When not reading Fleming - I would recommend ?

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  • Posts: 4,622
    When not reading Fleming I would happily recommend anything by Robert Ludlum. His Bourne books are superb, much different from the films, except for the first film.
    I would also recommend Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir's The Destroyer series, featuring the Masters of Sinanju, American top-secret assassin, Remo Williams (The Destroyer of Sinanju legend) and his very deadly mentor Chiun.
    Great campy hard-edged adventure with biting satire and humour, and with a dash of Sinanju mysticism.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    timmer wrote:
    When not reading Fleming I would happily recommend anything by Robert Ludlum. His Bourne books are superb, much different from the films, except for the first film.
    I would also recommend Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir's The Destroyer series, featuring the Masters of Sinanju, American top-secret assassin, Remo Williams (The Destroyer of Sinanju legend) and his very deadly mentor Chiun.
    Great campy hard-edged adventure with biting satire and humour, and with a dash of Sinanju mysticism.

    You actually like Supremacy and Ultimatum? I found them the very definition of disappointing.
  • Posts: 40
    Ted Bell
    Vince Flynn
    Brad Thor
    Timothy Zahn
  • edited December 2012 Posts: 1
    Returning to the earlier part of this thread where there was a discussion on Desmond Cory's influence on Ian Fleming, there is no real comparison. Yes , the press often compared the two but that's because every secret agent novel was compred to James Bond. The main connection is that Cory invented, or at least made popular, the notion of the licenced to kill secret agent. Perhaps Fleming also borrowed the idea of exotic locations but otherwise the two fictional secret agents were very different. Cory's novels tended to be more intricate and the violence in the novels far more suggestive - but the real diference is in the portrayal of women. Sure, both Fleming and Cory had women who were sexy and sensuous, but with Cory they were also intelligent and intriguing, often getting the better of the male protagonist in the story. Cory's books continue to be published - Undertow was published last year as a paperback - but for a fuller selection of his books you need to download them from the Amazon Kindle Store. They are certainly worth a read whether you are a James Bond fan or not.
  • Villiers53 wrote:
    I'm currently reading "Mission To Paris" by Alan Furst and I would thoroughly recommend it.
    The guy (Furst) writes great thrillers set either in or just before WWII. In truth he's probably closer to Eric Ambler or Graham Greene than Fleming but I'm sure that Bond fans will dig him.
    By the way, who's this Rebekah Brooks chic that Bentley mentions?

    I am currently watching the TV adaptation of Furst's "The Spies Of Warsaw" and would thoroughly recommend you Flemingistas casting an eye over it.
    The atmosphere is great and gives you a good idea as to what Furst's books are like.

  • "The Spies Of Warsaw" - the second 90" episode aired this week and I must say, it was superb.
    It would be great to see Fleming's novels filmed in this way as period pieces.
    Given that eon's ownership of the screen copyright make this a dream, perhaps it might be possible to see the fabulous "Young Bond" franchise brought to the small screen in this highly qualitative way. In any event, the Furst adaptation was superb and hopefully it will encourage many more people to read his books.
  • I've just finished "The Loyal Spy" by Simon Conway and would thoroughly recommend it to all afficianados of the spy novel.
    It is well plotted, violent, sprawling and steeped in authenticity regarding the war on terror.
    The hero is definitely a new type of protagonist who defies categorisation and although Conway is much compared to Le Carre, personally I think he is a true original and if he must be compared, I'd describe him as a cross between Fleming & Deighton but on steroids!
    Ironically it won the "Ian Fleming Silver Dagger Award" in 2010 and I missed it (I normally read every dagger winner) but I've had the pleasure now and you should too - it rocks!
    Anybody out there read anything new, different and better?
  • Posts: 14,865
    I absolutely love the Queen & Country series (graphic novels and novels) by Greg Rucka. Inspired by the British TV series The Sandbaggers.
  • Ludovico wrote:
    I absolutely love the Queen & Country series (graphic novels and novels) by Greg Rucka. Inspired by the British TV series The Sandbaggers.

