Espionage /Spy Thrillers– who does it better the British or the Americans

I wrote this  just after the 2012 London Olympics and thought I had posted it a few days after the games finished.  Today I saw it was still languishing in my drafts and even though another Olympics has come and gone (Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics)  I’m thinking better late than never, so here goes.

I remember being impressed by how well the British team performed in 2012 and thought I would add a bit of a sporting aspect to my  post by choosing a team of British spy writers to go up against an  American team.  After an exhaustive selection process I have come up with a list of what I believe are the best examples of spy thriller writers from each country.  Readers should note however that writers with first-hand experience in the spy industry were given an easier ride through the preliminary selection process. This genre is dominated by male writers. In order to balance the team and as women writers are starting to gain a presence in this genre I have included a female writer on each team.  Writers are listed in alphabetical order.

My all time favourites are Frederick Forsyth’s Day of the jackal and John Le Carre’s  The spy who came in from the cold.

While Team USA has exuberance and style and excellent writers such as Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum and Daniel Silva, in my opinion team Britain wins hands down. I base this on the fact that this genre originated in Britain, the majority of the acknowledged masters of this genre such as Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham are British and the shear depth, experience and combined reputation of Team Britain’s writers.

I welcome any suggestions for other writers who should be included in the teams.

Team Britain

Eric Ambler                     Frederick Forsyth

Joseph Conrad               Graham Greene

Len Deighton                  John Le Carre

Ian Fleming                     Somerset Maugham

Ken Follett                       Stella Rimington

Team USA

Tom Clancy                      Steve Martini

Barry Eisler                     David Morrell

Vince Flynn                    Daniel Silva

Alan Furst                      Olen Steinhauer

Robert Ludlum            Craig Thomas

Gayle Lynds