So you want to read a realistic spy book but are unsure where to start? You have come to the right place. There are plenty of realistic spy books out there that will keep you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very end without the need for you to suspend belief or wear earplugs because of all the cordite and flash bangs . Spybrary's Shane Whaley shares five of the best realistic spy books for those who are new to the espionage genre.
One great option for beginners new to realistic spy books is “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold” by John le Carré. This classic novel is set during the Cold War and follows the story of a British intelligence officer sent to East Germany to infiltrate the Communists and cause mayhem. The book is known for its gritty realism and attention to detail, making it an excellent choice for those who want to get a taste of the realistic spy genre.
Another great option is “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” by John le Carré. This book is also set during the Cold War and follows the story of a retired intelligence officer, George Smiley who is brought back into the fold to investigate a possible Soviet mole within the British intelligence service. The book is known for its complex plot and rich character development, making it a great choice for those who want to dive a little deeper into the genre.
A more recent and popular option is “The Night Manager” by John le Carré. This book is set in the modern day. It follows the story of a former British soldier recruited by a government agent to infiltrate the inner circle of an international arms dealer. The book is known for its fast-paced action and intricate plot, making it an excellent choice for those who want to experience a more modern take on the spy genre.
Finally, “Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews. This book is about a Russian intelligence officer who is sent to infiltrate the CIA by seducing a young CIA officer to extract information. This book is known for its gripping plot and strong female lead, making it a goodchoice for those who want to experience a fresh take on the spy genre from a US perspective.
Overall, all of these books are great choices for beginners who are looking to start reading spy novels. They offer a mix of realism, action, and intrigue that will keep you guessing until the very end. Whether you're looking for a classic Cold War story or a more modern take on the genre, there's something for everyone in this selection.
These are my best spy books to start with but as is always the case with literature, ask another spy fan and you will get a different selection. Why not join our Spybrary community and chat spy books with likeminded readers?
Want even more Spy Book recommendations? Then check this out!