Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ian Fleming's Birthday: Spy Novels

It's Ian Fleming's birthday! If he were still alive, he'd be turning 105.

The creator of James Bond, and an intelligence officer himself, there are a few ways to celebrate. If you're over 21, just this one, you have an excuse to shake your martini instead of stirring, if you're under 21, check out these great spy novels instead.


SilverFin by Charlie Higson. Ok, obviously I had to include the Young James Bond series! James is a student at Eton, and very grateful to escape to his aunt's cottage in Scotland. Once there, though, he gets involved in the investigation for a missing boy and discovers that one of his classmates's father is well, a Bond villan. The first in a series, follow it with Blood Fever.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter. Cammie and her friends at Gallagher Academy-- a boarding school to train future spies. They speak many languages and are experts in covert ops. When Cammie develops a crush on a local boy, they'll need all these skills, and then some, to see if he feels the same. The first in a series that quickly gets a more involved and darker plot, follow it with Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy.

Tamar: A Novel of Espionage, Passion, and Betrayal by Mal Peet. After her grandfather commits suicide, Tamar is left with his box of parachute silks, with code written on them, plus some other objects from his time in WWII. The story bounces between her and her grandfather in WWII, when he was with the Dutch resistance, him, his best friend, and the girl they were both in love with. Trapped in Nazi-occupied Netherlands, they get information out, and receive information. But the tension and fear soon take its devasting toll. Seriously guys, one of my favorite books of all time.


The Squad: Perfect Cover by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Toby thinks the invitation to join the cheerleading squad is a joke. She's convinced it's a joke when she notices secret codes in the letters. But it's not joke, and this is no ordinary cheer team. No one expects the cheerleaders, so armed with accessories that hide high capacity USB drives and bullet-proof bras, they're actually a branch of the CIA. Toby's ok with that. She's not ok with the fact that they're still cheerleaders and she needs to learn how to do a herky. Be sure to check out the sequel Killer Spirit.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. After his uncle, his only living relative, is killed under suspicious circumstances, Alex Rider discovers that he was really a spy for M-16, and killed shortly before stopping something big. M-16 decides to press Alex into service to finish the job. The first in the wonderful Alex Rider series, the second is Point Blank.

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore. James can't catch a break. His mother is awful and his sister's father isn't any better. Then he gets suspended for fighting in school and his mom dies. Enter CHERUB. Founded over 50 years ago, CHERUB is a division of MI5--British Intelligence. No one ever suspects a kid, so that's who they send--kids. James will be a spy and receive a top-notch education, but only if he can survive the training period. The first of the CHERUB series, the second is The Dealer.


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. After crash landing in Nazi-control France, a British spy is arrested and interrogated by the Gestapo. She is weak, and tells them what she knows, hoping it will buy her time, her life, or at least a quick execution instead of being shipped to Ravensbrück. But in her story, she tells a heartbreaking story of her best friend Maddie, the pilot she left in the burning plane.

Spy High Mission One by AJ Butcher. In 2060, 6 students at Spy High are part of Bond Team, but they do not get along. They risk getting kicked out, with wiped memories. No one wants that, but no one's willing to put their differences and egos aside to start working as team, which is the only way they'll pass. Then, the head of their school has another idea that sends them straight into the face of danger, but might be the only way to get them to work together. Also, there are mutants. The first in a fun series, follow it with Chaos Rising.

I, Q: Independence Hall by Roland Smith. Q's rocker mother has married a rocker widow, forming a new band and new family. Q and his new step-sister Angela are along for the ride on the band's cross-country tour, but things get weird, fast. Turns out that Angela's mother was CIA and killed in action, but the bad guys are still after them, unless Q, Angela, and an odd assortment of roadies and spies can stop them. The first in a series, follow it with I, Q: The White House.

What are your favorite spy novels?

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