In this episode of the Spybrary spy book podcast we talk about our best spy books. Host Shane Whaley invites guest Dr Mark Pack, author, avid spy novel reader and President of the UK's Liberal Democrats to embark on a clandestine mission behind the Iron Curtain. As part of the Dead Drop 5 series, Mark Pack shares his top five best spy books that he would take with him to East Berlin. From classic spy thrillers to lesser-known gems, Mark's's picks promise to keep any spy thriller enthusiast on the edge of their seat.
Best Spy Books #1 – The Company, A Novel of the CIA by Robert Littell: Described as a fictionalized history of the CIA, “The Company” captures the essence of spy novels. With its complex plot, moral dilemmas, and realistic portrayal of the intelligence world, this nearly 900-page novel is a must-read for spy fiction enthusiasts.
Best Spy Books #2 The Spy Who Came In From The Cold by John le Carré: n the shadow of the newly erected Berlin Wall, Alec Leamas watches as his last agent is shot dead by East German sentries. For Leamas, the head of Berlin Station, the Cold War is over. As he faces the prospect of retirement or worse—a desk job—Control offers him a unique opportunity for revenge. Assuming the guise of an embittered and dissolute ex-agent, Leamas is set up to trap Mundt, the deputy director of the East German Intelligence Service—with himself as the bait. In the background is George Smiley, ready to make the game play out just as Control wants.
Setting a standard that has never been surpassed, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a devastating tale of duplicity and espionage.
Best Spy Books #3 – Tomorrow's Ghost by Anthony Price: Anthony Price's novels may have fallen into obscurity, but they are worth rediscovering. Tomorrow's Ghost is a gripping spy thriller that combines complex plotting with historical context. Price's attention to detail and his ability to create suspense make this book a standout in the genre.
‘We want you to lay a ghost,' Frances Fitzgibbon is told as she is ordered to investigate the past of her own superior, Colonel Jack Butler's, at a decisive moment in his career. But why? For as Colonel Butler pursues an elusive IRA/KGB assassin, Frances finds herself confronting dangerous questions as more than one spectre is raised from the dark past
Best Spy Books #4 – Above Suspicion by Helen MacInnes: Helen MacInnes' debut novel, Above Suspicion, takes readers on a thrilling journey through Europe. The story follows two amateur spies as they navigate a world of mystery and danger. With its Hitchcockian atmosphere and well-crafted plot, this book is a must-read for spy fiction fans.
It is the summer of 1939. A young Oxford don, Richard Myles and his wife Frances are about to leave for their usual long vacation on the continent. At the request of a Foreign Office friend of Richard's they agree to serve as messengers to a man who has been involved in rescue work and anti-Nazi espionage, a man who now seems to have gone missing. Their qualifications? Next to nothing except for Richard's superb memory and the fact that they look so very innocent. Across a continent on the brink of war from Paris to Innsbruck and beyond Richard and Francis travel ever deeper into danger.
Best Spy Books #5 – The Defection of A.J. Lewinter by Robert Littell: In this cleverly plotted novel, Littell explores the world of defections and double agents. The story follows the investigation into A.J. Lewinter's defection from the US to the Russians, leaving readers questioning the true motives behind the act. With its intricate storytelling and suspenseful twists, this book is a standout in the genre.
And if you are interested in politics and elections do check out Mark's book
Mark Pack's selection of his favourite spy books takes us on a thrilling journey through the world of espionage. From classic tales to more contemporary works, these books offer a mix of suspense, action, and intrigue that will keep readers captivated.
Join us on the Spy Book Podcast, Spybrary, and discover the thrilling world of spy books in our exclusive series, ‘Dead Drop 5'.
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Best Spy Books and Dead Drops…what is this series exactly?
This riveting series is a crowd favorite, but be warned, your bank balance may take a hit based on these spy book recommendations. In these episodes, our brave podcast guests are dispatched on a clandestine mission behind the Iron Curtain, where danger lurks at every shadowy corner.
But fear not, they won't embark on this perilous journey unequipped.
Our intrepid agents can request five spy novels to be stashed in the East Berlin dead drop.
But that's not all.
Beyond these spy books, our guests are granted a selection of diverse items, each carefully curated to make their stay in East Berlin more manageable, perhaps even a touch more comfortable.
Join host Shane Whaley as he interviews spy thriller readers about their upcoming mission to East Berlin and the five books they would like to take.
Get ready to dive into ‘Dead Drop 5', only on Spybrary, but be warned this series could seriously damage your bank account!
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Listen to previous Dead Drop 5 best spy books episodes