Reading List: Kingsman (Get Your Spy Game On)


“A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.”

So you’ve seen Kingsman: The Secret Service and have been bitten by the spy craft bug. One: Trust me, you’re not alone. Two: We can help fill the time between now and when you go back to the theater to see the movie again, or between now and when it’s released on DVD, whichver is in keeping with how you roll. The majority of the titles on this list, both fiction and non-fiction, can be found on display in the new book room.

Maybe you haven’t seen the movie; here’s the trailer:

kingsmangnLet’s start with the graphic novel, shall we: The Secret Service: Kingsman by Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, and Matthew Vaughn.

Kick-Ass writer Mark Millar, Watchmen legend Dave Gibbons, and superstar director Matt hew Vaughn team up to reinvent the spy genre for the 21st century in one of the most brilliant new comics of recent years. A British secret agent feels guilty about never spending time with his deadbeat sister and takes his wayward nephew under his wing after he’s arrested in the London riots. The boy is heading straight for a jail cell until his uncle steps in and tries to give him a new life, training him up to be a gentleman spy. Gone are the garish street clothes and chunky jewelry, replaced with a Savile Row suit and bulletproof umbrella as he travels the globe to uncover a plot that links the kidnapping of the world’s most famous sci-fi actors with a plot to eradicate 90% of the human race.”

Under the heading of Teenagers Make the Best Spies, take your pick from the following:

cherubRobert Muchamore’s Cherub series:

“CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented—and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats—all without gadgets or weapons. It is an exceptionally dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that teens are spying on them.

James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. James has no idea what to expect, but he’s out of options. Before he can start in the field he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end….”

1. The Recruit | 2. The Dealer | 3. Maximum Security | 4. The Killing | 5. Divine Madness | 6. Man vs. Beast | 7. The Fall | 8. Mad Dogs | 9. The Sleepwalker | 10. The General | 11. Brigands | 12. Shadow Wave

sekretSekret by Lindsay Smith
“Yulia’s father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she’s captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she’s thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one—not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention—and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.” (Look for the sequel, Skandal, this April.)

stormbreakerStormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
“They told him his uncle died in a car accident. But fourteen-year-old Alex knows that’s a lie, and the bullet holes in his uncle’s windshield confirm his suspicions. But nothing could prepare him for the news that the uncle he always thought he knew was really a spy for MI6-Britain’s top secret intelligence agency. Recruited to find his uncle’s killers and complete his final mission, Alex suddenly finds himself caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse. ”

silverfinSilverFin: A Young James Bond Novel by Charlie Higson
“Young James Bond had no taste for the prim enclaves of Eton. Even as a teenager, this restless 13-year-old hated his stuffy prep school and longed for high adventure. Visiting relatives in the Scottish Highlands, he learns that a local boy has just gone missing. Jumping at the opportunity to join the hunt, the future 007 tracks clues to a medieval castle owned by Lord Hellebore, a maniacal, power-hungry aristocrat; then, with an impulsive decision that will change his entire life, he ventures into the lair of the madman.”

code name verityCode Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
“Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun. When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.” (Look for the companion book, Rose Under Fire, once you’ve finished CNV.)

The Real Deal (Spy Non-fiction):


A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal by Ben Macintyre
“Kim Philby was the greatest spy in history, a brilliant and charming man who rose to head Britain’s counterintelligence against the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, while he was secretly working for the enemy. Nobody thought he knew Philby like Nicholas Elliott, Philby’s best friend and fellow officer in MI6. But Philby was secretly betraying his friend. Every word Elliott breathed to Philby was transmitted back to Moscow, along with those of James Jesus Angleton, head of the CIA.”

Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story by Jack Devine
“A master class in spycraft from one of its greatest practitioners. Jack Devine is one of the legendary spymasters of our time. He was in Chile when Allende fell; he ran Charlie Wilson’s war in Afghanistan; he had too much to do with Iran-Contra for his own taste, though he tried to stop it; he caught Pablo Escobar in Colombia; he tried to warn George Tenet that there was a bullet coming from Iraq with his name on it. Devine served America’s interests for more than thirty years in a wide range of covert operations, ultimately overseeing the Directorate of Operations, a CIA division that watches over thousands of American covert operatives worldwide.”

