Sunday, January 22, 2012

Five books about secret agents featured in series

Jeffrey T. Richelson is the author of several books on intelligence, including Defusing Armageddon: Inside NEST, America's Secret Nuclear Bomb Squad and Spying on the Bomb. He is currently a Senior Fellow with the National Security Archive.

In 2008 he named a five best list of books on secret agents featured in series for the Wall Street Journal, including:
Berlin Game
by Len Deighton

Intelligence officer Bernard Samson is languishing behind a desk in London when word arrives that one of Britain's most important sources behind the Iron Curtain wants out. Samson is sent into the field to bring "Brahms Four" home -- a mission he undertakes despite troubling evidence of an enemy mole in his department. Though Len Deighton is better known for "The Ipcress File" (1962), "Berlin Game" -- the first book in what would become a series of three Samson trilogies -- is his most absorbing work. It captures two preoccupations of Cold War intelligence battles: recruiting agents in the adversary's intelligence services and unmasking enemy penetrations. Deighton skillfully weaves suspense, but he also writes with an appealingly jaundiced view of the spy game, particularly of its top officials. Samson's boss, we're told, "the most stuffed shirt in the whole Department," locks up his elegant coffee cup and sugar bowl in a secure filing cabinet each night.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue