British author John Le Carre passed away recently. He is widely recognized for moving the Spy Novel genre from the escapist thrills of Ian Fleming's James Bond into the gray, gritty realities of actual intelligence work.
Le Carre's characters often operated in uneasy situations of moral compromise where the lines of right and wrong were blurred in the name of expedience and national interest. The psychological pressures on LeCarre's spies took their toll over time, corrupting some into personal crisis, others into political betrayal of country.
These are the best of Le Carre's Cold War novels:
The Spy Who Came in From the Cold (1963)
Tinker, Tailor, Solder, Spy (1974) - The uncovering of a Soviet mole inside British intelligence.
Smiley's People (1979) - The defection of a top Soviet spymaster.
The Post-Cold War novels dealt with issues such as arms trading and the threat of Islamic terrorism:
The Night Manager (1993)
A Most Wanted Man (2009) - Vicious rivalry among American, British, and German spy agencies for possession of an Islamic defector. An overt example of the latent Anti-American streak that ran through Le Carre's fiction.