Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Unlikely Spy” as Want to Read:
The Unlikely Spy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Unlikely Spy

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  10,787 ratings  ·  441 reviews
In wartime," Winston Churchill wrote, "truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies." For Britain's counterintelligence operations, this meant finding the unlikeliest agent imaginable-a history professor named Alfred Vicary, handpicked by Churchill himself to expose a highly dangerous, but unknown, traitor. The Nazis, however, have also ch ...more
Paperback, 752 pages
Published May 6th 2003 by Signet (first published May 1995)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Unlikely Spy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Unlikely Spy

The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Espionage
70th out of 541 books — 608 voters
The Da Vinci Code by Dan BrownThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAngels & Demons by Dan BrownThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonThe Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
Thrillers
231st out of 1,980 books — 2,572 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Belinda
Spy novels are not books that I usually read, but this one is engaging and I enjoyed it. It really is a historical novel, I guess, because the facts about WWII on which the book is based are true. It certainly is more interesting learning about WWII by reading this novel than a history book! The story line was based on the preparations for D-Day and the building of an artificial harbor from concrete that was floated across the English Channel so when they landed at Normandy, they would have a ha ...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Disclaimer: I'm a sucker for WWII and / or spy books

Before I start - this is not a "Gabriel Allon" book as mentioned on Amazon's book title.

"The Unlikely Spy" is a fast paced page turner, set mostly in days preceding the Normandy invasion in WWII. The story's unlikely hero is a university professor named Alfred Vicray who was recruited by none other then Winston Churchill himself to work for the British MI5.

Vicary is a spy catcher - he does his job well until realizing that a small group of G
...more
Merilee
I've read and enjoyed a few of Silva's books before, but they have all starred his Mossad agent/art restorer, Gabriel Allon. This book is not part of the Allon series, but nonetheless a well-written historical thriller about all the information and disinformation leading up to the Normandy landings. We listened to it in the car on 15 disks!

The Unlikely Spy is a spy novel written by Daniel Silva, set during World War II, and published in 1996. While some of the exact characters and events may be
...more
Rich Sanidad
When I started this book, I was hoping for a small break from some of the non-fiction I had been reading. I was looking for a thriller in the same vein as Robert Ludlum or David Baldacci. Instead, I got a history-heavy suspense novel – and I didn’t mind one bit.

The author’s challenge in this book was trying to maintain a level of tension to hold the reader’s interest, even though the ultimate outcome of the story was well known (the Germans were unprepared for the Allied invasion at Normandy; if
...more
Kristjan
I must admit that I really wanted to like this book. Despite its faults, I was going to give it four stars, but the ending of it left me quite unfulfilled. Here are some of the biggest problems I have with it:

1) Implausibility. (a) A van drives through a blacked-out village in a rainstorm at night. A man opens the door of his house and sees that a man is driving the van and a woman is sitting next to him. How can he see that in those conditions? (b) Small spoiler warning: A teenage girl falls in
...more
Paulo Cunha
Este livro foi-me oferecido, nunca tinha lido nada de Daniel Silva e inicialmente fiquei de pé atrás, porque eu gosto mais de livros de Romance Histórico, e este parecia-me um livro mais dentro do policial, no entanto a medida que fui lendo comecei a gostar do livro, porque fala de factos históricos misturados com ficção com um enredo interessante e muitas intrigas e ligações intrincadas entre os personagens. O livro desenrola-se na 2ª Guerra mundial, mais propriamente nos preparos para o dia D, ...more
Jane
After I read Moscow Rules, I checked Silva out and went back to the beginning of his career to start with this one. It takes place in World War II and we'd just seen the Tom Cruise movie so this fit right in with what was on my mind. Fascinating plot, lots of violence, perfect book for my husband, who enjoyed it after I did. I liked it too. Since it takes place in England, it took me back to my stay there many years ago, and the references to Suffolk made me homesick for Great Bealings, Woodbrid ...more
GymGuy
I'm going to give this 5 stars with reservations. It is certainly a book that anyone who is a spy/espionage enthusiast should have read, or at least have on their to-read list. It is a masterful work of historical fiction. It shows a great deal of research and actual historical detail. That being said, it is a very long book...at least by my standards. At times it tends to get bogged down in detail and side-story. One of its greatest strengths is its detail in creating characters, which ironical ...more
Kristen
Like the old adage went: All is fair in love and war. But all bets is off, when it's World War Two. From USA to England and Germany in Europe, that's a way brewing between Hitler and Churchill in this historical espionage thriller. This has a little bit of everything for a good thriller to get you hooked and caught up in the action. The Unlikely Spy is about one female spy who changed everything for war and risked her life--and her heart. Catherine Blake isn't your ordinary woman. It's just a ru ...more
Rob Savidge
Excellent book. This was my first Silva novel, and he certainly didn't disappoint. This is a standalone spy novel set in WWII. He does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere, and provides a clear image of what life was like during the end of WWII in both Britain and Germany. I find that era fascinating given the emerging technology. What I never realized prior to reading this, was the importance that England's MI5 (Counterintelligence, as opposed to MI6's intelligence/espionage), and overall ...more
Jim
I last read a Daniel Silva spy-thriller in May, 2012. As the cliché says, “So many books; so little time!” I just finished his mammoth (724 pages) first WWII thriller THE UNLIKELY SPY (ISBN 978-0451209306, paperback, $9.99). The story takes place in the U.S., U.K. and Germany from the late 1930s to the landings in Normandy. Some of the characters are real (Winston Churchill and German spymaster Admiral William Canaris). Most are not. Silva has been favorably compared to Ken Follett and Robert Ha ...more
Margarida
"O Espião Improvável" foi o primeiro romance a ser escrito por Daniel Silva e o último a ser publicado em Portugal até ao momento. É uma obra de grande fôlego, com a temática dos espiões ingleses e alemães nos meses que antecederam o Dia D - desembarque na Normandia das tropas aliadas, na II Guerra Mundial.
Para quem leu as obras seguintes de Daniel Silva, sobretudo as dedicadas à personagem Gabriel Allon, que está habituado a acção estonteante nas páginas dos livros, este livro só corresponde a
...more
Bill
What makes the perfect novel? Great plot, interesting characters, and expert pacing should pretty much do it.
The Unlikely Spy is one of the best reads I've had in a while. The story is very similar to The Eye of the Needle.
In fact, I've seen some complaints from people accusing this as nothing but a cheap clone of Follett's classic.

I think The Unlikely Spy was far superior, in terms of evoking the time and place of Britain during WWII. I felt I could really visualize the blackouts (or not visua
...more
David Seller
I found this book not dissimilar to the Vincle Flynn genre. The CIA agent protecting the USA. Michael Osbourne is hunting down a Russian asassain who has a unique signature who is suspected to be behind the downing of a civilian aircraft.
The plot broadens as it reveals that there may be some behind the scenes wheeling and dealing which helped the president achieve reelection. Osbourne is also under pressure from his wife who wants him to stay away from danger as they are trying for a child toge
...more
Flo
I picked this up by chance at my used book store. I don't like Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon thrillers so at first didn't even look at this, but when I saw it was a WW II thriller about German spies in England I bought it and was pleasantly surprised. He's no Alan Furst but the plot is strong, the characters well drawn and except for one or two errors (his lady spy uses liner on her eyes which I'm sure didn't exist in 1944--at least they didn't call it liner then. It was probably cake mascara pai ...more
Paulo Pires
Este romance �� o primeiro que li de Daniel Silva. Aborda a segunda guerra mundial, numa perspectiva dos subtis jogos de bastidores dos espi��es. Onde de ambos os lados se joga com informa����o e contra informa����o. Conseguiu-se criar uma envolvente repleta de mist��rio e expectativa. �� interessante como nos transporta e nos envolve at�� ao ��ltimo momento. Explica-se perfeitamente a raz��o porque foi um best seller do New York Times. Se acrescermos o facto de o autor tem ascend��ncia portugue ...more
Arwen56
Tipico romanzo “da ombrellone”. Una spy-story di genere classico, con diverse esagerazioni, ma tutto sommato leggibile. O almeno così mi è parso nel 1998. Difficilmente lo riprenderei in mano adesso.

Ogni tanto mi chiedo cosa avrebbe pensato Winston Churchill se avesse saputo che, in futuro, sarebbe stato usato così tante volte come personaggio che muove le fila delle diverse storie di fantasia narrate nei film e nei romanzi. L’avrebbe gradito oppure avrebbe avuto uno dei suoi famosi attacchi di
...more
Nancy
I loved listening to this book and resented having to take off my earphones for any reason for a couple of days. I enjoyed the writing, the characters, the plot, and the history embedded in it. I don’t read many spy/thriller books, but enjoyed my first Daniel Silva novel, The Kill Artist, so I decided to try another. The Unlikely Spy was set in England during the build-up to D-Day and involved the protection of the secret of the Normandy Invasion from German spies by a huge deception. It was all ...more
Jane Kirkpatrick
As always Daniel Silva weaves a credible story of intrigue, political motivations, wrapped around the intimacy of death and war. I'm always amazed at the complexity of his plots and that his characters are so well developed that despite there being dozens we know them whenever they arrive on the scene and see their changes as a natural part of the journey. This is the fourth Daniel Silva book I've read. I'll be reading them all
Patricia
This is Silva's first book but though he is one of my favorite authors, I put off reading it until now. The reason: Nazis. As Indiana Jones said, "I hate those guys." And after reading the non-fiction "Stealing the Mystic Lamb" by Noah Charney and "Monuments Men" by Robert Edsel, I had truly had enough of them for quite awhile. But this summer while I awaited Silva's newest to become available at the library I picked it up.

