BOOK REVIEW: The Book Spy by Alan Hlad


The Book Spy by Alan Hlad

A WW2 Novel of Librarian Spies

A John Scognamiglio Book (January 24, 2023)

Historical WWII Fiction

An American librarian. A Portuguese bookseller. A mission to change the tide of the war.

1942: With the war’s outcome hanging in the balance, President Roosevelt sends an unlikely new taskforce on a unique mission. They are librarians and microfilm specialists trained in espionage, working with a special branch of the Office of Strategic Services and deployed to neutral cities throughout Europe. By acquiring and scouring Axis newspapers, books, technical manuals, and periodicals, the librarians can gather information about troop location, weaponry, and military plans.

Maria Alves, a microfilm expert working at the New York Public Library, is dispatched to Lisbon, where she meticulously photographs publications and sends the film to London to be analyzed. Working in tandem with Tiago Soares, a Portuguese bookstore owner on a precarious mission of his own—providing Jewish refugees with forged passports and visas—Maria acquires vital information, including a directory of arms factories in Germany.

But as she and Tiago grow closer, any future together is jeopardized when Maria’s superiors ask her to pose as a double agent, feeding misinformation to Lars Steiger, a wealthy Swiss banker and Nazi sympathizer who launders Hitler’s gold. Gaining Lars’ trust will bring Maria into the very heart of the Fuhrer’s inner circle. And it will provide her with a chance to help steer the course of war, if she is willing to take risks as great as the possible rewards . . .


The Book Spy (



“He’s gotten here by following the rules. I, on the other hand, have gotten here by breaking them.”

Reading The Book Spy was very educational. So many events I had no knowledge of. A ton of research that Hlad did is evident. The Book Spy is a fictional story but has many intriguing historical events woven into it and numerous historical figures make appearances. Intriguing read as Maria finds herself being a spy. She wasn’t afraid to break rules and strike out on her own. Highly recommend.

Reviewed by Comfy Chair Books/Lisa Reigel (January 15, 2023)

eBook ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley

Purchased copy via Brenda Novak Monthly Book Club Box (February)

#TheBookSpy #HistoricalFiction #WW2Fiction #bookstagram #bookclub #BrendaNovakMonthlyBookBox #ARC #KensingtonPublishingCorp


Alan Hlad is the international and USA Today bestselling author of The Long Flight Home. He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Literary Cleveland, and the Akron Writers’ Group. Alan is a corporate executive turned writer who lives in Ohio with his wife and children. You can find him online at   Alan Hlad,, and on Instagram @AlanHlad.


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