A Cool and Lonely Courage: The Untold Story of Sister Spies in Occupied France by Susan Ottaway
“Eileen Nearne and her sister Jacqueline were agents for the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War, working undercover in Nazi-occupied France to send crucial intelligence to the Allies. But the war dealt these sisters a cruel hand. While Jacqueline narrowly evaded capture, Eileen was arrested and tortured by the Gestapo before being incarcerated in Ravensbruck concentration camp. She was only 23. Now, for the first time, the truth about these fiercely patriotic women is told in full, their unwavering courage at great personal cost paid tribute to at last.”

A Very Principled Boy: The Life of Duncan Lee, Red Spy and Cold Warrior by Mark A. Bradley
“Lee was chief aide to William ‘Wild Bill’ Donovan, the fabled head of the Office of Strategic Services and grandfather of the CIA. During World War II, Lee’s political sympathies and desire to advance the fight against fascism led him to leak highly classified information to the Soviets … [revealing] just how deeply Soviet spies were entrenched in the American intelligence community at the height of the Cold War”

Spymaster: Startling Cold War Revelations of a Soviet KGB Chief by T. H. Bagley
“KGB chief Sergei A. Kondrashev presents “tales of surviving Stalin’s purges while superiors and colleagues did not, of plotting to reveal the Berlin Tunnel, of quelling the Hungarian Revolution and ‘Prague Spring’ independence movements, and of assisting in arranging the final disposition of the corpses of Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun. [He] also details KGB propaganda and disinformation efforts that shaped Western attitudes throughout the Cold War.”

The Man Who Was George Smiley: The Life of John Bingham by Michael Jago
“Investigator, interrogator, intellectual hero: the perfect inspiration for the perfect spy. This first full-length biography traces the life of the remarkable and engaging John Bingham, the man behind John le Carré’s George Smiley. The heir to an Irish barony and a spirited young journalist, John Bingham joined MI5 in 1940; his quiet intellect, wry wit and knack for observation made him a natural. He took part in many of MI5’s greatest wartime missions? from the tracking of Nazi agents in Britain to Operation double cross that ensured the success of D-Day? and later spent three decades.”

Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir of a Cold War Spy’s Daughter by Sara Mansfield Taber
“As Taber leads us on a tour through the alluring countries to which her father is assigned, we track two parallel stories—those of young Sara and her Cold War spy father. Sara struggles for normalcy as the family is relocated to cities in North America, Europe, and Asia, and the constant upheaval eventually exacts its price. Only after a psychiatric hospitalization at age sixteen in a U.S. Air Force hospital with shell-shocked Vietnam War veterans does she come to a clear sense of who she is. Meanwhile, Sara’s sweet-natured, philosophical father becomes increasingly disillusioned with his work, his agency, and his country.”

Agent Garbo: The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day by Stephan Talty
“Before he remade himself as the master spy known as Garbo, Juan Pujol was nothing more than a Barcelona poultry farmer. But as Garbo, he turned in a masterpiece of deception that changed the course of World War II. Posing as the Nazis’ only reliable spy inside England, he created an imaginary million-man army, invented armadas out of thin air, and brought a vast network of fictional subagents to life. The scheme culminated on June 6, 1944, when Garbo convinced the Germans that the Allied forces approaching Normandy were just a feint—the real invasion would come at Calais. Because of his brilliant trickery, the Allies were able to land with much less opposition and eventually push on to Berlin.”

Alger Hiss: Why He Chose Treason by Christina Shelton
“In 1948, former U.S. State Department official Alger Hiss was accused of being a Soviet spy. Because the statute of limitations on espionage had run out, he was convicted only of perjury. Decades later—after the Hiss trial had been long forgotten by most—archival evidence surfaced confirming the accusations: a public servant with access to classified documents had indeed passed crucial information to the Soviets for more than a decade.”

Agent ZigZag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love, and Betrayal by Ben Mcintyre
“Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. In 1941, after training as a German spy in occupied France, Chapman was parachuted into Britain with orders to blow up an airplane factory. Instead, he contacted MI5, the British Secret Service. For the next four years, he worked as a double agent, a British spy at the heart of the German Secret Service. Crisscrossing Europe under different names, weaving plans, spreading disinformation, and miraculously keeping his stories straight under intense interrogation, he even managed to gain some profit and seduce beautiful women along the way. MI5 has now declassified all of Chapman’s files, allowing the full story to be told, a unique glimpse into the psychology of espionage, with its thin and shifting line between fidelity and betrayal.”

Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer: The True Story of the Man Who Recruited Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames by Victor Cherkashin
“A retired KGB official whose career ranged from Stalin’s death in 1953 to the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 provides an insider’s view of the KGB’s conflict with the United States and reveals details about the agency’s secret inner workings.”

Her Majesty’s Spymaster: Elizabeth I, Sir Francis Walsingham, and the Birth of Modern Espionage by Stephen Budiasnky
“Sir Francis Walsingham’s official title was principal secretary to Queen Elizabeth I, but in fact this pious, tight-lipped Puritan was England’s first spymaster. A ruthless, fiercely loyal civil servant, Walsingham worked brilliantly behind the scenes to foil Elizabeth’s rival Mary Queen of Scots and outwit Catholic Spain and France, which had arrayed their forces behind her. Though he cut an incongruous figure in Elizabeth’s worldly court, Walsingham managed to win the trust of key players like William Cecil and the Earl of Leicester before launching his own secret campaign against the queen’s enemies. Covert operations were Walsingham’s genius; he pioneered techniques for exploiting double agents, spreading disinformation, and deciphering codes with the latest code-breaking science that remain staples of international espionage.”

Ace of Spies: The True Story of Sidney Reilly by Andrew Cook
“Sidney Reilly influenced world history through acts of extraordinary courage and sheer audacity. He was a master spy, a brilliant con man, a charmer, and a cad who lived on his wits and thrived on danger, using women shamelessly and killing where necessary—and unnecessary. Sidney Reilly is one of the most fascinating spies of the 20th century, yet he remains one of the most enigmatic. Introducing new evidence gathered from an extraordinary range of sources, Andrew Cook tells the full story of Sidney Reilly’s life. He proves conclusively who Reilly was, where he came from, and the truth behind his most daring exploits.”

Mortal Crimes: The Greatest Theft in History: Soviet Penetration of the Manhattan Project by Nigel West
“Nigel West has studied the recently revealed documents about Soviet espionage against the Western Allies during and after World War II and has for the first time painted the complete picture of how the Soviet Union stole the secrets of the atomic bomb.”

Washington Station: My Life as a KGB Spy in America by Yrui B. Shvets
“This first-hand story of Soviet spies in Washington DC, includes revelations of previously unknown KGB successes. The author, who resigned from the KGB in 1990, after ten years of service, has written an account that exposes the truth behind Soviet spies in America.”

Keeping Things Fictional:

spy fic

Jack of Spies by David Downing
“”It is 1913, and those who follow the news closely can see the world is teetering on the brink of war. Jack McColl, a Scottish car salesman with an uncanny ear for languages, has always hoped to make a job for himself as a spy. As his sales calls take him from city to great city–Hong Kong to Shanghai to San Francisco to New York–he moonlights collecting intelligence for His Majesty’s Navy, but British espionage is in its infancy and Jack has nothing but a shoestring budget and the very tenuous protection of a boss in far-away London.”

The Colonel’s Mistake by Dan Mayland
“In Baku, Azerbaijan, CIA operations officer Daria Buckingham is arrested for a heinous crime. Her former boss, retired CIA station chief Mark Sava, is sure she’s innocent and tries to help her out–landing him in the middle of the new Great Game, an espionage war over oil that has China, Iran, and the United States clawing at each other’s throats. Back in Washington, DC, Colonel Henry Amato, assistant to the US national security advisor, is keeping a close watch on the situation. His stake in the Great Game is high–and personal.”

