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Len Deighton books in order

Photo credit: Getty images / David Cairns / Stringer

Looking for Len Deighton’s books in order of publication? Look no further!

At the forefront of post-war spy writing and penning twenty-seven novels, Len Deighton changed the nature of spy fiction with his unique, cynical style.

New readers to Deighton might like to start with his infamous novels featuring his nameless working class spy hero, later christened Harry Palmer. Rough-round-the-edges with a criminal past, Palmer has enough about him to keep you intrigued even before his espionage antics…

Or perhaps you might want to indulge your inner secret agent with Deighton’s Bernard Sampson novels? A trilogy of trilogies set in 1980s England featuring secret agent Sampson and his wife Fiona, this exceptional series cemented Deighton as one of the top spy novelists of his time.

Here are all Len Deighton fiction books in order of publication.

Len Deighton books in order:

The IPCRESS File by Len Deighton

1. The IPCRESS File

A high-ranking scientist has been kidnapped. A secret British intelligence agency must find out why. But as the quarry is pursued from grimy Soho to the other side of the world, what seemed a straightforward mission turns into something far more sinister.

With its sardonic, cool, working-class hero, Len Deighton’s sensational debut The IPCRESS File rewrote the spy thriller and became the defining novel of 1960’s London.

Horse Under Water by Len Deighton

2. Horse Under Water

A sunken U-Boat has lain undisturbed on the Atlantic ocean floor since the Second World War – until now. Inside its rusting hull, among the corpses of top-rank Nazis, lie secrets people will kill to obtain.

The sequel to Len Deighton’s game-changing debut, Horse Under Water sees its nameless, laconic narrator sent from fogbound London to the Algarve, where he must dive through layers of deceit in a place rotten with betrayals.

Funeral in Berlin by Len Deighton

3. Funeral in Berlin

1963 Berlin is dark and dangerous. The anonymous hero of The IPCRESS File has been sent to help arrange the defection – in an elaborate mock coffin – of a leading Soviet scientist. But, as he soon discovers, this deception hides an even deadlier truth.

One of the first novels written after the construction of the Berlin Wall, Funeral in Berlin revels in the murky, chilling atmosphere of a divided city.

Billion-Dollar Brain by Len Deighton

4. Billion-Dollar Brain

Texan billionaire General Midwinter will stop at nothing to bring down the USSR – even if it puts the whole world at risk.

The fourth and final novel featuring the cynical, insolent narrator of The IPCRESS File sees him sent from his shabby Soho office to bone-freezing Helsinki in order to penetrate Midwinter’s vast anti-Communist network – and stop a deadly virus from wiping out the planet.

An Expensive Place to Die by Len Deighton

5. An Expensive Place to Die

Paris in the 1960’s caters for every taste, and nowhere more than at the private ‘clinic’ run by the enigmatic Monsieur Datt on Avenue Foch, which supplies psychedelic drugs and sexual favours to the city’s elite – all the while secretly filming guests in order to blackmail them. Into this decadent underworld steps a bespectacled British spy. Sent on what seems like a simple mission, he soon finds himself playing a game where the rules are unknown – and even victory could be fatal.

Only When I Larf by Len Deighton

6. Only When I Larf

Three con artists are on the make, and making millions. There’s Silas, the leader, slick and self-assured; Liz, his glamorous lover; and Bob, the young cockney upstart (who’s also falling for Liz). As this uneasy trio’s swindles take them from New York high-rises to sixties London, corrupt governments to, finally, the ultimate con in the Middle East, will their luck start to run out?

Bomber by Len Deighton

7. Bomber

31 June, 1943. An RAF crew prepare for their next bombing raid on Germany. It is a night that many will never forget. Len Deighton’s devastating novel is a gripping minute-by-minute account of what happens over the next twenty-four hours. Told through the eyes of ordinary people in the air and on the ground – from a young pilot to the inhabitants of a small town in the Ruhr – Bomber is an unforgettable portrayal of individuals caught up in the wreckage of war.

Close-Up by Len Deighton

8. Close-Up

Ageing Hollywood star Marshall Stone is scared. Scared that the parts are drying up. Scared of being forgotten. So when he hears an eminent author is writing his biography, Stone siezes the chance of immortality. But painful memories and suppressed scandals soon threaten to destroy the carefully-constructed fiction of his life.

