19 Spy Thriller Book Series To Read, from Jack Ryan to the Gray Man

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After exploring book series in the military science fiction genre, we are turning our attention towards something a bit different where we still find a bit of military–but not always. Welcome to the heart-pounding realm of espionage thrillers.

Some may be considered realistic, some not. From high-stakes missions to shadowy conspiracies, these book series offer an adrenaline-fueled escape into the clandestine world of spies, assassins, and intelligence operatives.

From the iconic Jason Bourne and George Smiley to the pulse-pounding exploits of Mitch Rapp and Gabriel Allon, these books are sure to satisfy your craving for excitement, intrigue, and suspense with gripping tales of legendary spies, daring agents, and covert operations.

Here is our Selection of Espionnage Thriller Book Series

Jason Bourne Books in Order

The Jason Bourne series by Robert Ludlum – This is the story of a man suffering from amnesia who discovers he is actually a highly trained assassin named Jason Bourne. Throughout the series, Bourne struggles to piece together his identity while evading capture by both his former employers and various enemies. Filled with action-packed sequences, intricate plots, and international intrigue, these novels delve into Bourne’s quest for truth and redemption amidst a dangerous world of espionage and conspiracy.

The George Smiley series by John le Carré – Set during the Cold War era, the novels explore George Smiley’s efforts to uncover moles and double agents within the British intelligence services, particularly focusing on his investigations into the elusive Soviet spy known as “Karla.” Renowned for its realistic portrayal of espionage and complex character dynamics, this series offers a compelling blend of psychological drama, political intrigue, and moral ambiguity.

The Harry Palmer series by Len Deighton – Harry Palmer is a British intelligence agent and reluctant spy wearing glasses who comes from a working-class background and lives in a back street flat. He navigates through the shadowy world of espionage during the Cold War. Known for its cynical tone and dry wit, the series offers a more realistic and gritty portrayal of spy craft, highlighting the bureaucratic inefficiencies and moral ambiguity inherent in the world of intelligence operations.

The Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva – An ex-Israeli intelligence operative, Gabriel Allon now lives under the identity of an Italian art restorer, Mario Delvecchio, in Cornwall, while working for a London-based art dealer. However, he becomes embroiled in a series of high-stakes missions to combat terrorism, thwart international conspiracies, and protect national security interests. These novels combine elements of espionage, political intrigue, and art history.

The Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy – Spanning multiple decades and geopolitical conflicts, the series explores Jack Ryan’s career in intelligence and politics as he confronts various threats to national security, including terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and international espionage. Filled with detailed military and technological descriptions, intricate plots, and larger-than-life characters, these novels offer a sweeping saga of political intrigue, military action, and global diplomacy.

The Mitch Rapp series by Vince Flynn – Mitch Rapp is a highly skilled CIA operative known for his ruthless tactics in combating terrorism. Throughout the action-packed series, he takes on a variety of high-stakes missions to thwart terrorist threats, prevent attacks on the United States, and protect national security interests.

The Alex Hawke series by Ted Bell – Haunted by a tragic past, British aristocrat and MI6 agent Alex Hawke embarks on daring missions to combat international threats and protect global security. From battling terrorists and rogue states to uncovering espionage conspiracies, he navigates through a world of danger and intrigue with his wit, charm, and resourcefulness.

The Scot Harvath series by Brad Thor – Ex-Navy SEAL turned Secret Service agent, Scot Harvath navigates through a dangerous world of international intrigue with his combat skills, intelligence, and determination. From preventing nuclear proliferation to thwarting cyber attacks and uncovering political conspiracies, Harvath has to deal with a wide range of espionage and counter-terrorism threats around the globe.

The Sam Capra series by Jeff Abbott – Ex-CIA agent Sam Capra becomes embroiled in a world of espionage, betrayal, and international conspiracies while searching for his missing wife. The story begins when Sam, a brilliant CIA agent with a happy family loses everything that matters to him. After that, he must use his special set of skills to prove his innocence, save his family, and rebuild his life.

The Gray Man series by Mark Greaney – This series revolves around Court Gentry. A few years ago, he was the CIA’s best covert asset. Then, without warning, his masters at the Agency put him at the top of their kill list. Court fled his country and became an enigmatic killer for hire known as the Gray Man. From battling rival operatives to uncovering government conspiracies and protecting innocent lives, Gentry operates on the fringes of society, using his lethal skills and tactical expertise to survive against all odds.

The Jericho Quinn series by Marc Cameron – Like many others, Air Force veteran, champion boxer, and trained assassin Jericho Quinn has to navigate through a world of espionage, political intrigue, and high-stakes missions. He answers only to the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. President himself who ask him to use his combat skills and determination to protect the United States from various dangers. 

The John Wells series by Alex Berenson – CIA operative John Wells spent the formative years of his CIA career under deep cover with al-Qaeda. Now, he works at preventing terrorist attacks, uncovering international conspiracies, and navigating geopolitical tensions. He operates on the front lines of national security, using his intelligence, resourcefulness, and courage to protect the United States and its allies.

The Pike Logan series by Brad Taylor – One of the founding fathers of the Task Force, a secret group of elite agents controlled by the National Security Council, Pike Logan undertakes missions to combat terrorism and protect national security interests. But after losing his family, Logan was pushed out. After having his life saved by the young Jennifer Cahill, he forms a team with her and they start working for their own company and helping the Task Force by taking on complicated missions.

The Danny Black series by Chris Ryan – SAS soldier Danny Black operates on the front lines of counter-terrorism. Extremely sharp, highly intelligent, and steadfastly determined, working alone or with a team, he must use his combat skills, tactical expertise, and determination to protect innocent lives and uphold justice.

The Tourist series by Olen Steinhauer – Known as “the Tourist,” CIA operative Milo Weaver tried to leave his life of secrets and lies behind him, but he was dragged back in. Now, he must use his cunning and resourcefulness to survive against powerful adversaries and uncover hidden truths. 

The Quiller series by Elleston Trevor – An enigmatic British spy known only as Quiller, he is a solitary, highly capable operative who works, usually on his own, for a British government organization known as “The Bureau”, which officially doesn’t exist. He is sent to almost always unfriendly territories where he has to use his intelligence, ingenuity, and martial arts skills to outmaneuver his enemies and accomplish his objectives.

The Spycatcher series by Matthew Dunn – Working for MI6’s Spartan Section, the West’s last line of defense, agent Will Cochrane is a deadly super-spy dispatched to hunt down enemies of his country.

The Marcus Ryker series by Joel C. Rosenberg – For years, decorated U.S. Marine Marcus Ryker was a Secret Service agent on the presidential detail. Now, his training and skills make him a highly sought-after consultant. Trained to protect but ready to kill to save his country,  Ryker is sent into enemy territory to diffuse highly dangerous situations.

The Tommy Carmellini series by Stephen Coonts – A resourceful CIA agent, Tommy Carmellini is willing to break the rules and go head to head with criminal masterminds and international terrorists. Sent on a variety of missions on behalf of the CIA, he often finds himself entangled in complex conspiracies and dangerous situations.

With more than a thousand articles published on HowToRead.Me, it is clear that navigating through the different reading orders is becoming a bit arduous. To try to help, why not try to sort the series by genre (or sub-genres)? This will take some time, but if you want to ask for a particular list, leave a comment.

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