David Ignatius Books in Order (Body of Lies, The Quantum Spy, The Paladin…)

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks!

American journalist and novelist, David Ignatius is an associate editor and columnist for The Washington Post who also wrote more than 10 novels, including Body of Lies (adapted into a film by Ridley Scott). David Ignatius’ books are in the suspense/espionage thriller genre (except of The Sun King, a reworking of The Great Gatsby set in late-20th-century Washington), often inspired by his experience and his knowledge in intelligence operations and foreign affairs. This is why his work of fiction is praised for its realism.

How to read David Ignatius’s Books in Order?

  • Agents of Innocence (1987) – Into the treacherous world of shifting alliances and arcane subterfuge comes idealistic CIA man Tom Rogers. Posted in Beirut to penetrate the PLO and recruit a high-level operative, he soon learns the heavy price of innocence in a time and place that has no use for it.
  • Siro (1991) – Made restless by the tightening restrictions of CIA bureaucracy, agent Alan Taylor oversteps moral and legal bounds in a top-secret mission to destabilize the Soviet Union. His new recruit―the beautiful Anna Barnes, who struggles with complex feelings for Taylor―receives a deeper education than she signed up for in David Ignatius’s trademark world of shifting international and domestic pressures, hidden loyalties, and secret agendas.
  • The Bank of Fear (1995) – Hitmen stalk computer analyst Lina Alwen and financial investigator Sam Hoffman in pursuit of the knowledge the pair may have regarding a late Iraqi dictator’s billions. From London to Switzerland, and from Baghdad to the mysterious corners of the just-budding Internet, this spy thriller covers the map to uncover a world of corruption.
  • A Firing Offence (1997) – When rising-star reporter Eric Truell accepts information from a maverick CIA agent, he becomes enmeshed in an international trade war in which even his own newspaper may be an unsuspecting participant. When Eric’s sources tell him there is a spy inside the newsroom, he is tempted to cross a dangerous professional line and risk his career―possibly even his life―to find the truth.
  • The Sun King (2000) – Sandy Galvin is a billionaire with a rare talent for taking risks and making people happy. Galvin arrives in a Washington suffering under a cloud of righteous misery and proceeds to turn the place upside down. He buys the city’s most powerful newspaper, The Washington Sun and Tribune, and wields it like a sword, but in his path stands his old Harvard flame, Candace Ridgway, a beautiful and icy journalist known to her colleagues as the Mistress of Fact. Their fateful encounter, tangled in the mysteries of their past, is narrated by David Cantor, an acid-tongued reporter and Jerry Springer devotee who is drawn inexorably into the Sun King’s orbit and is transformed by this unpredictable man.
  • Body of Lies (2007) – CIA soldier Roger Ferris has come out of Iraq with a shattered leg and an intense mission― to penetrate the network of a master terrorist known only as “Suleiman.” Ferris’s plan is inspired by a masterpiece of British intelligence during World War II: He prepares a body of lies, literally the corpse of an imaginary CIA officer who appears to have accomplished the impossible by recruiting an agent within the enemy’s ranks.This scheme binds friend and foe in a web of extraordinary subtlety and complexity. When it begins to unravel, Ferris finds himself flying blind into a hurricane. His only hope is the urbane head of Jordan’s intelligence service. But can Ferris trust him?
  • The Increment (2009) – Harry Pappas, chief of the CIA’s Persia House, receives an encrypted message from a scientist in Tehran. But soon the source of secrets from the Iranian bomb program dries up: the scientist panics; he’s being followed, but he doesn’t know who’s on to him, and neither does Harry. To get his agent out, Harry turns to a secret British spy team known as “The Increment,” whose operatives carry the modern version of the double-O “license to kill.” But the real story is infinitely more complicated than Harry understands, and to get to the bottom of it he must betray his own country.
  • Bloodmoney (2011) – Someone in Pakistan is killing the members of a new CIA unit trying to buy peace with America’s enemies. It falls to Sophie Marx, a young officer with a big chip on her shoulder, to figure out who’s doing the killing and why. Unfortunately for Sophie, nothing is quite what it seems. This is a theater of violence and revenge, in which the last act is one that Sophie could not have imagined.
  • The Director (2014) – Graham Weber has been the director of the CIA for less than a week when a Swiss kid in a dirty T-shirt walks into the American consulate in Hamburg and says the agency has been hacked, and he has a list of agents’ names to prove it. This is the moment a CIA director most dreads. Like the new world of cyber espionage from which it’s drawn, The Director is a maze of double-dealing, about a world where everything is written in zeroes and ones―and nothing can be trusted.
  • The Quantum Spy (2017) – A hyper-fast quantum computer is the digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb; whoever possesses one will be able to shred any encryption and break any code in existence. The question is: who will build one first, the U.S. or China? In this gripping thriller, U.S. quantum research labs are compromised by a suspected Chinese informant, inciting a mole hunt of history-altering proportions. CIA officer Harris Chang leads the charge, pursuing his target from Singapore to Mexico and beyond. Do the leaks expose real secrets, or are they false trails meant to deceive the Chinese? The answer forces Chang to question everything he thought he knew about loyalty, morality, and the primacy of truth.
  • The Paladin (2020) – CIA operations officer Michael Dunne is tasked with infiltrating an Italian news organization that smells like a front for an enemy intelligence service. Headed by an American journalist, the self-styled bandits run a cyber operation, unlike anything the CIA has seen before. Soon after Dunne infiltrates the organization, his cover disintegrates. When news of the operation breaks and someone leaks that Dunne had an extramarital affair while on the job, the CIA leaves him to take the fall. Now a year later, fresh out of jail, Dunne sets out to hunt down and take vengeance on the people who destroyed his life.
  • Phantom Orbit (2024) – Ivan Volkov is a Russian student in Beijing who discovers an unsolved puzzle in the writings of the seventeenth-century astronomer Johannes Kepler. He takes the puzzle to a senior scientist in the Chinese space program and declares his intention to solve it. Volkov returns to Moscow and continues his secret work. The puzzle holds untold consequences for space warfare. The years pass, and they are not kind to Volkov. After the loss of his son, a prosecutor who’d been too tough on corruption, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Volkov makes the fraught decision to contact the CIA. He writes: Satellites are your enemies, especially your own. . . . Hidden codes can make time stop and turn north into south. . . . If you are smart, you will find me.

If you like David Ignatius, you may also want to see our guide to John Le Carré’s books or our guide to the Harry Palmer series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *