11 Authors Like Frederick Forsyth For Thriller Book Fans

Looking for authors like Frederick Forsyth? Check out our guide, where we round up the top political thriller and espionage authors.

The English novelist Frederick Forsyth is the author of many popular thrillers, including the multi-million copy-selling The Day of the Jackal, The Fourth Protocol, The Odessa File, and The Dogs of War. In 1999, Forsyth was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and won the Crime Writers Association’s Cartier Diamond Dagger award in 2012 in recognition of his body of work to that date Crime thriller authors create intense and captivating stories that are impossible to put down!

Here Are The Authors Like Frederick Forsyth

1. Ken Follett

Ken Follett
A photograph of a white man with short white hair and black-framed eyeglasses. He is wearing a blue suit jacket, white shirt, and black tie

Ken Follett has written over thirty books that have sold more than 170 million copies worldwide and been translated into thirty-three languages, many set in the medieval period. The Eye of the Needle was published in 1978 and was the book that put Follett on the map. This World War II thriller won the 1979 Edgar Award for Best Novel and continues to sell well today.

Fans of Frederick Forsyth will enjoy Follett’s extensively researched, intelligent books if you’re unsure which of his many novels, try Pillars of the Earth, an epic historical tale of intrigue and betrayal. You might also be interested in our guide on authors like Lisa Gardner.

“The most expensive part of the building is the mistakes.

Ken Follett, The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of The Earth (The Kingsbridge Novels Series)
  • Follett Ken (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1092 Pages - 07/13/2017 (Publication Date) - PAN MACMILLAN (Publisher)

2. Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy
A black and white photograph of a man with short hair, smiling and looking to his left.  He is wearing large sunglasses, a striped suit, and a white shirt and patterned tie

Frederick Forsyth is one of the masters of the political thriller – and another adept hand at the genre was Tom Clancy, who was highly regarded for his technical military science and espionage novels set during and after the Cold War.

Clancy created the character Jack Ryan, who first appeared in the bestselling The Hunt for Red October and went on to feature in fifteen other novels written by the author. Clancy also wrote Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger, which, like The Hunt for Red October, were transformed into blockbuster Hollywood movies.

“The world can change around you, but your dream will not. Responsibilities need not erase it. Duties need not obscure it.“

Tom Clancy, Goodreads
The Hunt for Red October (text only) Reprint edition by T. Clancy
  • Tom Clancy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/01/2010 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

3. John Le Carre

John Le Carre
A photograph of a white man with short white hair and hazel eyes. He is pulling a face at the camera that resembles a smug smile. He is wearing a navy suit jacket and a light blue shirt that’s open at the collar.

Many of John Le Carre’s espionage novels have been adapted into successful movies and television shows, so you may be familiar with his stories even if you haven’t read any of his books.

Le Carre’s most enduringly popular novels include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, The Looking Glass War, and The Constant Gardener. Key to the realistic details of the author’s books was the fact that, during the 1950s and 1960s, he worked for both MI5 and MI6. Le Carre was widely considered one of the postwar era’s greatest novelists.

“Do you know what love is? I’ll tell you: it is whatever you can still betray.“

John Le Carre, The Looking Glass War
The Looking Glass War: A George Smiley Novel
  • Orders are despatched from our UK warehouse next working day.
  • le Carré, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 03/05/2013 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

4. Robert Ludlum

Robert Ludlum
A black and white photograph of a man with short hair. He is looking at the camera with a neutral expression. He is wearing a dark suit jacket, a white shirt, and a dark-striped tie

Readers who enjoy the typically fast-paced plots of Frederick Forsyth’s books will love the novels of Robert Ludlum, who was the pen behind The Bourne Trilogy. Ludlum wrote twenty-seven books (all thrillers), and the number of his novels estimated to be in print is 300 – 500 million.

Before becoming an author, Ludlum was a United States Marine, an actor, and a producer. Many of his stories, such as The Materese Circle, were inspired by contemporary and historical conspiracy theories.

“Sleep is a weapon!“

Robert Ludlum, Goodreads
The Matarese Circle: A Novel
  • Ludlum, Robert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 03/31/2015 (Publication Date) - Bantam (Publisher)

5. Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer
A photograph of a white man with short white hair. He is speaking into a microphone on stage with his hands open mid-sentence. He is wearing a black suit jacket and trousers, and a white shirt

Bestselling author Jeffrey Archer is a life peer and former politician from the UK. After a financial scandal resulted in Archer deciding not to seek re-election, he turned to writing; Kane and Abel were subsequently published in 1979 and are still one of the bestselling books in the world. His political thrillers have sold around 320 million copies worldwide.

Archer has also written three stage plays, a slew of novels, including Only Time Will Tell and Cometh the Hour, and many short stories. He’s spoken about how he writes the first draft of every new story abroad, at his property in Majorca. The name of the villa is – appropriately – Writer’s Block.