    I've just started Barry Eisler's 'Rain Fall' the book that Bentley recommended at the start of this thread and I have to say it is bloody fantastic. If Fleming were alive today this is exactly what he'd be writing. If any of you readers out there haven't tried Rain yet, do yourselves a favour and get going. They are the best thing I've read since Silva's first books. Great stuff.
    When I've done with RF I'm definitely going to give Q&C a spin. I have some reservations about an American writing an English series but I'll probably finish up eating my hat - sometimes, Silva sounds more British than the Royal family.

  • Posts: 14,865
    Villiers53 wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:
    I absolutely love the Queen & Country series (graphic novels and novels) by Greg Rucka. Inspired by the British TV series The Sandbaggers.

    I've just started Barry Eisler's 'Rain Fall' the book that Bentley recommended at the start of this thread and I have to say it is bloody fantastic. If Fleming were alive today this is exactly what he'd be writing. If any of you readers out there haven't tried Rain yet, do yourselves a favour and get going. They are the best thing I've read since Silva's first books. Great stuff.
    When I've done with RF I'm definitely going to give Q&C a spin. I have some reservations about an American writing an English series but I'll probably finish up eating my hat - sometimes, Silva sounds more British than the Royal family.

    Sometimes you can read the odd Americanism in Rucka's stories, that said it is inspired by a brilliant British TV series and the stories are so intelligent that you can disregard these minor flaws. Both The Sandbaggers and Q&C are the anti-James Bond: very realistic settings and plots, unglamorous working environment, in general there is little action as most of the plot is carried on in offices, between people talking over coffee. The petty civil servants and the competitors in MI5 are often more dangerous for the MI6 operatives (the Minders in Q&C and the Sandbaggers in The Sandbaggers) than the terrorists or spies they are fighting. It is great drama and thoroughly entertaining.
  • Ludovico wrote:
    Villiers53 wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:
    I absolutely love the Queen & Country series (graphic novels and novels) by Greg Rucka. Inspired by the British TV series The Sandbaggers.

    I've just started Barry Eisler's 'Rain Fall' the book that Bentley recommended at the start of this thread and I have to say it is bloody fantastic. If Fleming were alive today this is exactly what he'd be writing. If any of you readers out there haven't tried Rain yet, do yourselves a favour and get going. They are the best thing I've read since Silva's first books. Great stuff.
    When I've done with RF I'm definitely going to give Q&C a spin. I have some reservations about an American writing an English series but I'll probably finish up eating my hat - sometimes, Silva sounds more British than the Royal family.

    Sometimes you can read the odd Americanism in Rucka's stories, that said it is inspired by a brilliant British TV series and the stories are so intelligent that you can disregard these minor flaws. Both The Sandbaggers and Q&C are the anti-James Bond: very realistic settings and plots, unglamorous working environment, in general there is little action as most of the plot is carried on in offices, between people talking over coffee. The petty civil servants and the competitors in MI5 are often more dangerous for the MI6 operatives (the Minders in Q&C and the Sandbaggers in The Sandbaggers) than the terrorists or spies they are fighting. It is great drama and thoroughly entertaining.

    Thanks Ludovico, you've wetted my appertite further. I like realistic and back in the day, I was a huge "Sandbaggers" fan so I understand the analogy.
    In fact, I've always been orientated towards strong character based thrillers rather than the shoot them "Vince Flynn" sub genre. Some of my all time favourites include Le Carre,Adam Hall, Charles Cumming, Len Deighton etc..
    That said, I don't like confusing just for the hell of it. I recently read "The Tourist" by Olen Steinhauer and it just gave me a headache.
    A question for you is are the Q&C books best read in chronological order or is there one particular standout I should start with?