Inspired by Len Deighton’s own experiences of the film industry, Close-Up is a brilliant exposé of the sleaze, venality and betrayals of the studio machine.

Spy Story by Len Deighton

9. Spy Story

After six weeks in a nuclear submarine gathering computer data on Soviet activity, the mysterious, bespectacled spy known as Patrick Armstrong is desperate to return home. But when he arrives at his London flat, it appears to be occupied by someone who looks just like him – and he finds himself propelled into the heart of a conspiracy stretching from the remote Scottish highlands to the Arctic ice.

Revisiting some of the characters from The IPCRESS File, Spy Story shows military games played out for real, and the Cold War turning dangerously hot.

Yesterday's Spy by Len Deighton

10. Yesterday’s Spy

Steve Champion – flamboyant businessman, former leader of an anti-Nazi network in the Second World War – is a man surrounded by mysteries. There are rumours he is still in the spying business. And suspicions that his fortune may be built on something nefarious; something he’d rather stayed secret. The Department are nervous, so Champion’s oldest wartime ally is sent to the South of France to investigate. It’s time to re-open the file on yesterday’s spy, whatever the consequences.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy by Len Deighton

11. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Spy

A Russian scientist is defecting to the West, in order to realize his dreams of contacting extra-terrestrial life among the stars. But when an insubordinate British agent and a top CIA operative are sent to the Sahara desert to bring him in, things don’t go to plan. The result is a violent chase stretching across three continents, where loyalties – between spies, partners, nations and lovers – become fatally divided.

SS-GB by Len Deighton

12. SS-GB

It is 1941 and Germany has won the war. Britain is occupied, Churchill executed and the King imprisoned in the Tower of London. At Scotland Yard, Detective Inspector Archer tries to do his job and keep his head down. But when a body is found in a Mayfair flat, what at first appears to be a routine murder investigation sends him into a world of espionage, deceit and betrayal.

XPD by Len Deighton

13. XPD

It is the most dangerous secret of the Second World War, one that could destroy Britain’s reputation forever. In 1940, a clandestine meeting took place between Churchill and Adolf Hitler. All records of it have been hidden, and anyone who discovers the truth dies – their file stamped XPD; Expedient Demise. But now what was buried is threatening to come to light, and SIS agent Boyd Stuart must stop it falling into the wrong hands, no matter how high the price.

Goodbye, Mickey Mouse by Len Deighton

14. Goodbye, Mickey Mouse

December 1943. A group of US fighter pilots is camped at a windswept air base in Norfolk. Their job is to escort bombers over Germany, and each mission could be their last. Among them are cocky Lieutenant Mickey Morse (nicknamed ‘Mickey Mouse’), who is almost on his way to becoming a Flying Ace, and reserved Captain Jamie Farebrother, who is starting to fall in love with an English woman. All they have in common is their courage – until the day their lives converge in ways they could never have imagined.

Berlin Game by Len Deighton

15. Berlin Game

Embattled agent Bernard Samson is used to being passed over for promotion as his younger, more ambitious colleagues – including his own wife Fiona – rise up the ranks of MI6. When a valued agent in East Berlin warns the British of a mole at the heart of the Service, Samson must return to the field and the city he loves to uncover the traitor’s identity

This is the first novel in Len Deighton’s acclaimed, Game, Set and Match trilogy.

Mexico Set by Len Deighton

16. Mexico Set

World-weary agent Bernard Samson is losing control of his personal and professional life. Sent to Mexico to aid the defection of a KGB agent to the West, he has a chance to prove his worth. Instead he is torn between conflicting loyalties, and lost in a maze of double-dealing and duplicity.

The second novel in the Game, Set and Match trilogy is a gripping portrayal of a man who can trust no one, not even those closest to him.

London Match by Len Deighton

17. London Match

Long-suffering spy Bernard Samson has, against all the odds, enticed a Soviet agent to defect to London – but this proves to be the start of something even bigger. For he learns that there is treachery within his own Service, and no one is free from suspicion. To discover who really controls the game of spies, he must attempt a desperate gamble.

As the Game, Set and Match trilogy reaches its shattering finale, who will make the winning move?

Winter by Len Deighton

18. Winter

Peter and Paul, the two sons of German businessman Harald Winter, are bonded together by a childhood trauma. But as they grow up the brothers also grow apart. When the shadow of the Third Reich falls they become divided by war and their differing ideals – only to meet again years later at the Nuremberg trials.

