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Top 5 Books with Spies and Espionage

The Top Five Series

This Top 5 series is a weekly meme created by Amanda @ Devouring Books.

Each week we’ll 5 book featuring the common theme provided. These can be books that we’ve read, or ones that are still on our TBRs. I’ll note beside each one if I’ve read the book yet or not, and provide a link to my review if I have one. 

Feel free to share your own favourites or give me more TBR suggestions in the comments. 

This topic really threw me at first, since I don’t read thrillers or what I first thought of as ‘spy novels’ — James Bond, Jack Reacher, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo… Those have spies, right. But, when I gave it a bit more thought I realised I do have a few that would fit, probably quite a lot actually, if I took a historical or fantasy approach to the topic.

Do you have a favourite book about spies or spying?


Top 5 Books with Spies and Espionage


A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee [TBR]

A Spy in the House (The Agency, #1)

Rescued from the gallows in 1850s London, young orphan (and thief) Mary Quinn is surprised to be offered a singular education, instruction in fine manners — and an unusual vocation.

Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls is a cover for an all-female investigative unit called The Agency, and at seventeen, Mary is about to put her training to the test. Assuming the guise of a lady’s companion, she must infiltrate a rich merchant’s home in hopes of tracing his missing cargo ships. But the household is full of dangerous deceptions, and there is no one to trust — or is there?

Packed with action and suspense, banter and romance, and evoking the gritty backstreets of Victorian London, this breezy mystery debuts a daring young detective who lives by her wits while uncovering secrets — including those of her own past.


A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, #1)

Welcome to Stranje House.

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don’t fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle them in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts…


Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.


Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White [TBR]

Illusions of Fate

I did my best to keep you from crossing paths with this world. And I shall do my best to protect you now that you have.

Jessamin has been an outcast since she moved from her island home of Melei to the dreary country of Albion. Everything changes when she meets Finn, a gorgeous, enigmatic young lord who introduces her to the secret world of Albion’s nobility, a world that has everything Jessamin doesn’t—power, money, status…and magic. But Finn has secrets of his own, dangerous secrets that the vicious Lord Downpike will do anything to possess. Unless Jessamin, armed only with her wits and her determination, can stop him.


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein [TBR]

Code Name Verity

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

12 thoughts on “Top 5 Books with Spies and Espionage”

  1. Ohh! I really enjoyed Etiquette and Espionage! I am excited to see some titles on your list that I hadn’t heard of! I almost had A Spy in the House on my list and I think I did add it in the honorable mention section. There are so many great books about spies out there, but I love Ally Carter’s books the best on the subject. They’re fun and fast. There are a lot of great historical fiction novels about spies, especially in WWII

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right, there are actually so many more than I originally thought! And so many different angles as well! I actually struggled to cut it down once I got going lol
      Great topic choice! ❤️


      1. I had SUCH a hard time because this is a favorite topic of mine to read about. I want to read all the spy novels. I love YA spy books best though. There are so many out there that I’m dying to read. I try not to deviate too far from my TBR but after looking at all the spy books for Saturday’s post I want to fit one in after my next read!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I mean… I dont really consider that a problem 😂😂😂😂 honestly it’s probably my favorite part. But they do tend to wind up changing my TBR! But I’m trying to think about my TBR differently lately anyways. I am trying to read books when I’m excited for them, not just bc they’re ARCs and the publication date is coming up or staying away bc the publication date is too far. I’m just trying to read what I’m excited to read and I find that I’m enjoying my reading more. And if I’m excited for spy novels then I should read a spy novel dammit! Idk why I restrict my own reading. It makes no sense!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I had Code Name Verity on my list this week as well. I can’t wait to read it 🙂 I haven’t heard of the other books but the two before Verity look really good and I think they just might be going on my TBR now lol great list!

    Liked by 1 person

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