The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming
“Hard-up Russia expert Dr. Sam Gaddis finally has a lead for a book that could set his career back on track. He has staggering new information about an unknown sixth member of the infamous Cambridge spy ring — a man who has evaded detection for his entire life. But when his source suddenly dies, Gaddis is left with just shreds of his investigation, and no idea that he is already in too deep.”

Spies of the Balkans by Alan Furst
“As war approaches northern Greece, the spies begin to circle–from the Turkish legation to the German secret service. In the ancient port of Salonika, Costa Zannis, a senior police official, head of an office that handles special “political” cases, risks everything to secure an escape route for those hunted by the Gestapo.”

The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
“Six years ago, Milo Weaver (though perhaps that’s not his name) was a “tourist”–a top-secret black-ops CIA agent without a life of his own; now he’s got a wife, a kid, and a desk job with the CIA. But it’s hard to retire for good from a career as intense as his was, and he’s been drawn back into it one last time after the death of a colleague. Betrayed by both those he counts as enemies as well as by those who should be allies, Weaver goes on the run to save the life he’s fought so hard to build.”

The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson
“John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover. During his time in the mountains he has became a Muslim and finds the U.S. decadent and shallow. With another al Qaeda plot looming, he returns to the U.S. but his superiors are unsure to about his loyalities and freeze him out.”

The Secret Servant by Daniel Silva
“Gabriel Allon, the master art restorer and sometime officer of Israeli intelligence, is summoned to undertake what appears to be a routine assignment: travel to Amsterdam to purge the archives of a murdered Dutch terrorism analyst who also happened to be an asset of Israeli intelligence. But once in Amsterdam, Gabriel soon discovers a conspiracy of terror festering in the city’s Islamic underground, a plot that is about to explode on the other side of the English Channel, in the middle of London.”

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
“Due to the excessive, and expensive, demands of his 13-year-old daughter, Milly, vacuum cleaner salesman Wormold acquires a higher-paying position as Secret Agent 5920015 for the Secret Intelligence Service. Set in Cuba during the regime of Fulgencio Batista, this critically acclaimed novel, first published in 1958, eerily predicts the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.”

From Russia with Love: A James Bond Novel by Ian Fleming
“British secret agent James Bond is lured into a trap using the beautiful Russian spy Tatiana Romanova as bait. She’s asked for passage to Paris with Bond as her chaperone in exchange for a top secret decoding machine. To survive the train ride from Istanbul, 007 will need to keep his wits about him and his Beretta close at hand, dealing with SMERSH’s deadliest assassin and their operations chief, Rosa Klebb.”

The Prometheus Deception by Robert Ludlum
“Nicholas Bryson spent years as a deep cover operative for the American secret intelligence group, the Directorate. After critical undercover mission went horribly wrong, Bryson was retired to a new identity. Years later, his closely held cover is cracked and Bryson learns that the Directorate was not what it claimed – that he was a pawn in a complex scheme against his own country’s interests. Now, it has become increasingly clear that the shadowy Directorate is headed for some dangerous endgame – but no one knows precisely who they are and what they are planning. With Bryson their only possible asset, the director of the CIA recruits Bryson to find, reinfiltrate, and stop the Directorate.

A Perfect Spy by John Le Carre
“When British intelligence agent Magnus Pym disappears, two desperate searches are initiated–the hunt of agents, East and West, for the missing spy and Pym’s own quest to uncover the mysteries of his own past.”

Berlin Game by Len Deighton
“East is East and West is West – and they meet in Berlin…He was the best source the Department ever had, but now he desperately wanted to come over the Wall. ‘Brahms Four’ was certain a high-ranking mole was set to betray him. There was only one Englishman he trusted any more: someone from the old days.So they decided to put Bernard Samson back into the field after five sedentary years of flying a desk.The field is Berlin.The game is as baffling, treacherous and lethal as ever…”

The Day of the Jackal by Frederick Forsyth
“Circa summer 1962, British and French police combine to find a professional killer who has been hired by the French OAS to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle, because the extremist group felt the general had betrayed them by granting independence to Algeria. Nameless and faceless, the killer, known by the code name Jackal, methodically prepares for his mission, while the authorities seek to uncover the plot that could stun the world.”


Check out the All Spies All the Time display in the New Book Room.

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