Jason King returns to the Spybrary Podcast for his annual appearance to share his best espionage novels of 2021. This is the most requested feature of Spybrary, requested by spouses, friends, and relatives who purchase Birthday and Holiday presents for loved ones based on the Jason King picks. (I kid you not!)
Stop reading now if you have not listened to the episode..if you are coming here to read more about the best espionage novels of 2021 picks then read on.
Jason Kings Best Espionage Novels of 2021 are:
London, England: Slough House is where washed-up MI5 spies go to while away what’s left of their failed careers. The “slow horses,” as they’re called, have all disgraced themselves in some way to get relegated there. Maybe they botched an Op so badly they can’t be trusted anymore.
Maybe they got in the way of an ambitious colleague and had the rug yanked out from under them. Maybe they just got too dependent on the bottle—not unusual in this line of work. One thing they have in common, though, is they want to be back in the action. And most of them would do anything to get there─even if it means having to collaborate with one another.
If you enjoy the work of Mick Herron do check out the Barbican Station Podcast hosted by Jeff Quest
The Saboteur by Simon Conway (Book 2 of the Jude Lyon series.)
‘There's a healthy crop of younger spy writers just now, and Simon Conway is among the pick of the bunch. His military background renders the action scenes bloodily and the novel's apocalyptic scenario all too plausibly . . . Fire in the hole‘ – The Times
‘The most brilliant spy thriller‘ – Charlotte Philby, author of A Double Life
The terrorist Guy Fowle has escaped from prison.
Jude Lyon of MI-6 has been saved from a Syrian ambush by his lover – and enemy? – Julia Ermolaeva.
A mysterious Russian has been murdered in London and his thumb cut off.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made an unfortunate social connection at a party, which he hopes he can keep secret.
And suddenly, the world is literally going up in flames.
Jude needs to start putting together the pieces of this jigsaw and quickly, because someone is putting into play a terrifying Russian plan to disable and destroy the UK. Once it has begun, it is designed to be impossible to stop.
Bad enough if that someone is the Russian government. Worse if it is the psychopathic genius Fowle, otherwise known as The Stranger.
Packed with stunning action, political intrigue, authentic tradecraft, emotion, shocks and nail-biting suspense, The Saboteur takes the spy thriller to new heights.
The Mercenary by Paul Vidich
“Evoking without imitating classic le Carré . . . Vidich supplements the world-weariness we expect from cold warriors in the game too long by giving Garin a satisfyingly contrarian ‘contempt for Agency puppetteers.'”
“[Vidich's] rare talent for repopulating history with complex and credible characters is fully on display in his fourth novel, The Mercenary.”
—Mal Warwick's Blog on Books
“Set in the mid-1980s, Vidich’s intriguing fourth CIA novel opens in Moscow. Vidich writes knowledgeably about the politics of the period, notably the impending changes to the U.S.S.R. with the rise of Gorbachev, and the spycraft rings true. Fans of Cold War–era spy fiction will be rewarded.”
“Deft action and a solid historical setting.”
From acclaimed spy novelist Paul Vidich comes a taut new thriller following the attempted exfiltration of a KGB officer from the ever-changing—and always dangerous—USSR in the mid-1980s.
Moscow, 1985. The Soviet Union and its communist regime are in the last stages of decline, but remain opaque to the rest of the world—and still very dangerous. In this ever-shifting landscape, a senior KGB officer—code name GAMBIT—has approached the CIA Moscow Station chief with top secret military weapons intelligence and asked to be exfiltrated. GAMBIT demands that his handler be a former CIA officer, Alex Garin, a former KGB officer who defected to the American side.
The CIA had never successfully exfiltrated a KGB officer from Moscow, and the top brass do not trust Garin. But they have no other options: GAMBIT's secrets could be the deciding factor in the Cold War.
Garin is able to gain the trust of GAMBIT, but remains an enigma. Is he a mercenary acting in self-interest or are there deeper secrets from his past that would explain where his loyalties truly lie? As the date nears for GAMBIT’s exfiltration, and with the walls closing in on both of them, Garin begins a relationship with a Russian woman and sets into motion a plan that could compromise everything.
Judas 62 by Charles Cumming
‘Judas 62 has all you could want from a tense, topical and intelligent spy thriller‘ The Times Books of the Year
The second book in Charles Cumming's gripping new thriller series surrounding BOX 88 – a covert intelligence organization that operates below the radar.
A spy in one of the most dangerous places on Earth…
1993: Student Lachlan Kite is sent to post-Soviet Russia in the guise of a language teacher. In reality, he is there as a spy. Top secret intelligence agency BOX 88 has ordered Kite to extract a chemical weapons scientist before his groundbreaking research falls into the wrong hands. But Kite's mission soon goes wrong and he is left stranded in a hostile city with a former KGB officer on his trail.
An old enemy looking for revenge…
Damascus Station by David McCloskey
A CIA asset disappears on the streets of Damascus.
His handler is kidnapped from a safe house.
Both vanish into a Syrian prison.
The CIA vows revenge.
Before his tour in Damascus, CIA case officer Sam Joseph is dispatched to Paris to recruit Palace official Mariam Haddad. The mission soon transforms into a forbidden love, supercharging her recruitment and creating unspeakable danger as they enter war-ravaged Damascus to find the man responsible for the disappearances.
The search soon leads to the discovery of a dark secret at the heart of the Syrian regime and brings the pair under the all-seeing eyes of Asad’s spycatcher, Ali Hassan, and his brother Rustum, the head of Asad’s feared Republican Guard. As the action careens between France, Italy, Syria, and Langley, the predators become prey and loyalties are tested as Sam and Mariam race to stop an apocalypse before the Hassans can hunt them down…
Damascus Station is a spy thriller set in the heart of the Syrian Civil War. Drawing on real events and authentic CIA tradecraft, the novel is a spy vs. spy, cat-and-mouse that takes place on the covert battlefield of clandestine surveillance, mole hunts, and targeted assassinations.
The novel traces the historical swell in violence in Syria, the ubiquitous surveillance of a police state, the proxy fighting between America and Russia, and the darkening promise of freedom in the Middle East. At the frontlines, a CIA case officer, his new recruit, and Asad's spycatcher find themselves locked in a world of violence, betrayal, and hidden loyalties.
And a bonus 6th choice because what self-respecting Spy Book fan can only pick five best espionage novels.
The Old Enemy by Henry Porter
‘A timeless ripping espionage yarn'
‘An up-to-the-minute political novel'
‘Characters who become richer with every appearance'
Sunday Times Thriller of the Month
Heart-stopping international spy thriller from ‘An espionage master' (Charles Cumming) starring ex-MI6 officer Paul Samson for fans of Mick Herron, Lee Child and John le Carre
Ex-MI6 officer Paul Samson has been tasked with secretly guarding a gifted young woman, Zoe Freemantle. He is just beginning to tire of the job when he is attacked in the street by a freakish looking knifeman. It's clear the target is on his back not hers. What he doesn't know is who put it there.
At that moment, his mentor, the MI6 legend Robert Harland lies dead on a remote stretch of the Baltic coastline. Who needed to end the old spy's life when he was, in any case, dying from a terminal illness? And what or who is Berlin Blue, the name scratched in the sketchbook beside his body?
A few hours later, Samson watches footage from the US Congress where billionaire philanthropist Denis Hisami is poisoned with a nerve agent while testifying – an attack that is as spectacular as it is lethal, but spares Anastasia Hisami, the love of Samson's life.
Two things become clear. One, it was a big mistake to lose the mysterious Zoe Freemantle. And two, Robert Harland is making a final play from beyond the grave.