September marks two monumental dates in history: the beginning of World War II on September 1, 1939, and its end on September 2, 1945.
Although the war ended 70 years ago, the infamy of the conflict continues to inspire some of the most captivating and intricate thrillers in literature. But with decades of novels to choose from, where do you start? We have 10 ideas.
Mila 18, by Leon Uris
Italian-American journalist Christopher de Monti finds himself in Nazi-controlled Warsaw before the outbreak of WWII. Though German officers are eager to gain sympathetic coverage, de Monti soon discovers the terrifying conditions of the Warsaw ghettos and the Nazi’s chilling plans. He soon comes to know the Jewish resistance movement and their courageous last stand.
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Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett
The fate of WWII lies in the hands of German spy and ruthless assassin, Henry Faber, otherwise known as “The Needle.” Holding information that will bring about the downfall of the Allies and lead to a Nazi victory, there is only one person standing in his way. When Faber meets and falls in love with a lonely Englishwoman, he must decide if his desire for her is worth more than his duty to his nation.
The Unlikely Spy, by Daniel Silva
To uncover the identity of a dangerous but unknown traitor, Britain’s counterintelligence operations must find the unlikeliest agent of all. History professor, Alfred Vicary, is chosen by Winston Churchill as the chief spy catcher. All seems to go well until he discovers the Nazi’s have chosen an equally unlikely agent: Catherine Blake, a hospital volunteer hell-bent on uncovering the Allies plans for D-Day.
Blood Red Sea, by Jack Hayes
In 1944, the Allies are finally close to victory against the Germans. That it is until they discover a German U-boat that is making it’s way to a mysterious island controlled by the Nazis. On the U-boat is a uranium bomb, set to be delivered to Japan. Before the weapon can be delivered, the Allies must stop the U-boat—no matter the cost.
Black Cross, by Greg Iles
As the Allied troops prepare for D-Day, the Nazis are developing a toxic nerve gas that will render them incapacitated. To ensure that invasion goes as planned, two men must infiltrate a Nazi concentration camp where the gas is being tested on human subjects. They must destroy all remnants of the gas and the scientists who created it, even if it costs their lives.
Fair Warning, by George E. Simpson and Neal R. Burger
July 1945: Germany has surrendered and America is set to finally drop the atomic bomb over Japan. But what if the United States set a secret mission to warn the Japanese and get them to surrender? This daring thriller strikes a brilliant chord between what was and what might have been.
The Rhinemann Exchange, by Robert Ludlum
One of the most feared Allied agents during WWII, David Spaulding has been commissioned to complete an undercover deal involving top secret Nazi scientific plans. Realizing that both the Germans and American can benefit from each other, they agree to trade German rocket plans for industrial grade diamonds. But the plan goes awry when an underground organization goes to great lengths to stop the exchange.
The World at Night, by Alan Furst
As Hitler’s forces prepare to invade France in 1940, film producer Jean Casson is determined to continue enjoying the pleasures of Parisian life. This idealism throws him into danger when the British secret service recruits him for an operation against the Germans. What is originally supposed to be a simple mission goes wrong, and Casson’s career, love, and life are all on the line.
Honor Bound, by W.E.B. Griffin
At a secret rendezvous point off the coast of Argentina, a ship is set to deliver supplies to Nazi forces in 1942. To sabotage the operation, the OSS enlists a young Marine as the key to overthrowing the Nazis. The young man has more at stake than his duty to his country, when he is commissioned to gain the trust of the Argentinian father he never knew, the powerful “el Coronel.”
War of the Rats, by David L. Robbins
This one’s based on the true story of two expert snipers—Vasily Zaytsev of Russia and Heinz Thorvald of Germany—who struggle to eliminate their counterparts during a six-month battle in Stalingrad during 1942. Equally matched in their skills? an American woman who eventually joins Zaytsev’s cadre and becomes his most talented assassin and greatest weakness.