Spies and spying is another popular trope that’s used across genres, and it’s one that I’ve learned to have a healthy appreciation for. It’s also a trope that I’ve actually read across the many subgenres of romance. Yes, it’s shocking to know that I read something besides historical romance. *sigh*
To date, the following are the top ten books that I’ve read that feature a spy or the act of spying. As usual, it’s a mixed bag of stuff from across genres, of course historical fiction (well, historical romance) is well represented.
Willig’s League of the Pink Carnation has to be one of my favourite spy series! They’re funny and not overly historically accurate, but they are so much fun. This one is my favourite of the series so far. Letty decides to stop her sister from eloping, only to find herself married to a spy.
Master of Crows by Grace Draven
This fantasy romance has slave, Martise, infiltrate the household of Silhara of Neith, Master of Crows in order to win her freedom. The more Martise learns, the less willing she is to betray her new master. So, so good.
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard
While there heroine of this one is not actually a spy, her hero is convinced that she might be. Captain Ari Rose was kept prisoner by aliens and because of that, she’s suspected to have been brainwashed and turned traitor. Cullin, sent to investigate is not prepared to fall for his suspect.
Phoenix Rising by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
This one revolves around one of the most awesome spy organizations to be thought up in fiction: The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. When Eliza, spy extraordinaire, is banished to the archives, she wrangles her new partner, Wellington Books into a spy mission that he’s not ready for. This is the first in a series, and I highly recommend it for mystery and steampunk fans.
Touch of Steel by Kate Cross
Another great spy team. American Claire Brooks has been taken into custody by her enemy spy agency, the Wardens. In order to gain her revenge on those that killed her brother, Claire convinces her keeper, Alistair Payne, that she’ll help them take down her former employer, the Company. Alas, Claire’s plan becomes complicated when she falls for Alistair.
Sins of a Ruthless Rogue by Anna Randol
This is the second in a trilogy, but it happens to be my favourite. Clayton Campbell became a Crown spy when he was offered the choice between death or spying. Naturally, he chose life, but he’s never forgotten why he had to make that choice. Olivia Swift betrayed her childhood sweetheart, which led to Clayton’s arrest. When he comes back for revenge, Clayton’s enemies presume that Olivia is also a spy. Clayton’s revenge just got a whole lot more complicated when he has to rush to the rescue.
A Lady’s Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn
This was a surprise read for me, but I loved it. Ethan is a boudoir spy; he charms secrets for the Crown by seducing women. He’s ready to retire after one more mission, a mission that thrown into disarray by Miss Sidney Hunt. This was such an emotional romance and I liked the fact that it actually showed the effects of spying with Ethan; he was not proud of his efforts for his country. See my full review here.
Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen
I just finished reading this one not too long ago and it was such a fun play on the spy genre. Think James Bond in a historical romance, now think of James Bond as a woman: Jane Bonde, to be exact. More of my gushing here.
What Angels Fear by C.S. Harris
This one is a bit of a stretch, but I’m throwing it on here because Sebastian St. Cyr was a spy during the Napoleonic Wars. He’s no longer spying for England, but he is using his known-how to solve crimes.
The Orphanmaster by Jean Zimmerman
The one serious book on my list! Set in seventeenth-century Manhattan, we have a historical mystery solved by a world-weary spy. This is one for mystery fans. While there is a bit of romance, it is a mystery first and foremost, and a good one too.
That’s it from me! What’s your favourite spy tale?