The Thread: Three spies you must meet

Book covers for 'American Spy,' 'The Moscow Sleepers' and 'Charlotte Gray'
As we turn to books both new and familiar during this time of isolation, this week’s Thread post introduces you to three spies.
Courtesy Image

I love a good spy novel. Don’t you?

Spymaster John LeCarre believes we’re drawn to the intrigue because “Most of us live in a slightly conspiratorial relationship with our employer … and perhaps with our marriage.”

No matter what draws you to tales of undercover intrigue, this week’s Thread celebrates three audacious and adventurous spies you should be acquainted with. This is part of my ongoing series about fiction to read in a time of isolation. Last week, we explored three island-inspired reads.

The first of these spies is Lauren Wilkinson’s Marie Mitchell. My advice — really — is to drop everything and read this book. Mitchell is an FBI agent who is tasked by the CIA as a “honey trap” for the new leader of Burkina Faso. As Mitchell becomes increasingly wise to the CIA’s motives, she also becomes increasingly conflicted about her mission.

The novel, published in the winter of 2019, is called “American Spy.”

My second fictional spy is the star of “The Moscow Sleepers,” Liz Carlyle. She’s a British agent created by Stella Rimington, a former director general of Britain’s MI5.

Before you keep reading ...

MPR News is made by Members. Gifts from individuals fuel the programs that you and your neighbors rely on. Donate today to power news, analysis, and community conversations for all.

Liz is solitary, quietly feminist, and cynical as all good spies are. She’s wise to the ways of domestic politics and international espionage.

If you can’t get enough of Carlyle, I have good news! “The Moscow Sleepers” is the latest in a series featuring the savvy spy.

Finally, don’t miss Charlotte Gray, the spy that author Sebastian Faulks created from the real-life World War II resistance work of agents like Pearl Witherington and Odette Sansom.

Once you’ve read “Charlotte Gray,” the novel, check out Cate Blanchett as Charlotte in the 2001 film.

My three spy novels to read during a time of isolation:

Coming up next on The Thread, we’ll explore new novels that you must put on your summer reading list.