Fiction Famous: Spies

April 27, 2017 James Clayton Welch

Meet the Fabulously Famous Fictional Spies and Why the Books They Are featured in Are Amazing

Truth is stranger than fiction, yet the problem with truth is that, sometimes, real life can be cruel. The superheroes you look up to may be flawed when you look beyond their sheen of invincibility, and the bubble that is the suspension of your disbelief pops. This is the function of fiction: to give a reprieve to the harshness of reality. This is especially true when it comes to the world of espionage. In the previous articles, we learned more about the real activities of the world’s most famous spy agencies. From funding drug cartels, overthrowing legitimate governments to further the interest of their own, to assassinating people, the picture that is painted is often a grim one. This is why spy fiction is so popular. It takes away the grit and adds glamour to an otherwise dirty job. More so when painting a better picture of the spies that do those dirty jobs, because the only thing dirty people want to read about is the martinis. Here are some fabulous fictional spies in literature.

Fiction Famous Spies 

James Bond

Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

The most famous one on the list, Bond, James Bond, has enjoyed a massive following since he made his 1953 debut in Fleming’s first of many spy novels. A dashing and debonair superspy, Bond careens around the world on dangerous and glamorous missions, usually with a delectable beauty by his side.


Jason Bourne

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum

Made into a household name by Matt Damon, the actor playing his character, Jason Bourne is a spy with extraordinary skills but suffers from some sort of amnesia. As he seeks to discover his true identity, he has to figure out why so many people—including the CIA—want him dead.


George Smiley

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

An aging spymaster, George Smiley is tasked to uncover a mole from the Soviet Union who has infiltrated the British Secret Intelligence Service. He unravels an East German spy ring, investigates murders, and had a Soviet nemesis. The antithesis to the sensational James Bond, Smiley is realistic and is admired for his wit.


Jack Ryan

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

A CIA agent, Jack Ryan was portrayed in films by Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, Ben Affleck, Chris Pine, and finally, John Krasinski in the upcoming TV series. Smart, cool, and calm under pressure, Jack Ryan really deserves a place in the list.


These are just some characters, but there are more out there. Do you know any? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below, or send me a tweet at @JamesCWelch.

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