Rank #1: All about Len Deighton with Deighton Dossier’s Rob Mallows
Rank #2: From Modesty Blaise to Mick Herron on Dead Drop 5
Today we launch a new series for Spybrary, it is called DEAD DROP 5.
Today’s guest is deep under cover, behind the wall embedded in Communist East Berlin, he has asked his SIS handler to leave him 5 of his favorite spy books in their dead drop location in the Friedrichshain park. David Craggs has been reading spy books for over 50 years, he is a frequent contributor to the excellent Literary007.com and today he is going to share with us which books he wants deposited in his DEAD DROP 5 and why! We deep dive into David's choices and get his take on the spy book landscape.
Rank #3: Len Deighton and Bernard Samson's Berlin. Spybrary Meetup (ep 60)
Listeners of Spybrary met up in Berlin to follow in the footsteps of Len Deighton's Bernard Samson. Be a fly on the wall as the Spybrarians visit Berlin landmarks. Listen to the spy book, tv, movie and music chat as the beers flow!
Rank #4: 51: Interview with Spy Novelist Charles Cumming
Welcome to Episode 51 of the Spybrary Spy podcast today we have a stellar interview lined up for you with British spy writer Mr. Charles Cumming
David Craggs, our man in the U.K. goes to West London to interview Charles Cumming about his latest book called The Man Between ( The Moroccan Girl in the USA.)
We know Charles has a large following among our Spybrary listeners, so we go on a journey through his other spy novels including the Kell trilogy, Typhoon, Trinity Six etc Not just a top notch spy novelist, the Ink Factory have drafted Charles Cumming on to the writing team for the much anticipated second season of The Night Manager. Wonderful to hear that the master himself John le Carre has given the sequel his blessing which must give Charles and the team a lot of confidence (and daresay we say it added pressure) to produce a thrilling sequel.
Rank #5: 56: Len Deighton's Berlin Game - Book Club
Spybrary listeners voted overwhelmingly for Berlin Game to be the first spy book to be discussed in our first ever book club Spybrary edition. Listen to an in-depth conversation on this spy classic with Spybrary host Shane Whaley, Deighton expert Rob Mallows and newcomer to Len Deighton's work but not the spy genre Peter Newman.
WARNING - Please do not listen to the Berlin Game Book Club edition of Spybrary if you have not read the book. Unlike other episodes of the Spybrary Spy Podcast this episode if full of Berlin Game spoilers. It is a book club edition so we cover lots of aspects of the book including many of the twists and turns.
Spybrary Host Shane Whaley claims that this is one of the top 3 spy books ever written, if not the best! 'Not just a multi-layered spy novel but also a love letter from Len Deighton to Berlin' he says.
Rob Mallows says Berlin Game is the book that got him hooked on Len Deighton.
Peter Newman delivers a fresh approach as this was his first time reading Berlin Game.
What did our panel think of the plot, the characters, the writing, the conclusion? Tune in to find out!
'Fleming made spy fiction globally popular, but it took Deighton in the Sixties with novels such as The IPCRESS File to make it hip. His finest work, though, came later, in the Eighties, with this trilogy (completed by Mexico Set and London Match) about the disillusioned SIS agent Bernard Samson. Less exuberant than his early books but more subtle, Berlin Game is a terrific feat of plotting that out-le-Carrés le Carré in its sardonic portrait of Secret Service office politics. Tarantino (who had Max Cherry read a copy in Jackie Brown) should hurry up and film it, like he said he would.'
Jake Kerridge - The Telegraph.
Notable Quotes from Berlin Game by Len Deighton
'How long have we been sitting here?’ I said. I picked up the field glasses and studied the bored young American soldier in his glass-sided box. ‘Nearly a quarter of a century,’ said Werner Volkmann. His arms were resting on the steering wheel and his head was slumped on them. ‘That GI wasn’t even born when we first sat here waiting for the dogs to bark.’
'Do you know some quiet restaurant where they have sausage and potatoes and good Berlin beer?’ ‘I know just the place, Bernie. Straight up Friedrichstrasse, under the railway bridge at the S-Bahn station and it’s on the left. On the bank of the Spree: Weinrestaurant Ganymed.’ ‘Very funny,’ I said. Between us and the Ganymed there was a wall, machine guns, barbed wire, and two battalions of gun-toting bureaucrats.'
