David Baldacci shares his favourite spy novels

David Baldacci selects his favourite spy novels, from thrillers by John le Carré to a classic written by Graham Greene.

06/02/2019
2 minutes to read

Bestselling thriller author David Baldacci shares his favourite spy novels.

'All are original and rock-solid in the world they represent. The twists and turns come fast and furious and the only thing you can be sure about is you can't be sure about anything. I love writing about espionage because it doesn't get any more personal than that, and the stakes can't be any higher. You live and die by both your wits and your instincts.'
David Baldacci

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

by John Le Carré

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John le Carre's classic Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy follows MI6 operative George Smiley's mission to catch a Soviet mole that has penetrated the British Intelligence for more than 30 years. Relying 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.

Six Days of the Condor

by James Grady

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When Malcolm discovers his CIA colleagues butchered in their office he realises that only an oversight by the assassins has saved his life. He contacts CIA headquarters for help, but when another attempt on his life goes badly wrong he realises that no-one can be trusted. Malcolm goes on the run hoping to evade the killers long enough to unravel the conspiracy... But will that be enough to save his life?

The Night Manager

by John le Carré

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Another classic spy thriller by John le Carré recently adapted for TV. Former soldier-turned-hotel manager Jonathan Pine helps the British Intelligence bring down Richard Roper, an international businessman at the hotel with suspicious dealings. But when a single attempt to pass on information to the British authorities backfires terribly, and people close to Pine begin to die, he commits himself to a battle against powerful forces he cannot begin to imagine. . .

Our Man in Havana

by Graham Greene

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James Wormold, a failing vacuum cleaner salesman, is struggling to fund the increasingly lavish lifestyle of his manipulative daughter. So when a mysterious Englishman offers him an extra income, he's tempted. All he has to do is carry out a little spying and file some reports... but when he fake report start coming true,  Havana suddenly becomes a very dangerous place indeed.

The Ipcress File

by Len Deighton

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In The Ipcress File by master of the genre, Len Deighton, a nameless spy is sent on a mission to find a missing British biochemist, the latest of eight who have vanished in the last six weeks. They are being held captive by a mysterious freelance agent known as 'Jay'. Butis 'Jay' the real enemy... or is it someone working from the inside?

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

by John le Carré

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Alex Lemas has one final assignment to complete. He must go undercover in Communist Germany and betray his country. But when M16 Spy George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas realises his mission isn't as simple or clear-cut as he thought...


Looking for more inspiration? Discover our complete guide to David Baldacci's books in order, or our edit of the best crime novels ever written.