“Some people stand by you in your darkest hour while others walk away; only a select few march towards you and become even closer friends.“

Jeffrey Archer, Only Time Will Tell
Only Time Will Tell (The Clifton Chronicles, 1)
  • Great product!
  • Archer, Jeffrey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 02/28/2012 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Paperbacks (Publisher)

6. Michael Crichton

Michael Crichton
A photograph of a white man smiling and showing his teeth. He has short, wavy, brown hair and wears thin-framed eyeglasses. He is wearing a black suit jacket, a white shirt, and a red tie

Like Frederick Forsyth, Michael Crichton wrote cerebral thrillers, often with scientific or medical underpinnings. Over a dozen Crichton’s novels have been turned into successful films, including the Jurassic Park franchise. The author also worked in the television and film industry. He wrote and directed Westworld in 1973 and Coma and Runaway, among others.

“We have real dinosaurs out there now. That’s what people want to see.“

Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park: A Novel
  • Crichton, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 464 Pages - 09/25/2012 (Publication Date) - Ballantine Books (Publisher)

7. Gerald Seymour

Suppose you’re a fan of the suspense and political intrigue of a Frederick Forsyth novel. In that case, you’ll enjoy The Untouchable, Archangel, The Walking Dead, and the many other books that Gerald has written since the publication of Harry’s Game in 1975.

Seymour’s novels are known for their realism and grit. Before settling down to write fiction full-time, Seymour was a journalist and foreign correspondent, reporting on events such as guerilla attacks on the West German Embassy.

“Others determined the morality.“

Gerald Seymour, Harry’s Game
Harry's Game :
  • Gerald Seymour (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 310 Pages - Hodder Books (Publisher)

8. Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva
A brown and white photograph of a man speaking into a microphone and looking to his right. He has short, dark hair and is wearing thin-framed eyeglasses. He is wearing a dark suit jacket, a white shirt, and a striped tie

Readers keen to find a novel similar to Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal will be delighted to discover The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva. The latter writes fast-paced, action-packed spy thrillers featuring powerful narratives and plenty of believable characters.

Silva has written over twenty espionage novels, all of which have been New York Times bestsellers, including The Rembrandt Affair. In 2007 the author’s book The Messenger won the Barry Award for Best Thriller, and in 2013 Silva received the same accolade again for The Fallen Angel. You might also be interested in our guide on authors like Daniel Silva.

“The secrets of survivors are not easily surrendered. They are locked away behind barricaded doors and accessed at great risk to those who possess them.“

Daniel Silva, The Rembrandt Affair
The Rembrandt Affair (Gabriel Allon)
  • Silva, Daniel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 528 Pages - 07/05/2011 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

9. Jack Higgins

Jack Higgins
A black and white photograph of a white man who is sitting on a chair in front of a cabinet of books and files. He has short, dark hair and is wearing a light-colored suit jacket, a white shirt, and a dark-striped tie

Jack Higgens (the pen name used by Henry Patterson) wrote thriller and espionage novels, including the multi-million copy-selling The Eagle Has Landed, which was adapted into a hugely successful movie in 1976. Higgens’ eighty-five novels have been translated into fifty-five languages and sold over 250 million copies. Before becoming a full-time writer, Higgins was a teacher and lectured in social psychology and criminology before moving to Leeds Polytechnic, where he taught liberal studies. You can also check out our list of authors like Ottessa Moshfegh.

“Well, let’s put it this way, you’ll be a major by nightfall or dead.“

Jack Higgins, The Eagle Has Landed
The Eagle Has Landed (Liam Devlin)
  • Higgins, Jack (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 06/01/2000 (Publication Date) - G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)

10. Martin Cruz Smith

Martin Cruz Smith
A photograph of an older man smiling at the camera showing his teeth. He has short, dark gray hair, and is wearing a blue checkered shirt and a light gray suit jacket

The mystery and suspense novels of Martin Cruz Smith are a great choice for fans of Frederick Forsyth looking for their next favorite read! Smith is best known for his series featuring Arkady Renko, a Russian investigator, which began with Gorky Park. This writer also published novels under the pen names Nick Carter, Simon Quinn, Martin Quinn, and Jake Logan. Smith has received many accolades for his work, including the Left Coast Crime Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011 and the Piemonte Grinzane Noir Prize in 2008.

“Proust said that you could seduce any woman if you were willing to sit and listen to her complain until four in the morning.“

Martin Cruz Smith, Gorky Park
Gorky Park (1) (The Arkady Renko Novels)
  • Smith, Martin Cruz (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 02/13/2018 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster (Publisher)

11. Dale Brown

Dale Brown
A photograph of a white man with short brown hair sitting on a large motorbike on tarmac. There is a small plane in the background and a mountain view behind him

Those who enjoy losing themselves in a great thriller will want to add some of Dale Brown’s books to their current reading list. Brown is an aviator, and his suspenseful, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat stories regularly feature fighter pilots taking part in daring raids or secret operatives involved in dangerous missions, such as Countdown to Midnight and Eagle Station.

Brown began flying lessons at fifteen, eventually being granted his private pilot’s license. While in college, he joined the Air Force ROTC and was commissioned by the United States Air Force in 1978. Brown left the Air Force in 1986 and holds lifetime membership of the Air Force Association and the US Naval Institute. Looking for more? Check out our guide on how to write a thriller!

“In life, adversity only visits the strong. It stays forever with the weak.“

Dale Brown, Goodreads
Countdown to Midnight: A Nick Flynn Novel (Nick Flynn, 2)
  • Brown, Dale (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 02/21/2023 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)