|Cambridge University where Kim Philby's spy ring met in the 1930's (Photo: Christian Richardt)|
McIntyre got the idea for this book from none other than John le Carré, the great spy novelist, who knew Philby personally during his career at MI6. Philby was the model for the character of the traitor in le Carré’s most famous work, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Not surprisingly the Philby story has inspired many other novelists, with varying degrees of success. Here are a couple of my favorites:
- The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming. On the strength of this novel, Cumming was dubbed the John Le Carré of his generation. He imagines there was a sixth spy in the Cambridge spy ring who has remained unexposed into his old age. Now he is ready to tell his story to a journalist but there are forces determined to silence him.
- Young Philby by Robert Littell. Littell’s work always receives stellar reviews but he is not as well known as he deserves to be. Here he imagines Philby’s youthful spying exploits and suggests that maybe he was actually a triple agent working against the Soviet Union.
Whether you prefer your spies served up as fact or fiction you can always find plenty to read on your library shelves. Ask a librarian for suggestions or check out these lists:
- The Top Ten Spy Novels
- Addictive Books Spy & Intelligence Thrillers
- Top Spy Thrillers of 2014
- Best Nonfiction Espionage Books
- Spy Museum Nonfiction Books List