Best Spy Novels

The best spy novels from the 20th and 21st centuries.
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19

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21

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23

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25

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26

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27

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28

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29

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30

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31

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3.57 avg rating — 198 ratings
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32

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33

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34

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4.17 avg rating — 98,097 ratings
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35

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36

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37

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38

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39

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40

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41

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42

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43

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44

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45

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46

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47

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48

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49

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50

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51

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52

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53

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54

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55

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56

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58

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59

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60

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61

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62

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63

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64

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65

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66

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67

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68

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69

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70

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71

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72

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73

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74

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75

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76

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77

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78

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80

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81

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82

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83

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84

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85

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86

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87

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4.20 avg rating — 23,763 ratings
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88

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3.64 avg rating — 5,774 ratings
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89

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3.82 avg rating — 15,955 ratings
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90

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91

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92

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93

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94

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4.22 avg rating — 25,148 ratings
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95

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4.16 avg rating — 70,608 ratings
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96

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3.72 avg rating — 30,032 ratings
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97

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4.03 avg rating — 17,501 ratings
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98

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99

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100

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575 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Emma 7055 books
9 friends
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3253 books
861 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 547 books
370 friends
Kasia Ela 631 books
194 friends
Matt 268 books
3 friends
Thomas 820 books
21 friends
Darwin8u 3782 books
1558 friends
Sujeetha 1236 books
68 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-39 of 39 (39 new)

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message 1: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Removed Control Switch On which is nonfiction.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Is there a list he hasn't put his list on?!


message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Although I enjoy the Jack Reacher novels, I personally don't consider them to be spy novels, and several of the other books that I have read definitely don't fall into this category, such as the Camel Club. It's disappointing to me that so many of the named books don't fall into this category.


message 4: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl Deleted The Executioner's Song which is not a spy novel.


message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert Cindy (above, msg 3) is correct. Jack Reacher is not a spy.


message 6: by Steven (new)

Steven Robert Langdon...the spy??


message 7: by Celia (new)

Celia Weeded out the obvious... There are some that don't look right but since I haven't actually read them and didn't want to take the time to read through all the summaries I just left them in to be safe.

Leave a comment including book title and position number if there's a book that you know is wrong.


message 8: by Cindy (last edited Aug 21, 2014 05:44PM) (new)

Cindy These books should be removed:
Lee Child books #38-The Killing Floor; #68 Die Trying; #75 One Shot; #81 Bad Luck & Trouble; #88 61 Hours; #90 The Hard Way; #100 The Affair
Baldacci #72 The Camel Club


message 9: by Celia (new)

Celia I will remove the Jack Reacher books, but The Camel Club does seem to have an element of espionage to it based on the summary. It's not that I don't believe you, but I don't want to risk losing my librarian privileges. :/


message 10: by Butch (new)

Butch Camel Club series of novels by David Baldacci is his best, I think. All the Daniel Silva 'Gabriel Allon' series of novels should be included!


message 11: by Emma (new)

Emma Ghee I started this list some 3 years ago. Some people obviously do not know what a spy novel is and guys and dolls! do not go by author, go by the contents of the book.


message 12: by Rannazora (new)

Rannazora the Millennium trilogy by Stig Larsson has nothing to do with spies as well.


message 13: by Jeff (last edited Aug 05, 2015 05:26PM) (new)

Jeff Howe The Stieg Larsson books are not spy novels.

To Kill a Mockingbird?!?!? Catcher in the Rye?!?!?!? Huh?

Where the heck is Quiller? ...OK, found one. Bravo -- the Quiller series is super well written.

Now recommending the Slough House series by Mick Herron.


message 14: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Jeff wrote: "The Stieg Larsson books are not spy novels.

To Kill a Mockingbird?!?!? Catcher in the Rye?!?!?!? Huh?

Where the heck is Quiller? ...OK, found one. Bravo -- the Quiller series is super well writte..."

Jeff, thanks for the recommendation. I'll add Mick Herron's Slough House series to my to read section.


message 15: by Carol (last edited Aug 17, 2015 10:22AM) (new)

Carol Procaccini I want to know more about this best spy novels


message 16: by Leslie (new)


message 17: by Terelyn (new)

Terelyn Marks Catcher in the Rye? Games of Thrones? Rebecca?

None of those are spy novels!


message 18: by Bob (new)

Bob Bagnall @Terelyn Beg to differ RE Key to Rebecca. Not only was it a spy story, it was based on a real life spy in England...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Key...


message 19: by Cindy (new)

Cindy Celia wrote: "I will remove the Jack Reacher books, but The Camel Club does seem to have an element of espionage to it based on the summary. It's not that I don't believe you, but I don't want to risk losing my ..."
Celia, looks like the Jack Reacher books are still listed.


message 20: by Terelyn (new)

Terelyn Marks Bob wrote: "@Terelyn Beg to differ RE Key to Rebecca. Not only was it a spy story, it was based on a real life spy in England...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Key..."