Rank #6: Jack Barsky, ex KGB undercover agent talks about his life as a spy! (Part 1)
Rank #7: The Best Spy Movies of all time! (64)
On this episode of the Spybrary Spy Podcast Jeff Quest (Spywrite) reveals the top 10 spy movies as voted on by our Spybrary listeners.
Jeff takes you through the top 10 in descending order, Shane and Jeff also talk about what is on their Christmas wish list as well as what new books they intend to read over the holiday period.
Rank #8: 42: Tim Shipman of the Sunday Times on Spy Novels
Today’s guest finds himself embedded deep in Communist-controlled East Berlin, and has asked his handler to leave him 5 of his favorite spy books at their Dead Drop location in Friedrichshain Park. What will he choose to help him cope with life undercover?
Author, Spy Fan and Political Editor of the Sunday Times, Tim Shipman, joins Shane for an epic edition of Dead Drop 5. Tim has been a national newspaper journalist since 1997, and in that time has covered two wars, an historic presidential election, and was the Sunday Telegraph’s Washington, DC correspondent. Shortlisted three years in a row (2015-2017) for Political Journalist of the Year at the National Press Awards (UK), Tim Shipman has covered movers and shakers all over the globe.
Now Shane gets to turn the tables and interview this veteran journalist. Tim’s 2000-book library in his London home is dominated by spy books.
But a spy must travel light: how will he carve it down to just 5?
…this is DEAD DROP FIVE on the Spybrary Spy Podcast.
Rank #9: Mike Ripley author of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Mike Ripley the author of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has probably read more spy books than anyone else on the planet. His book, available now in the UK and due for US release on September 19th (pre-order on Amazon) talks to Shane Whaley of the Spybrary Podcast.
Rank #10: George Smiley and Call for the Dead
Rank #11: 72: Diamonds are Forever Bond Fan Event in Vegas
On this episode of Spybrary, Matthew Kresal talks to Matt Sherman about the upcoming Bond fans trip and tour to Las Vegas. Bond fans will gather under the stewardship of Matt Sherman to celebrate the 007 movie Diamonds are Forever.
Rank #13: 48: Spy Fans Guide to works of Frederick Forsyth
On this episode of the Spybrary Spy Podcast, Shane Whaley hosts a round table discussion on the life and books of spy writer Frederick Forsyth.
Author and spy, yes spy, Frederick Forsyth has been writing for over 50 years. The former Reuters man is best known for his debut novel 'Day of the Jackal' as well as The Odessa File, The Dogs of War and The Fourth Protocol. He has written almost 30 books with a new novel The Fox due out later this year.
Shane is joined by Tom from the Literary 007 website and writer David Holman. Think of this episode as a primer on Fredrick Forsyth as it is impossible to do justice to a master storyteller who has been writing for almost 50 years. On this round panel we discuss:
- How did David Holman and Tom get into Frederick Forsyth's work?
- What is so appealing about Forsyth's writing?
- What Frederick Forsyth and John le Carre have in common when it comes to research for their spy books
- Which Forsyth novel should those new to his work start with.
- How does Frederick Forsyth's later work stack up?
- The movie adaptations of Forsyth's novels and which of his books does David reckon is crying out to be adapted for the big screen.
And Much More!
Rank #14: 46: Jeremy Duns Re-investigates Oleg Penkovsky
Thrilling, evocative and hugely controversial, Codename: Hero blows apart the myths surrounding one of the Cold War's greatest spy operations and potentially it's greatest spy Oleg Penkovsky In the late 1950s the USSR appeared to be winning the arms race: their 1949 nuclear test signaled a direct challenge to the West, changing the face of the Cold War overnight. In 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, and fear escalated in the US and UK. Amidst this climate, KGB Colonel, Oleg Penkovsky desperate to defect, came knocking on the doors of the CIA and MI6. The information he provided as a double operative would change the course of history.
Pour the whiskey, get cozy, and buckle up for an eye-opening, mind-blowing look at Oleg Penkovsky, the KGB Colonel-turned-double-agent. Author Jeremy Duns, taking break from writing fiction, has penned a reinvestigation of the Penkovsky Operation, titled Dead Drop in the UK and Code Name: Hero in the US.
Those of us unfamiliar with this 'spy who saved the world' are in for a wild ride as Spybrary Host Shane Whaley and Jeremy Duns consider a world without Penkovsky's aid to the West: Would we have descended into nuclear war? What would the outcome of the Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile crisis have been without Penkovsky's crucial information? Those of us well-versed in Cold War history will thrill to hear Duns' original take on the Cold War's most dangerous operation. In fact, Penkovsky's information was so good, the CIA had to convince President Kennedy it came from multiple sources, lest the Commander-in-Chief worry that they were relying too heavily on one agent.
This episode is satisfyingly chock-full of juicy information, including:
- Penkovsky's deft use of spycraft: learn how he circumvented surveillance to pull of the most famous brush pass in espionage history.
- How the Penkovsky trial has influenced popular culture: from 1960’s TV spy series to the Avengers.
- The balancing act the CIA and MI6 had in dealing with Penkovsky's difficult personality.
- Other double agents of the time: the sad, lonely life of Greville Wynne; and Pyotr Popov, who turned double agent for the KGB to save his life after being caught, and who, like Penkovsky, was ultimately arrested, tried, and executed by the Soviets.
- How the CIA tried to prevent Jeremy Duns from publishing some details of his book.
Rank #15: 59: Spy Movie Hall of Fame Poll
Spybrary Spy Podcast and the SpyWrite Spy blog have teamed up to give you a a chance to vote for your favourite spy movies in our Spy Movie Hall of Fame poll.
On this, our 59th episode Spywrite’s Jeff Quest and Spybrary Host Shane Whaley talk through the movies nominated by Spybrarians in our Listeners facebook group. Jeff and Shane talk through the good, the bad and the not yet watched!
Rather than just voting for your current favourites, why not join us in watching some of those nominated movies that you have never watched before? Shane is catching up with OSS 117 – Mission to Tokyo, Jeff is finally going to watch Billion Dollar Brain!
Spy Movie Hall of Fame Voting Booth – vote here. Deadline is November Friday 16th. We will announce the top 10 on a future episode of Spybrary, a special round table edition where the panels will deep dive and share their thoughts on the winning spy movies.
Shane and Jeff also chat through what spy books and spy tv shows they have been reading and watching of late.
Rank #16: Button Zone and Chess Player Brush Pass Review (69)
On this episode of the Spybrary Spy Podcast, John Koenig sends in a brush pass review of 2 spy novels written in the early 80s. Chess Player and Button Zone.
Rank #17: 68: BRUSH PASS - The Righteous Spy
Shane delivers you his brush pass review on The Righteous Spy written by Merle Nygate.
Rank #18: The Sigint Tableau -Payne Harrison Brush Pass
Three works have recently come to the fore in the SIGINT tableau that achieve the elusive goal of harnessing the technical aspects for a slick storyline. Spy novelist Payne Harrison submits a brush pass review to the Spybrary Podcast and we get 3 for the price of 1!
Rank #19: 53: Our Man From Sadisto - Brush Pass Review
Hi everybody it's Jeff Gelb I'm trying my hand at the brush pass to introduce you guys and gals to the wonderful world of Clyde Allison and his amazing character 0008 or Trevor Anderson who is Our Man From Sadisto.
Believe it or not these books came out in the 1960s when I was a teenager and they were not sold at regular newsstands they were sold at adult bookstores! They were from a company San Diego based called Amber Library who also went through several other names. Clyde Allison was a house name as well. However it was really all the work of one brilliant writer named William Knowles who toiled in soft core porn obscurity. Throughout the 1960s and almost made it big time with some Lancer books in the late 60s but never quite broke through to a mainstream audience sadly even more sadly. He committed suicide in the late 1960s. It's quite a sad story. However his work in this series of books and there were 20 of them within four years. Think about that was brilliant and hilarious. The Our Man Sadisto series were spy fi sci fi sexy satires all incorporating science fiction elements and a heavy dollop of sexual innuendo.
Now when I say that obviously you have to remember the times in the mid 1960s were not the early 2000's. You really could not get away with saying very much at all. So all of it was done by innuendo and all of it was hilariously done. Allison was actually a very brilliant writer who unfortunately just was never discovered by the mainstream press and I don't know why. But he obviously knew where he spoke in terms of spy novels he was well versed in what was going on around him at the time and he used characters and situations from other people's spy novels as satirical jumping off points. As I said there were 20 books in this series starting with our man from Sadisto in 1965 and ending with the Desert Damsels in 1968, nineteen out of twenty of these books have absolutely brilliant cover art paintings by an artist named Robert Bonfils who just died fairly recently.