  • Posts: 14,865
    I would recommend the read in chronological order. I might sound silly, but they all stand out. It is a relatively short series, so it is difficult for me to pinpoint a few particular titles.
  • edited February 2013 Posts: 7,653
    John Connolly, his Charlie Parker series is a brilliantly written collection of tales that gives the other master from Maine, a certain Stephen King, a run for his money.

    A combination between Robert B Parker, Stephen King & Mickey Spillane.

    well worth reading in sequence.
  • This starts my definitive list of the best non-Bond spy novels. Here are the first five:

    1) "The Tears of Autumn" (1974) by Charles McCarry:
    McCarry is the Charles Dickens of espionage. His novels are amongst the best ever
    written - any genre - and this, chronologically the third in a series featuring the
    Christopher family, centres around an unauthorised investigation into JFK's
    assassination and is his best. If you don't cry when you read this book you have no.
    heart McCarry spent 10 years as a deep cover CIA operative and it shows but he is
    much more than a spy writer. Lyrical, intelligent and haunting are key descriptors.
    If you don't read anything else on this list, read this. You will never regret it. Why
    McCarry isn't better known is the conspiracy of our times!

    2) "The Honourable Schoolboy" (1977) by John Le Carre:
    Although this is the second book in the Karla trilogy, it also works as a stand alone
    and is the best novel that Le Carre has ever written and is one of the most important
    works of the last century. Although a Smiley novel, it's different to the rest
    because it sees George out from behind his desk and launching an offensive against
    the soviets in Hong Kong. The Honourable schoolboy is one Gerald Westerby, a
    journalist and part time secret agent who is despatched to Hong Kong to investigate
    money laundering that appears to have Smiley's nemesis, Karla's fingerprints all
    over it - sweeping and lyrical this is the book that made me fall in love with Asia.

    3) "Typhoon" (2008) by Charles Cumming:
    Cumming is by fare and away the best of the new kids on the block and this, his
    fourth novel, starts in Hong Kong in 1997 before the handover and
    features a conspiracy that stretches to 2005, just before the Beijing Olympics
    It features Joe Lennox an undercover MI6 operative and Miles Coolridge a bombastic
    CIA agent who share things with disastrous consequences.
    As well as being an excellent thriller, it also has at it's heart a great love story.

    4) "The Ipcress File" (1962) by Len Deighton:
    My mother bought this book, in hard back, on the day it came out and I tried to read
    it as I was very attracted by the fabulous Richard Chopping cover. Needless to say,
    at age nine, it defeated me. But I went back to it a few years latter and have read
    it on multiple occasions since.
    In many regards, it's the definitive '60s novel. It introduced an unnamed working
    class anti-hero spy who was the polar opposite to Bond. His bosses were cads and
    bounders who couldn't be trusted and who had blackmailed our hero into service.
    The genius was as much the atmosphere and the laugh out loud dialogue as it was
    the plot. It's probably not Deighton's best book ( "Winter" takes that prize) but it's
    certainly his best spy novel and that is high praise!

    5)"Sabre Tooth" (1966) by Peter O'Donnell:
    The second and best in O'Donnell's fabulous Modesty Blaise series revolves around
    a plot to invade oil-rich Kuwait and this is just one of many testimonies to O'Donnell's
    capacity as a clairvoyant!
    These books are at heart, action adventure stories that have the relationship between
    the most dangerous woman on earth (Blaise) and her side-kick, the most dangerous
    man on earth, Willie Garvin. They are deftly plotted and feature the most phenomenal
    unarmed combat scenes ever described. Read this and you will read them all.
    It is no accident that the late, great, Kingsley Amis described Blaise & Garvin as the
    most important duo in fiction since Holmes & Watson!

    Let me know yours!
  • I am amazed to join this thread so late in the game and be the first to offer up Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm. The first few books are being reprinted and in my eyes the Helm books are even better than Bond.

    Sadly most know of Matt Helm from the less than stellar Dean Martin films but in truth Helm is a hard edge agent very much the equal or better than Bond

    I also like Mickey Spillane's take on spies the Tiger Mann books

    some other good reads include
    Edward S. Aarons Sam Durell books
  • Go to site for finding out about spy novels

    http://www.spyguysandgals.com/myindex.asp
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Go to site for finding out about spy novels

    http://www.spyguysandgals.com/myindex.asp

    IT'S HOLY IN ESPIONAGE GOODNESS! :x
  • Posts: 14,865
    Technically it is crime fiction, not espionnage, but there are often political and espionage elements in the novels of Deon Meyer.
  • Ludovico wrote:
    Technically it is crime fiction, not espionnage, but there are often political and espionage elements in the novels of Deon Meyer.

    Deon Meyer is amazing!

  • Posts: 14,865
    Villiers53 wrote:
    Ludovico wrote:
    Technically it is crime fiction, not espionnage, but there are often political and espionage elements in the novels of Deon Meyer.

    Deon Meyer is amazing!

    Hey, I'm glad I am not the only one reading it.
  • edited February 2013 Posts: 163
    Agree that "Bourne dentity" was his best novel. All were best sellers. Just thinking about his way of writing-getting up at 4:00AM, writing on a ruled yellow pad using pencils-then typical American style, never ceases to amaze even me who studied in America; in my time in 1970s there, we did the same-using ruled yellow pad and writing on it using pencils.

    I read a variety of novels and genres -Grisham, Chandler, Forsyth, Deighton, even going back to Edgar Wallance times etc.. But none of them gives me the thrill like when I first read Dr No in 1958 as a first year university student. We, a bunch of students had to pool our pennies together to buy the hardback.

  • I read a variety of novels and genres -Grisham, Chandler, Forsyth, Deighton, even going back to Edgar Wallance times etc.. But none of them gives me the thrill like when I first read Dr No in 1958 as a first year university student. We, a bunch of students had to pool our pennies together to buy the hardback.

    What a great way to start your relationship with Fleming.
    I saw Dr.No, the movie, in 1963 age 11.
    I then persuaded my mother, herself a great reader, to go out and buy every Fleming in print and we read the whole lot in chronological order.
    Perversely, I discovered Dickens through Bond as it was the Fleming novels that gave me the life long reading habit.
    I've just finished a great book called "The Enemy" by Tom Wood. It's the second in a series featuring an assassin called "Victor" and for Fleming fans he is certainly worth a try.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    edited February 2013 Posts: 28,694
    Villiers53 wrote:

    I read a variety of novels and genres -Grisham, Chandler, Forsyth, Deighton, even going back to Edgar Wallance times etc.. But none of them gives me the thrill like when I first read Dr No in 1958 as a first year university student. We, a bunch of students had to pool our pennies together to buy the hardback.

    What a great way to start your relationship with Fleming.
    I saw Dr.No, the movie, in 1963 age 11.
    I then persuaded my mother, herself a great reader, to go out and buy every Fleming in print and we read the whole lot in chronological order.
    Perversely, I discovered Dickens through Bond as it was the Fleming novels that gave me the life long reading habit.
    I've just finished a great book called "The Enemy" by Tom Wood. It's the second in a series featuring an assassin called "Victor" and for Fleming fans he is certainly worth a try.

    I wish I had parents who were Bond fans. I got into the game quite late compared to most here. Though I knew of Bond and saw glimpses of the newer films as a kid, my passion didn't grow until much later when I discovered Sean's classic films and then later fell in just as much love with Dan when I saw Casino Royale, the only Bond that really matches Sean for me to this day.
  • edited February 2013 Posts: 802
    @ObradyMOBondfanatic7 - interesting that you are a relative late comer.
    I remember '63 like it was yesterday. I saw Dr.No three times in one week at my local flea pit. First with a friend, second time with my mum and finally on my own. It was a UK certificate 'A' and back then you had to be accompanied by an adult.
    Aged 11 we simply used to stand outside and ask a friendly face to see us in. That movie changed my life and made me dream.
    I persuaded my mum to go and she loved it. As a great reader, she spotted that it was a from a book so we went to the local town that weekend and she bought everything that was out in pan paperback (CS thru' TBl) and we read them in turn. As you would imagine, she was a lot quicker than me so she went first and although she realised that some of the material wasn't ideal for an eleven year old, she was very fare sighted and recognised that they were the route to getting me to read for pleasure. How right she was!
    Seeing the Bond movies together was something we did right up until her death in 1977. Sean was always her favourite.
    I often wonder what my dad would have made of Bond. Unfortunately he passed in 1960 so he never had the pleasure. He was a real petrol head and a bon viveur ( unbelievably, as well as tailor made suits he had a Rolex as well as a beautiful cigarette case and Ronson Lighter). I think he'd have loved Bond and mum used to comment that he'd have been right down dad's street.
    Ironically, it has taken DC to convert my wife to the cause but my eldest son is a huge fan whilst the youngest has also been drawn to the franchise by DC. Great stuff, can't wait for Boyd's book.
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 Quantum Floral Arrangements: "We Have Petals Everywhere"
    Posts: 28,694
    Villiers53 wrote:
    @ObradyMOBondfanatic7 - interesting that you are a relative late comer.
    I remember '63 like it was yesterday. I saw Dr.No three times in one week at my local flea pit. First with a friend, second time with my mum and finally on my own. It was a UK certificate 'A' and back then you had to be accompanied by an adult.
    Aged 11 we simply used to stand outside and ask a friendly face to see us in. That movie changed my life and made me dream.
    I persuaded my mum to go and she loved it. As a great reader, she spotted that it was a from a book so we went to the local town that weekend and she bought everything that was out in pan paperback (CS thru' TBl) and we read them in turn. As you would imagine, she was a lot quicker than me so she went first and although she realised that some of the material wasn't ideal for an eleven year old, she was very fare sighted and recognised that they were the route to getting me to read for pleasure. How right she was!
    Seeing the Bond movies together was something we did right up until her death in 1977. Sean was always her favourite.
    I often wonder what my dad would have made of Bond. Unfortunately he passed in 1960 so he never had the pleasure. He was a real petrol head and a bon viveur ( unbelievably, as well as tailor made suits he had a Rolex as well as a beautiful cigarette case and Ronson Lighter). I think he'd have loved Bond and mum used to comment that he'd have been right down dad's street.
    Ironically, it has taken DC to convert my wife to the cause but my eldest son is a huge fan whilst the youngest has also been drawn to the franchise by DC. Great stuff, can't wait for Boyd's book.

    That's magnificent. I could only dream to grow up in the 60s, though I can't complain. I had a wondrous childhood that I still yearn to relive, and my parents are about as great and supportive as guardians can get. Upon looking back at the end of the day, I have been very blessed. Your parents sounded fantastic too, and it is great that your mother was so instrumental in getting you into two great things: reading and Bond!

    Like I said, I am sure I saw the Brosnan films tons of times in my youngest days around seven or eight until my teens. I didn't really understand anything that was going on around me at the time, though. It wasn't until my early teens when my best friend was astounded that I had never seen the Connery Bond films and urged me to see them that I really got serious about giving the franchise a try. As luck would have it, one night not long after on Tuner Classic Movies a little film by the name of "Goldfinger" was on, and as I had a knowledge here and there of the names of some of the films I knew instantly that it was Bond and that I had to give it a go. I watched it through, and needless to say this boy was in love. Much time after that was spent going out to any stores I could find and rounding up the Connery Bond films, and I fell even more in love with the series as DN, FRWL and TB were heavily enjoyed by these young eyes. Soon after I saw Casino Royale and was completely taken through the roof with it, watching it several nights in a row as it was on TV in a marathon run. That following summer (more luck) there was a massive Bond marathon all season long on the USA network here in the states, and it was there that I got more and more into the films, and my passion grew. Up through my young teen years to now I have watched and re-watched, read some Fleming and have simply tried to absorb every bit of information I can on Bond to the point that I am a walking encyclopedia on 007. Now, that same friend that first got me to watch a Bond film in the first place comes to me with Bond questions or simply stares in awe as I go on a long and passionate speech on Bond in general. Funny how those things happen.