An epic prelude to the Bernard Samson Game, Set and Match trilogy, Winter is a rich, tragic portrait of the fortunes of a family, and a nation, over half a century.

Spy Hook by Len Deighton

19. Spy Hook

Millions of pounds have gone missing, and the Department have sent agent Bernard Samson to Washington to track them down. But this mission is just the start of something far deeper and darker. It will take him from the English suburbs to Berlin, the South of France to Los Angeles and the heart of a maelstrom.

In the first part of the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy, friends become enemies, pursuer becomes victim and no one – not even Bernard himself – is above suspicion.

Spy Line by Len Deighton

20. Spy Line

Bernard Samson is a spy on the run. But in the murky streets of Berlin, he knows where to hide. Wanted for an act of treachery he has not committed, he must not only escape the grasp of London Central, but get to the bottom of a tangled conspiracy that is about to change everything.

In the thrilling penultimate instalment of the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy, Bernard’s personal and professional life collide with devastating consequences.

Spy Sinker by Len Deighton

21. Spy Sinker

Of all the mysteries Bernard Samson has encountered, the greatest is his wife Fiona. Dedicated agent of the Service and a woman of secrets, she will risk everything to play the long game. As the truth about the decision that shattered their marriage is gradually revealed, the web of deception that has snared Bernard for ten years begins to unravel.

In the gripping, tragic finale of the Hook, Line and Sinker trilogy, everything we thought we knew is brought into question.

MAMista by Len Deighton

22. MAMista

Deep in the South American jungle the MAMista Marxist revolutionaries are fighting a hopeless, protracted war against a dictator – while the CIA see an opportunity. Amid the turmoil, three very different people – a doctor, a young firebrand and an educated revolutionary – find themselves thrown together and trapped at the heart of a battle where the enemy is uncertain, and there can be no winners.

Len Deighton’s first post-Cold War novel is a chilling and compelling story of revolution and betrayal.

City of Gold by Len Deighton

23. City of Gold

January 1942. Rommel’s troops are at the gates of Egypt, soon to threaten Cairo itself. A spy has been leaking British secrets to the German commander, and Captain Albert Cutler has been sent to find them amongst the city’s teeming streets and bazaars, before it is too late. But Cutler is not quite what he seems, and Cairo is a city of fool’s gold, where nothing can be taken at face value.

Violent Ward by Len Deighton

24. Violent Ward

Downtown LA. Streetwise lawyer Mickey Murphy has a shabby office in a low-rent district, an ex who bleeds him dry and the kind of clients who would plead the Fifth if they could count that high. He’s also been bought out by millionaire tycoon Zach Petrovitch – who just happens to be married to the love of Mickey’s life. When she asks him for help, Mickey finds himself thrown into a world of Hollywood stars, shady schemes, riots – and murder.

Faith by Len Deighton

25. Faith

Summer 1987, the final years of the Cold War. Bernard Samson has been sent to East Germany to make contact with a KGB defector, codename VERDI, who claims to have access to top intelligence secrets. But something goes wrong, and Bernard must struggle to stay in the game. Fighting to keep his job and rebuild his shattered marriage, kept in the dark by London Central, he has no one he can trust, and nothing to depend on but his own faith.

This is the first part of the Faith, Hope and Charity trilogy.

Hope by Len Deighton

26. Hope

When Bernard Samson is woken in the middle of the night and discovers an injured man on his doorstep, he knows it will only bring trouble. It is the start of a dangerous journey to Zurich, rural Poland and the heart of a mystery that has tormented both him and his wife Fiona since they left East Berlin.

Thrown into conflict with his superiors, and forced to question his job and his marriage, Bernard will learn, in the second part of the Faith, Hope and Charity trilogy, whether treachery can ever be forgiven.

Charity by Len Deighton

27. Charity

With the Cold War drawing to a close in the East, Bernard Samson is still haunted by the events that have turned his life upside down over the last ten years. But when he takes a train from Moscow to Berlin, he stumbles across a clue that may lead him to the truth at last – even though, in finding the answers, he could lose everything.

Bringing the Faith, Hope and Charity trilogy, and Bernard Samson’s story, to a stunning conclusion, this final volume brilliantly shows the human cost of the spying game.

There you have it – all Len Deighton books in order of publication. How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…

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