He painted dozens if not hundreds of paperback covers for these sleaze publishers in the 1960s and he was really quite brilliant himself. If you don't believe me please look up Our Man From Sadisto by Clyde Allison on the Internet and you will find all of his amazing covers. One of the things that was just great about these books for me as a teenager and still great re-reading them today is that they all included references to then current spy movies or book characters.
There were frequent mentions of Our Man from Uncle, the James Bond character himself. Modesty Blaise and even more obscure characters like The Man From Orgy which by the way was a series that was nowhere near as funny or clever as the Man from Sadisto books were. The most famous real world so to speak character that Clyde Allison used in several of his books was a reference to the Our Man Flint movie because for some reason the Our Man Flint movie had flint reading a spy novel featuring 0008. It was of course a complete coincidence.
I am quite certain that the writer of the Our Man Flynt movie had no idea there was a character called 0008. Because again these were never sold on the mainstream newsstands. However in the movie. Our Man Flint meets the triple 0 8 character and they have a scuffle in a French restaurant. If you want to go back and check the movie out you will see that scene. It's very very funny. The books were hilarious.
They were full of science fiction elements like machines that made people want to have sex nonstop stuff like that.
There were maniacal super-villains who wanted to take over the world. There were constant references to all of the other spy characters of the time and they were brilliantly written.
Now in 160 pages which is all that Clyde Allison had to work with for each book I would say a good hundred pages out of 160 were usually sexually oriented material. However again we're talking about sex as defined in the mid 60s. And so what he had to do was to continually reinvent the wheel in terms of how he described his characters having sex and that in itself is hilarious.
I loved these books as a teenager and have recollected them. As a person in my mid 60s and I still find them hilarious and well worth reading and collecting. They're very rare. They're very hard to find. If you can find any on the Internet. Grab one and have the experience of a lifetime. Be prepared to laugh out loud. And don't be drinking anything while you're reading the book because you might spit it out when you start laughing.
Clyde Allison was an amazing talent. These are all very funny books. They are of course very much of their time. But that was a really crazy time. These are really crazy books and they're really worth trying to find. I don't believe any of these are currently available. I believe they're tied up the rights for these are tied up somewhere so that they cannot be legally reprinted although I noticed that a couple of them have been reprinted anyway and you can pick them up on various Internet websites for under fifteen dollars. Again these may or may not be legitimate reprints but if you want to if I have whet your appetite whetted your appetite at all to listen to. Sorry to read the adventures or the misadventures of the greatest spy lover of all time Trevor Anderson of Sadisto better known as triple 0 8 then please do yourself a very big favor and pick one of those up.
And I am almost positive you'll agree with me that these are some of the funniest books you will ever read.
Rank #20: The Spy Who was Left in the Cold - Jack Barsky part 2
Jack Barsky, the ex KGB undercover spy continues to share with us his story of life as a Russian Spy in the USA with Spy Podcast Spybrary
Listen to Part 2 of our interview and learn:
- Which national figure did the KGB want Barksy to get close to and spy on?
- How did Jack Barsky cope with the loneliness of being a spy?
- Was Barsky afraid of getting caught?
- How did he communicate with Moscow Center?
- Why did the KGB put him on a Concorde?
- What instructions did the KGB give Barksy if he was ever caught by the FBI?
- Which Spy novelist does Barsky say is the most realistic of all spy writer?
- Which book on the East German Stasi does he recommend we all read?
- What signal did the KGB leave for Barsky on his daily commute to tell him his cover was blown and to drop everything and get out of the USA?
- Why did Barsky defy the KGB to stay in the US?
- What chilling threat was whispered into his ears by the KGB on the platform for the A train in NYC?
- How Jack Barsky knows the KGB bought his 'big lie' for why he could not return to the KGB and the Soviet Union?
- About the day he was apprehended by the FBI?
- What lengths the FBI went to over 3 years in order to catch him?
- How a row with his wife gave the FBI all they needed to apprehend him?
And Much More!!!