Top Ten Spy Novels Box Set
The Secret Agent is Joseph Conrad’s dark satire on English society, edited with an introduction and notes by Michael Newton in Penguin Classics. In the only novel Conrad set in London, The Secret Agent communicates a profoundly ironic view of human affairs. The story is woven around an attack on the Greenwich Observatory in 1894 masterminded by Verloc, a Russian spy working for the police, and ostensibly a member of an anarchist group in Soho. His masters instruct him to discredit the anarchists in a humiliating fashion, and when his evil plan goes horribly awry, Verloc must deal with the repercussions of his actions. While rooted in the Edwardian period, Conrad’s tale remains strikingly contemporary, with its depiction of Londoners gripped by fear of the terrorists living in their midst. This edition of The Secret Agent contains a chronology, further reading, notes and maps of London and Greenwich. In his introduction, Michael Newton discusses London’s real-life world of political anarchy, and Conrad’s portrayal of the Verlocs’ marriage. Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was born in the Ukraine and grew up under Tsarist autocracy. After spending years in the French, and later the British Merchant Navy, Conrad left the sea to devote himself to writing. In 1896 he settled in Kent, where he produced within fifteen years such modern classics as Youth, Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and Under Western Eyes. If you enjoyed The Secret Agent, you might like Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Demons.
The original and best adventure story ever told, with spies, thrilling chase scenes and explosions.
With an Introduction by Stella Rimington.May 1914. Britain is on the eve of war with Germany. Richard Hannay is living a quiet life in London, but after a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger he stumbles into a hair-raising adventure — a desperate hunt across the country and against the clock, pursued by the police and a cunning, ruthless enemy. Hannay’s life and the security of Britain are in grave peril, and everything rests on the solution to a baffling enigma: what are the thirty-nine steps?
The Dark Star by Alan Furst
Paris, Moscow, Berlin, and Prague, 1937. In the back alleys of nighttime Europe, war is already under way. André Szara, survivor of the Polish pogroms and the Russian civil wars and a foreign correspondent for Pravda, is co-opted by the NKVD, the Soviet secret intelligence service, and becomes a full-time spymaster in Paris. As deputy director of a Paris network, Szara finds his own star rising when he recruits an agent in Berlin who can supply crucial information. Dark Star captures not only the intrigue and danger of clandestine life but the day-to-day reality of what Soviet operatives call special work.
The Quiet American by Graham Greene
Graham Greene’s classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam
“I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused,” Graham Greene’s narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous “Quiet American” of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas.
As young Pyle’s well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler’s motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler’s beautiful Vietnamese mistress.
Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
Featuring George Smiley, this New York Times bestseller is the first installment in John le Carré’s acclaimed Karla Trilogy. From the author ofA Delicate Truth and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold.
The man he knew as “Control” is dead, and the young Turks who forced him out now run the Circus. But George Smiley isn’t quite ready for retirement—especially when a pretty, would-be defector surfaces with a shocking accusation: a Soviet mole has penetrated the highest level of British Intelligence. Relying only on his wits and a small, loyal cadre, Smiley recognizes the hand of Karla—his Moscow Centre nemesis—and sets a trap to catch the traitor.
The Oscar-nominated feature film adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is directed by Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In) and features Gary Oldman as Smiley, Academy Award winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech), and Tom Hardy (Inception).
With an introduction by the author.
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators—led by Carlos, the world’s most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him.
From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming
When Soviet spy Tatiana Romanova declares she wants to defect to Britain, James Bond chaperones her on a journey aboard the Orient Express, but despite his physical attraction to her, Bond does not trust Romanova’s intentions.
The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
#1 New York Times bestselling author Frederick Forsyth’s unforgettable novel of a conspiracy, a killer, and the one man who can stop him…
He is known only as “The Jackal”—a cold, calculating assassin without emotion, or loyalty, or equal. He’s just received a contract from an enigmatic employer to eliminate one of the most heavily guarded men in the world—Charles De Gaulle, president of France.
It is only a twist of fate that allows the authorities to discover the plot. They know next to nothing—only that the assassin is on the move. To track him, they dispatch their finest detective, Claude Lebel, on a manhunt that will push him to his limit, in a race to stop an assassin’s bullet from reaching its target.
The Night Heron by Adam Brooke
A chance encounter with a Turkish colonel with a penchant for British crime novels leads mystery writer Charles Latimer into a world of sinister political and criminal maneuvers throughout the Balkans in the years between the world wars. Hoping that the career of the notorious Dimitrios, whose body has been identified in an Istanbul morgue, will inspire a plot for his next novel, Latimer soon finds himself caught up in a shadowy web of assassination, espionage, drugs, and treachery.