More than 850 book reviews

Tag Archive for ‘espionage’

75 readable and revealing historical novels

Though I read a great deal of historical fiction, I gravitate toward certain topics, as you can see in the list below of the 75 historical novels I’ve, read, enjoyed, and reviewed over the past seven years. My favorite subjects are European history, including many historical spy novels; World War II; American history, especially political… Read More ›

A stirring tale of spies in wartime Vienna

Vienna Spies, by Alex Gerlis @@@@ (4 out of 5) In The Secret War, his illuminating revisionist history of secret intelligence in World War II, the British journalist Max Hastings questions the value of what has come to be called “humint,” the product of spies working undercover. In Hastings’ view, spies had little effect on… Read More ›

Russian sleeper agents and the misfits of MI5

Dead Lions (Slough House #2), by Mick Herron @@@@@ (5 out of 5) A long-retired former British secret service officer named Dickie Bow recognizes a face from the past. He impulsively sets out to follow the man on a train from London to Worcester, and later on the bus passengers boarded when the train ground… Read More ›

My 10 favorite espionage novels

Over the past seven years, I’ve read and reviewed 60 espionage novels. My ten favorites are listed below. Though my preliminary list included multiple titles by three authors (Alex Berenson, Charles Cumming, and Ross Thomas), I’ve limited myself to a single title from every writer. I gave every one of these ten titles a score… Read More ›

The latest from a latter-day John le Carre

A Divided Spy (Thomas Kell #3), by Charles Cumming @@@@@ (5 out of 5) The British espionage novelist Charles Cumming is sometimes compared to John le Carre, who is 40 years older. Le Carre writes in the same genre but is celebrated as the author of several novels regarded as among the best ever written…. Read More ›

An exciting chapter in the Bernie Gunther saga

The Other Side of Silence (Bernie Gunther #11), by Philip Kerr @@@@ (4 out of 5) The Other Side of Silence is the 11th novel in Philip Kerr‘s bestselling series of detective stories featuring Bernie Gunther. (A 12th is forthcoming as I write.) However, unlike the books that precede it in the series, this suspenseful… Read More ›

A spy story that will keep you guessing

The Travelers: A Novel, by Chris Pavone @@@@@ (5 out of 5) In his third novel, The Travelers, Chris Pavone weaves a tale so baffling that you’re likely to be shocked again and again as the truth at the heart of the story gradually floats to the surface. Once again, as in his previous books,… Read More ›

An engrossing novel about British counter-espionage

Secret Asset (Liz Carlyle #2), by Stella Rimington @@@@ (4 out of 5) Sohail Din, a young Pakistani-British man, has postponed entry into law school for a year to serve as an undercover source for MI5. His agent runner, Liz Carlyle, returns from leave to find that Din has reported a visit by a notorious… Read More ›

65 good new books I’ve read in 2016

I suppose sixty-five seems like a lot of books to most people, but it’s far from all the books I’ve read in 2016. Listed here are only those that I rated @@@@ or @@@@@ (4 or 5 out of 5). Keep in mind that I’m very selective in choosing books (emphasis on very), and I… Read More ›

17 books that illuminate the World War II era

If you’ve been reading my reviews for very long, you’re aware that the World War II era holds special fascination for me. This might have something to do with the fact that I was born then — in fact, about six months before the USA entered the war. Or maybe it’s just because it all… Read More ›