(1) THE THIRTY-NINE STEPS BY JOHN BUCHAN
Richard Hannay is bored of London life. Then a spy is murdered in his flat and he's flung into a world of whistle-wielding bobbies, naughty Scots and German spies.
(2) THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD BY JOHN LE CARRÉ
"Superbly constructed with an atmosphere of chilly hell," was J.B. Priestley's verdict on the tale of spy Alec Leamas's final mission.
(3) THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM BY ROBERT LUDLUM
There's a ruckus at a funfair. Super-baddy The Jackal is back. Now Jason Bourne must take up the heroic cudgel or else.
(4) RESTLESS BY WILLIAM BOYD
Forget Mr Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - Boyd's novel has a female spy in the leading role. And as a stomach-churning scene with a pencil shows, she may be quiet but she certainly isn't to be underestimated. A rollicking read.
(5) THE RIDDLE OF THE SANDS BY ERSKINE CHILDERS
Childers was a pioneer of the genre and his 1903 novel about a man who goes off shooting fowl in the Baltic and finds it's not just the birds under threat still ranks highly with the best.
(6) THE SECRET AGENT BY JOSEPH CONRAD
Conrad weaves the themes of spying, politics and moral tumult into a humdinger of a novel that couldn't be further from the post-Bond, high-sex spy story.
(7) FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE BY IAN FLEMING
The finest book in the Bond franchise. Russian counter-intelligence agency Smersh, with its comically foul boss Rosa Klebb, is out to kill James. No prizes for guessing who comes out on top.
(8) THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY BY G.K. CHESTERTON
Who's a secret policeman and who's an anarchist? No one's quite sure in Chesterton's much-praised metaphysical novel.
(9) EPITAPH FOR A SPY BY ERIC AMBLER
Hungarian language teacher Josef Vadassy checks into a Paris hotel for a little R&R but instead finds himself in the midst of a fascist spy ring.
(10) CARTE BLANCHE BY JEFFERY DEAVER
It's all espionage iPhone apps, Oakley sunglasses and villains with sidelines in the recycling business in Jeffery Deaver's modern makeover of 007.