Greg Rucka’s Reading Recommendations

By Simon McDonald, Editorial Manager |

Bravo, the second Jad Bell novel by best selling author Greg Rucka, is released today. We caught up with Greg about his new novel last week, which you can read here; but we also asked him about his favorite books, and those he would recommend to TheReadingRoom community.

So once you’re done with Bravo and you’re looking for your next read, why not consider Greg Rucka’s Reading Recommendations?

The Secret PilgrimThe Secret Pilgrim by John le Carré

Obviously le Carré is the go-to author for espionage, and there are so many of his novels that are simply wonderful; I like The Secret Pilgrim because it’s a terrific break from his form; it is, essentially, a series of short-stories connected via a consistent, first-person narrator. One of my favorites. Read more about The Secret Pilgrim.


Charlie MCharlie M by Brian Freemantle

A sentimental favorite, and very much a product of its era, where the enemy is far less the Soviets but rather Charlie’s own masters in British Intelligence. I read this after seeing the adaptation (Charlie Muffin) done for, I believe, ITV in the late 70s, and I loved the film, and I love the book. Read more about Charlie M.  

The Quiller MemorandumThe Quiller Memorandum by Adam Hall

One of the earliest “bridging” books I ever read, a spy novel that attempted to mix le Carre’s verisimilitude and Fleming’s absurdity and come up with something that was deeper than just the average fluff. There’s a long Quiller series, and the books are hit and miss with me, but I think the first is wonderful. Read more about The Quiller Memorandum.

The Quiet AmericanThe Quiet American by Graham Greene

Just a brilliant, beautiful tragedy of a novel, written by – in my humble opinion – one of the greatest authors of the 20th century. Read more about The Quiet American.  

Gorky ParkGorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

If you’re detecting an affection for 70’s era Soviets in this list, there’s a reason for it; that’s when I met espionage, and that view of the world influences me to this day. Gorky Park is arguably more police procedural than espionage novel, but this was the book that introduced Arkady Renko, and it was the first novel I read that even attempted to depict what life was like under the Soviet regime. Read more about Gorky Park.

Six Days of the CondorSix Days of the Condor by James Grady

Following along the lines of sympathetic Soviets, I’ve a similar affection for those novels where the good guys are not at all good. The Robert Redford adaptation is a favorite, as well. Read more about Six Days of the Condor.  

The Great GameThe Great Game by Peter Hopkirk

This probably doesn’t belong on this list, but as a history of espionage in Central Asia it is, as it stands, the definitive work. Remarkably engaging and incredibly educational. Read more about The Great Game.  

The Surgeon's MateThe Surgeon’s Mate by Patrick O’Brian

The seventh in the Aubrey-Maturin novels, and all of them are brilliant, but this one sings to me. As with the best espionage, it’s about the mission, and so much more. Read more about The Surgeon’s Mate.

The Constant GardenThe Constant Gardener by John le Carré

I told myself that I’d only put one le Carré on the list. Then I discovered I couldn’t. I eschewed the more traditional candidates – (The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, and Spy) for this one. Read more about The Constant Gardener.  

VengenaceVengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team by George Jonas

An account of the Israeli response to the murder of their athletes at the Berlin Olympic Games of 1972 by the PLO. Non-fiction, theoretically. Read more about Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team.   Thanks again to Greg Rucka for taking the time to compile this list.

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