Books Like James Bond
These days, everyone knows James Bond, the fictional British Secret Service agent who works for MI6, from the blockbuster movies. However, most of these films are based on the novels written by the creator of 007, Ian Fleming. Even after Fleming passed away in 1964, there have been other authorized Bond novels or novelizations written by other authors. Judging by the level of success that the Bond franchise have obtained, Fleming certainly lived up to his ambition of writing the "spy story to end all spy stories." If you are a fan of Agent 007 and want to read some more cloak and dagger fiction before the next movie hits, then check out the following books like James Bond.
by Samantha Kate & Weinberg Westbrook
Bond fans will be very familiar with Miss Moneypenny, the personal secretary of Bond's superior, M. The Moneypenny Diaries is an official spin-off of the James Bond novels and reveals a different side to this character. In Guardian Angel, Miss Moneypenny discovers that James Bond's life is in danger after his secret mission in Cuba is jeopardized. This prompts her to take matters into her own hands to try and save him. Not only does Guardian Angel reveal more about what happened in between the tenth and eleventh Bond novels, but it also fleshes out the backstory for Miss Monepenny, which makes it essential reading for 007 fans.
by Len Deighton
Len Deighton, along with Ian Fleming and John le Carre, is often cited as one of the best spy novelists of his time. The Ipcress File, his first novel, was published in 1962 and quickly became a bestseller. The novel features an unnamed British agent who is assigned a mission to investigate the kidnapping of top scientists. Just like the Ian Fleming novels, The Iprcress File received a film adaptation, with Michael Caine in the lead role. This film even had some ties with the Bond movies as it was produced by the co-producer of the 007 films.
by John le Carre
John le Carre is the other writer who, along with Fleming and Deighton, forever left his mark on the spy fiction genre. One of the things that set le Carre apart is that he had inside knowledge after working in British intelligence for many years. The story is set during the Cold War and follows a British agent, named Alec Leamas, as he is sent on a mission to East Germany. Leamas is given the harrowing instructions to pose as a defector in order to muddle intelligence information amongst enemy spies. The book received a film adaptation in 1965, which was also well received.
by Robert Ludlum
Robert Ludlum was known for his thriller novels, especially the Bourne series, but he also wrote the 1983 spy novel, The Matarese Circle. In this story, two opposing agents have to set their differences aside after going on the run from their agencies. Although they have tried to kill each other numerous times in the past, they now face a greater common threat. In true Bond villain style, The Matarese Circle consists of members who are dedicated to causing world chaos in order to take control. The only question is whether the two rogue agents will be able to try and stop killing each other long enough to work together and thwart The Matarese Circle. While a film adaptation that was set to star Denzel Washington and Tom Cruise were in the works, it unfortunately fell through after Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.
A Gathering of Spies
by John Altman
Just like in a good Bond novel, the stakes are high in A Gathering of Spies by John Altman. Things kick off with a beautiful German spy, who has been posing as the wife of a Princeton scientist, makes her way back home with information about the atomic bomb. If she succeeds in her mission and makes it back, the war will be lost. To prevent this from happening, the Allies enlist the help of an MI5 agent, named Professor Harry Winterbotham. This results in a deadly game of cat and mouse where the two spies match wits against a tense World War II backdrop.
by Donald Hamilton
Death of a Citizen is the first book in the Matt Helm series, which is ideal for Bond fans in search of something a little grittier and more realistic. The book was published at the height of the Cold War and a total of 27 books was released between then and 1993. Unlike typical spies, Matt Helm is a counter-agent for the U.S. government, which means he is primarily tasked with taking down enemy agents. Death of a Citizen sees Helm being forced to return to the life of an assassin after he had retired to raise a family. The reason for his return is a former colleague who kidnaps Helm's daughter after going rogue.
by Daniel Silva
The Kill Artist features revenge, espionage and plenty of politics, which should make it interesting for all Bond fans. The protagonist of the story is Gabriel Allon, a former Israeli intelligence operative, who has retired from his dangerous profession to work as an art restorer instead. Unfortunately, a cunning terrorist who has caused Gabriel plenty of harm in the past has once again appeared, and he appears to be on a killing spree. It is up to Gabriel, along with another agent who uses the cover of a being a French model, to take down the terrorist.