    Cheers! :)>-
  • edited March 2013 Posts: 802
    Great news for fans of John Gardner.
    I've just read on www.john-gardner.com that his "Secret Generations" trilogy has been published by Kindle.
    Gardner made a phenomenal contribution to the espionage genre and I always found it somewhat ironic that he was best know for his Bond books. Frankly, although his first five contributions to the 007 canon were very acceptable, his Bond work was fare from being his best. He wrote a number of series that were fare more commendable - Boysie Oakes, Herbie Kruger, Moriarty, Mountford - to name but five.
    That said, his seminal work was the three books (Secret Generations, Secret Houses, Secret Families) that comprise the "Generations" trilogy and which tell the tale of Mi5, Mi6, GCHQ through the story of the Railton family.
    The books were written in the '80s and I'm currently half way through re-reading my original hardback copy of "Secret Generations" and it is as fresh, enthralling and relevant as ever.
    I would heartily recommend these books. They were John's best work and serve as a testimony to what a huge literary character he was.
    Congratulations to his son, Simon, on getting them republished!
  • Posts: 14,865
    Because it is being reprinted, Tremor of Intent, by Anthony Burgess. Who wrote a script for TSWLM, by the way. I heartily recommend it.
  • Posts: 802
    Ludovico wrote:
    Because it is being reprinted, Tremor of Intent, by Anthony Burgess. Who wrote a script for TSWLM, by the way. I heartily recommend it.

    @Ludovico, to each their own. For my part, I read this back in the day and thought it was a real stinker!

  • 4EverBonded4EverBonded the Ballrooms of Mars
    Posts: 12,459
    Villiers53 wrote:
    Great news for fans of John Gardner.
    I've just read on www.john-gardner.com that his "Secret Generations" trilogy has been published by Kindle.
    Gardner made a phenomenal contribution to the espionage genre and I always found it somewhat ironic that he was best know for his Bond books. Frankly, although his first five contributions to the 007 canon were very acceptable, his Bond work was fare from being his best. He wrote a number of series that were fare more commendable - Boysie Oakes, Herbie Kruger, Moriarty, Mountford - to name but five.
    That said, his seminal work was the three books (Secret Generations, Secret Houses, Secret Families) that comprise the "Generations" trilogy and which tell the tale of Mi5, Mi6, GCHQ through the story of the Railton family.
    The books were written in the '80s and I'm currently half way through re-reading my original hardback copy of "Secret Generations" and it is as fresh, enthralling and relevant as ever.
    I would heartily recommend these books. They were John's best work and serve as a testimony to what a huge literary character he was.
    Congratulations to his son, Simon, on getting them republished!


    Well, I had no idea, so I will check this out. The story line of being a tale of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ does interest me; thanks!
  • Posts: 802
    Having finished the excellent "Secret Generation" I was nervous as to what to read next
    - you know the feeling, when you've read something great you know that the next one has a high risk of disappointing.
    Happily I struck gold and picked up a phenomenal novel by Olen Steinhauer called "The Tourist". It's about an ex black ops CIA agent called Milo Weaver and I have to say, it shoots straight into my top twenty all time favourites.
    It's a long time since I've read anything new that is at the level of Le Carre, Deighton or Fleming and believe you me, Steinhauer shoots straight into that league.
    "The Tourist" absolutely rocks and is the first in a trilogy (the other two; "The Nearest Exit" and "An American Spy" are already out) and evidently the film rights have been optioned by George Clooney who intends to cast himself as Milo - clever man!
    A guy next to me on a flight recommended this and boy, do I owe him a big drink!
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