The 10 Best Spy Novels You Haven’t Read Yet

You won't need a spyglass to see how exciting these books are!


So, you love spy novels. You can’t get enough political intrigue, double-dealing, and hair-trigger stakes. But the problem is you feel like you’ve read them all – or at least, all the good ones.

Not to worry! We’ve assembled 10 of the best spy novels that you’ve probably never read, from overlooked classics to some of the best of a more recent crop. Dig in, and you’re bound to find something that will transport you and keep you turning pages long into the night.

the red cobra, one of the best spy novels

The Red Cobra

By Rob Sinclair

Rob Sinclair’s “Enemy” series has sold more than a million copies, but you may not have heard about his follow-up. The Red Cobra sees Carl Logan, former agent of the Joint Intelligence Agency, now living in retirement under the name of James Ryker.

 He thinks he’s left the world of espionage behind, but his former boss brings him bad news—there’s a grisly murder that may be tied to his past, and which may compromise his future.

our man in havana, one of the best spy novels

Our Man in Havana

By Graham Greene

A lot of the novels on this list are more recent books that may have slipped under your radar, but there are also genuine classics that you may have missed. This “comical, satirical, atmospherical” (Daily Telegraph) novel from Graham Greene certainly qualifies.

Named one of the 20 Best Spy Novels of All Time by Telegraph, this tale of a vacuum cleaner salesman in Cuba who is recruited by British Intelligence was made into a classic 1959 film starring Alec Guinness. But if you’ve never read the book, you’re missing out!

manhunt, one of the best spy novels


By James Barrington

Paul Richter is a former aviator from the British Navy who finds himself unwittingly cast into a “wilderness of mirrors” in this page-turning book that kicks off a series from author James Barrington. With a senior officer apparently turned traitor, nobody knows who to trust, and a former Russian intelligence agent brings evidence that further muddies the waters.

Now, it seems that everyone is out to kill Paul Richter and the woman he’s trying to protect, as he races against the clock to save Britain’s most secret computer system.

the gun seller, one of the best spy novels

The Gun Seller

By Hugh Laurie

“Although the subject is serious, even plausible, much of this comedy-thriller is laugh-out-loud funny.” That’s what Library Journal had to say about The Gun Seller, which may not come as much of a surprise when you realize that the author is beloved actor Hugh Laurie, known for such series as House and Jeeves & Wooster.

Here, the multitalented comic actor brings his skill for levity and drama to the story of an ex-soldier who is drawn into a world of international terrorists, arms dealers, and CIA spooks, in a novel that  Booklist calls, “A thoroughgoing pleasure from beginning to end.”

the sword of moses, one of the best spy novels

The Sword of Moses

By Dominic Selwood

“The thinking person’s Da Vinci Code” is what BBC Radio calls this breakneck novel from Dominic Selwood that kicks off a trilogy starring MI6 agent turned archaeologist Dr. Ava Curzon.

A militia claims to have gotten hold of the actual Ark of the Covenant in this “rollercoaster” (Daily Express) story featuring Knights Templar, neo-Nazis, freemasons, occultists, and all the intrigue you can handle. And once you finish, there are more Ava Curzon adventures waiting…

then we take berlin, one of the best spy novels

Then We Take Berlin

By John Lawton

“Lawton’s gift for atmosphere, memorable characters and intelligent plotting has been compared to John le Carre,” raves The Seattle Times. “Never mind the comparisons – Lawton can stand up on his own, and Then We Take Berlin is a gem.”

The first in a new series from the author of the acclaimed Inspector Troy novels, this “wonderfully complex and nuanced thriller” (Kirkus Reviews) brings readers into a post-war Berlin where danger lurks around every corner and things are seldom as they seem.

six days of the condor, one of the best spy novels

Six Days of the Condor

By James Grady

Maybe you’ve seen the classic Robert Redford thriller 3 Days of the Condor, but have you read the novel on which it was based?

See why John Grisham called James Grady a “master of intrigue” in this page-turning book about corruption at the highest levels of the CIA that not only inspired the classic film – and a new TV series featuring Max Irons, Mira Sorvino, and Brendan Fraser – but has also been held up as one of the inspirations for Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

the thirty nine steps, one of the best spy novels

The Thirty-Nine Steps

By John Buchan

First published more than a century ago and adapted to the screen by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps helped to establish the model of the modern political thriller. Yet many of us have never read this groundbreaking book, which is just as relentless, insightful, and thrilling as the day it was published.

As an ordinary man tries to foil an assassination attempt and decode an elaborate conspiracy, you can see the beginnings of so many great spy novels to come in this unforgettable classic.

secret service, one of the best spy novels

Secret Service

By Tom Bradby

John le Carre is considered by many to be one of the finest to ever ply the trade of the political thriller. So when Booklist says that the latest book from Tom Bradby, finalist for multiple Crime Writers Association awards, is filled with “resonant echoes of le Carre,” you know it’s high praise indeed.

In this riveting political thriller, MI6 officer Kate Henderson learns a terrifying secret: that a high-ranking UK politician is actually a Russian spy. As she struggles to uncover the identity of the mole before it’s too late, she finds her career, her family, and even her life all in jeopardy in this tense page-turner.

night of the fox, one of the best spy novels

Night of the Fox

By Jack Higgins

New York Times bestselling author Jack Higgins may be best known as the author of The Eagle Has Landed, but it was far from his only World War II-set thriller.

Night of the Fox takes place in the days leading up to the Normandy Invasion. A British covert operative must undertake a perilous mission to impersonate a Nazi officer in order to find – or silence – one of the only people who has intel about the invasion.