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November 9, 2015

Introduction to Espionage Novels


Everyone has a favorite genre. Maybe you're a huge fan of love stories, or fairytale retellings where cyborg princesses or alternate viewpoints add a surprising twist to your favorite classics. You could be into dark and dismal dystopias, or, even though Halloween is over, like reading nail-biting horrors by flashlight.

While Teen Board member Pranshu A. doesn't  have a problem with any of these genres, the coveted "favorite" title would have to belong to the espionage/spy/thriller category. Below, she explains why, and suggests some authors you should check out if you're interested in giving this exciting genre a try!


Imagine secret documents exchanging the hands of spies in an abandoned building. Imagine the creation of high tech-gadgets built specifically for the destruction of an important government building. Imagine standing on top of a cold bridge watching people exchange prisoners during the height of war. Now imagine actually being a part of all of this spy stuff. 

It seems like every child goes through a phase of wanting to be a spy because of a movie like Spy Kids (myself included). I wanted to travel the world and do work of tremendous importance. I wanted to be acknowledged for doing things that could potentially save the world.

That is where my love for espionage novels and thriller novels blossomed from (at the moment, these are my favorite genres!). Reading these books are a way for me to live vicariously through the characters, and become part of the world that I always wanted to.  

For those of you who are interested in this genre as well, here are a few authors that you should check out:

John le Carré: Carré weaves lots of historical details and events into his books (including TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY and A MOST WANTED MAN), which I love. You're always left with so much information that you do not know what to do it. Best. Feeling. Ever.

Michael Crichton: Crichton focuses more on the thriller aspect (he did write JURASSIC PARK after all), but his books are amazing nonetheless. My favorite thing about his books is the way he wraps up seemingly trivial events into one cohesive resolution. Everything magically makes sense in the end of his books, and I love that. 

Dan Brown: Dan Brown is most well-known for his Robert Langdon series but he does have other stand-alone books that focus on espionage. Brown creates intricately woven stories that make you think for eons after you have read the book. 

Ian Fleming: Created James Bond. Enough said. 

So you might wonder, do I still want to be a spy? No. But my desire to do something that has a tremendous impact and is essentially behind-the-scenes work has manifested itself in other areas. There is nothing more exciting to me than hosting an event at our school or working in the tech booth for a performance. I’m relatively quiet and don’t enjoy the spotlight, and behind-the-scenes activities have allowed me to be involved in so many different things without having to be seen doing anything!

Whether you want to be a spy yourself or just want to be one for the span of a book, I hope that some of these authors have piqued your interest! Espionage novels are some of the most exciting books out there, and I know that my love for them won’t lessen any time in the near future.

Pranshu A. is a Teen Board member.