but it intelligently showcases the future situations in a well-structured manner. No doubt it is one of the most famous fiction in the genre. Director Carol Reed directed a film on this novel in 1959 titled same as novel name.

5. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

– By John le Carré (1974)

spy novels

John le Carré is a true master when it comes to perfect espionage story. This novel shows one of his finest works. The vivid character sketches, fluency, and suitable dialogues make it a timeless classic. British secret service is described with utmost reality with bureaucratic life and how things work on the ground.

A well structured story of espionage and betrayal in the British society. The movie adaption by the same title has grabbed best Oscar in 2012. Even If you are not a fan of Spy Genre, you will find it equally fascinaing.

6. Kim

– By Rudyard Kipling (1901)

spy novels

Kim is a classic novel that takes place in the backdrop of the Great Game. If you do not about the Great Game, it was the political rivalry between England and Russia in the 19th century. The realistic plot of British India with an extraordinary story makes it a must-read for every literature lover.

Rudyard Kipling who has also written the classics like “The Jungle Book” was awarded the nobel prize in literature in 1907. Kim was originally published in series in McClure’s Magazine and later published as a complete novel.

7. Seventeen Moments of Spring

– By Yulian Semyonov (1969)

spy novels

This novel depicts some of the most intense and realistic faces of the cold war era. The story consists of agents of Soviet Intelligence. It showcases most insider view of the intelligence agency which was infamous for its brutal fascist methodology.

The story plot is set in post second world war and involves the true heroic style. A story that makes you read it over and over and feel inspiring like nothing else.

8. The Secret Agent

– By Joseph Conrad (1907)

spy novels

Spy novels do not always have to be serious and complex The Secret Agent proves it in a subtle fashion. A well-balanced story with mystery and dark satire makes it the most famous work of Conrad. The story depicts the situation of political anarchy in London in the late 19th century.

It is one of the earliest literature that talks about the concept of terrorism. The social situation of the Edwardian period that is interesting to read.

9. Journey into Fear

– By Eric Ambler (1940)

spy novels

This intriguing novel is full of moments that give you chills and comprehensive character sketches. Combining international spy agencies, ironies of human nature and political drama, this novel is one of its kind. As the story progresses, you fall in love with the captivating narrative skill of the author.

Here the protagonist is not a spy, instead an engineer from Britain. Taking place in the early years of the second world war, the story slowly unfolds the deeper mysteries.

10. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

– By John le Carré (1963)

spy books novels

In this spy novel, Author describes the intense espionage of British intelligence during the Cold War. The novels take the reader to the depth of intelligence operation taking place in Britain and East Germany. It also questions the morality of the espionage and democratic values.

It is one of the finest works of John le Carré who has written many books in this genre. It has received high critical acclamation and has been in the list of an international bestseller.

Final Words

Here are our top picks for the best spy novels. Story reading has always been something that entertains the reader and also teaches many important aspects of life. If you think we missed something, then tell us in the comments.

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