29th September 2021

Books to give Bond a run for his money

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Bond. Is. Back.

Nearly two years after its original release date, No Time to Die finally makes its way onto the big screen.

Fans can follow Fleming’s finest on his latest globetrotting adventure – with Daniel Craig stepping into the tux for the fifth and final time before he drives his jet pack off into the sunset.

And for those who like getting their Moneypenny’s worth, why not keep the thrills coming when you return home from the cinema with our list of books packed full of the type of action worthy of a double 0?

Whether you’re reading from your sofa or your secret volcano hide-out, we’ve got a recommendation for you. From heart-stopping YA capers to thrillers penned by an SAS veteran, here are the books that would keep even Bond entertained when he’s taking a weekend off from saving the world.

James Swallow – Rogue (Zaffre)

When the Times call a book ‘a Bond film in print’, you know you’re in for a treat. Meet Marc Dane, MI6 alumni and The Rubicon Group’s most lethal asset. In Rogue, he’ll uncover a conspiracy that stretches from the marinas of Monaco to the mountains of Mozambique. Penned by James Swallow, a modern master of the espionage thriller, expect explosive action and the type of elite villainy that makes Jaws look like a playground bully. And you won’t have to wait long to find out what happens to Dane next: the latest instalment, Outlaw, is published in hardback next month.

Rory Clements – A Prince and a Spy (Zaffre)

The latest novel from the bestselling ‘master of the wartime spy thriller’, A Prince and a Spy finds Rory Clements in top form as fan-favourite Cambridge spook Tom Wilde is tasked with unravelling a dangerous mystery that goes all the way to the heart of the Third Reich – and into the gates of Buckingham Palace itself. Intelligent and utterly gripping from the off, few writers are better at evoking the dark atmosphere of wartime Britain.

Ollie Ollerton – Scar Tissue (Blink)

As a former SAS solider, Ollie Ollerton knows a thing or two about covert missions behind enemy lines. Scar Tissue, his debut thriller, introduces audiences to the rugged ex-special forces vet (sound familiar?) Alex Abbott. Haunted by the ghosts of his past and scraping a living as a gun-for-hire, he is thrust back into peril and the sweltering heat of Baghdad when his military son goes missing. Bullets fly and old wounds are reopened with relish, but who exactly is the hunter, and who is the hunted? Read in time for the sequel All or Nothing – shooting onto the scene in November.

Asia Mackay – Killing It (Zaffre)

How’s this for a quote from the bestselling L.S Hilton? “James Bond should retire now … Killing It puts the sass in assassin as it’s never been done before.” Juggling motherhood with murder, Lex Hilton is a covert operative for Platform Eight, the shadowy assassination department of the Secret Service. But when she’s sent to take out a Russian oligarch, she suspects that she might end up being the victim… A devilishly good debut with more than a hint of Killing Eve.

Robert Peston – The Whistleblower (Zaffre)

After decades of skewering the great and the good of Westminster, Robert Peston certainly knows his way around the corridors of political power. Turning from journalistic fact to thrilling fiction, Peston’s debut novel follows political pundit Gil Peck in the run-up to election day and on the brink of the scoop of his career. The hunt for a killer leads all the way to the top – but if Gil doesn’t stop digging he might just become the next victim…  A rollicking read from one of the country’s most respected journalists.

Lynda La Plante – Unholy Murder (Zaffre)

An up-all-night, page-turner from the Queen of Crime Lynda La Plante, as her most iconic creation, Detective Jane Tennison, faces up to the most chilling case of her career to date. You won’t find invisible cars and exploding toothpaste in Unholy Murder; Tennison’s brand of detective work is grounded in the hard realities of police work unearthed by La Plante’s decades of research and legendary attention to detail – and all the more compelling for it.

William Goldsmith – Mark Anchovy: Pizza Detective (Piccadilly Press)

We all know 007 has a thing for puns, so we’re sure he’ll appreciate the cheesy jokes that pack the pages of William Goldsmith’s hilarious debut children’s novel. Meet Mark Anchovy: pizza delivery boy and private detective. Sent on his first mission to Rome, Anchovy must crack the case armed with a host of Q-beating gadgets and faced with adversaries capable of dolling out more pain than a spicy sausage and jalapeno special. The kids will devour this fun and fast-paced adventure.

Wilbur Smith – Cloudburst (Piccadilly Press)

When Jack Courtney travels to the Democratic Republic of Congo with his parents for a gorilla conference, he’s expecting a spot of adventure. But nothing can quite prepare him for the action ahead as his parents vanish into thin air in the rainforest – abducted by a band of mercenaries. It’s up to the fourteen-year-old – and his steadfast friends Amelia and Xander – to brave the jungle and bring them home safe and sound. They’ll need all their wits about them to survive… A swashbuckling thriller for readers 10 and up.

Chris Ryan – Special Forces Cadets (Hot Key Books)

Chris Ryan has been there, done that, and bought the night vision goggles. The former SAS commando and acclaimed author of a number of bestselling thrillers turned his hand to writing for a young adult audience with the Special Forces Cadets series. Now six books in, these high-octane adventures follow Max Silver and his fellow recruits in a top-secret government programme as they’re parachuted into danger to battle war lords and rogue agents – all while trying to trick the rest of the world into thinking they’re just your average Tik Tok-loving teenagers.

Sarah Marshall – Daniel Craig: The Biography (John Blake)

Get to know the man behind the codename. Sarah Marshall’s biography charts Daniel Craig’s rise from his fledgling years at the National Youth Theatre to becoming the most successful Bond of all time. It’s a journey that’s taken him from a primary school production of Oliver! to skydiving with the Queen – the ascent of an award-winning actor thrust from treading the boards and into the eye of an all-mighty media storm following his casting in the biggest role in British cinema.