I wasn't questioning Key to Rebecca, but Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier. Definitely NOT a 'spy novel.'


message 21: by Bob (new)

Bob Bagnall I think we agree.. I'm guessing Rebecca was pulled from the list after you wrote, and I only saw The Key to Rebecca in the list

PS
Game of thrones is still there :)

I wasn't question..."


message 22: by Nicole Marie (new)

Nicole Marie Disclaimer: Per GR, Listopia is not for purposes of promotion and/or advertising. Genuine readers only.


message 23: by mr. (new)

mr.  jim Rannazora wrote: "the Millennium trilogy by Stig Larsson has nothing to do with spies as well."

somebody didn't read well...


message 24: by Jim (new)

Jim Prince The 39 Steps is on the list twice, #28 and #553


message 25: by Booklovinglady (last edited Feb 27, 2017 07:43AM) (new)

Booklovinglady Jim wrote: "The 39 Steps is on the list twice, #28 and #553"

Should be fixed now, as I let the system perform a duplicate check.


message 26: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Ramsey Deighton should be at the top. Especially the Bernard Sampon character.


message 27: by Vicki (new)

Vicki In what way is The Da Vinci Code a spy novel? Conspiracy, yes. Thriller, yes. But who's the spy?


message 29: by Greg (new)

Greg Vicki wrote: "In what way is The Da Vinci Code a spy novel? Conspiracy, yes. Thriller, yes. But who's the spy?"

Well, I guess if you think about spys and the way they have to decode or intercept messages, then Langdon does indeed decode messages from the past. Yes, that's a stretch, but remember, this is goodreads, where the best book ever published, listed on this site, a social media group of which we are a member, is "Hunger Games #1"....or it might be "Twilight", they switch places. So these lists are for fun, no more and no less.


message 30: by Lee (new)

Lee Pfotzer Where is Helen MacInnes on the list? She was the first "Queen of the Spy Story" and several of her novels were made into films.


message 31: by Booklovinglady (last edited Jul 09, 2019 09:48PM) (new)

Booklovinglady Jeff wrote: "Catcher in the Rye?!?!?!? Huh?..."

Thought it was just me, as I couldn't remember anything to do with a spy 🙂 There are a couple of books I've read that I couldn't remember having anything to do with being 'spy' novels.
Rebecca (#227)
The Naive and Sentimental Lover (#336)
The Catcher in the Rye (#339)
Foucault's Pendulum (#942)

I agree with Terelyn on this one. And I'd like to quote Vicki for Foulcault's Pendulum: 'Conspiracy, yes. Thriller, yes. But who's the spy?'

I haven't removed any of the books I mentioned, by the way. Sort of 'each to his own', although I personally would never have added them.

Haven't read If on a Winter's Night a Traveller (#938) yet, so I can't judge, but having read some of Italo Calvino's other books, I very much doubt this is a 'spy' novel. Same goes for The Prague Cemetery (#518): Haven't read it yet, but judging by Umberto Eco's other books it would surprise me if this suddenly is a 'spy' novel.


message 32: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis The system found and removed 19 duplicates.


Jeremy Hollingshead No Ross Thomas novels make the top 100 spy novels, but a bunch of suspense and mystery stories that have nothing to do with spies do. That makes perfect sense, said no one ever.


message 34: by Donna (new)

Donna Davis System found and removed 3 duplicates.


message 35: by David (new)

David Gibson Jack Reacher novels are great fun, but they are definitely NOT "spy novels."


message 36: by David (new)

David Gibson Lee wrote: "Where is Helen MacInnes on the list? She was the first "Queen of the Spy Story" and several of her novels were made into films."

You're correct. She wrote somewhat breezy period pieces.


message 37: by David (new)

David Gibson Jeremy Hollingshead wrote: "No Ross Thomas novels make the top 100 spy novels, but a bunch of suspense and mystery stories that have nothing to do with spies do. That makes perfect sense, said no one ever."


~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells Cindy wrote: "Although I enjoy the Jack Reacher novels, I personally don't consider them to be spy novels, and several of the other books that I have read definitely don't fall into this category, such as the Ca..."

You are right. I will delete the ones I voted for.


~☆~Autumn♥♥☔ Wells Celia wrote: "I will remove the Jack Reacher books, but The Camel Club does seem to have an element of espionage to it based on the summary. It's not that I don't believe you, but I don't want to risk losing my ..."

You need to remove them again.


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