I still hate reading about Nazis, but this was excellent. The characters
...more
Ivy Minich
ahh *contented smile*. I really enjoyed this book; I thought it was fabulous. I am new to the genre so I can't compare it to other espionage novels, but I found the story was gripping, the characters where delightfully complex and thorough, and even the writing style was intriguing. Sometimes he would tell you about the same character from different angles and it was fun to realize "ah, this person is also THAT person and that person too."

I am only giving 4 stars because I would actually have en
...more
Christiana Moffa
Mar 13, 2007 Christiana Moffa rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: WWII Fanatics
A great tale based upon the little-known story of a FEMALE double-agent leaking US secrets to the Nazis. Our solution? Ask one of our agents to go head to head with her.... and come out ALIVE. Fantastic stuff!
Marion
I liked many aspects of this book. I really enjoyed the descriptions of life in England during WWII - rendered with vivid detail. Learning about spy craft during that era was also very interesting. I had vaguely remembered that the Allies had tricked the Germans into thinking that the invasion was going to take place at Calais. So learning many of the details of the planning made the book particularly engaging. I was going to give the book 4 stars until things began to unravel for me in the end. ...more
Tom Carroll
I confess to a presupmtion - that being to have come to consider Gabriel and Chiara freinds. While reading most anyone of Sylvas stories I am in the company of my friedns. To finish the book is to see freids walk out my door leaving me to wonder when I will see them again. How long must I wait for this part of my life resume? Silly? I suppose. But then who does not indulge some world of imsgination - does not live to some degree in an imaginary world? A waking dream for those of us who have yet ...more
Kat
Wonderfully written book with an authentic historic feel. The intrigue and suspense were well-paced. I see the mark of a good book as being one you think about when you must set it down for our worldly obligations. This one fit the bill.

I also greatly appreciated that some of the "villains" were complex and dynamic. Often, especially in relation to Nazi Germany, the villains are paper thin depictions of all that is evil. While some of the characters in this story fit this bill, they were usuall
...more
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
I was slightly disappointed with this one. Too long, but then I read this in the hospital - I fractured a hip and just got home, today.
Ravi
Good read for people who want a WW spy thriller...
I felt it could have been kept shorter..
Sandy
This is the first in a series. I loved them all. Read them in order though.
John Wolfe
Superlative WWII espionage
Susan Shipman
I own The Gabriel Allon series for two reasons 1) they are exciting, intricate, well written and sometime heart stopping action regarding the best spy and assasin Israel has (who also happens to be a masterful artist that has forgone painting to restoring great Master's originals) and 2) Daniel Silva EDUCATES me on what is actually going on in the middle east. In the beginning of the series, not so much on the political arena but it starts with the attack on the Israeli athletes in 1972), but as ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
You'll love this ...: The Unlikely Spy Buddy Read 15 28 Mar 08, 2014 05:28PM  
WW2 Spy Novels group 1 13 Feb 24, 2014 02:06PM  
Blue Moon Book Lo...: May 2013 BOTM - "The Unlikely Spy" by Daniel Silva 1 4 Apr 04, 2013 06:46PM  
  • The Runner
  • Black Cross
  • The Silent Man (John Wells, #3)
  • The Arms Maker of Berlin
  • The Fist of God
  • Silesian Station (John Russell, #2)
  • A Gathering of Spies
  • The Quiller Memorandum
  • Triple
  • The Sands Of Sakkara
  • The Charm School
  • Kingdom of Shadows (Night Soldiers, #6)
  • Berlin Game (Bernard Samson, #1)
  • The Bridge of Sighs
  • The Miernik Dossier (Paul Christopher #1)
  • Path of the Assassin (Scot Harvath, #2)
29085
Daniel Silva began his writing career as a journalist for United Press International (UPI), traveling in the Middle East and covering the Iran-Iraq war, terrorism and political conflicts. From UPI he moved to CNN, where he eventually became executive producer of its Washington-based public policy programming. In 1994 he began work on his first novel, The Unlikely Spy, a surprise best seller that w ...more
More about Daniel Silva...
The Kill Artist (Gabriel Allon, #1) The Rembrandt Affair (Gabriel Allon, #10) The Defector (Gabriel Allon, #9) The Messenger (Gabriel Allon, #6) Portrait of a Spy (Gabriel Allon, #11)

Share This Book