Nuclear novels
March 7, 2017 3:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for enthralling cold war spy novels based around nuclear weapons, or indeed any novels based around the development and, especially, the geo-politics of nuclear weapons. Definitely want gripping page turners, books with female protagonists and some historical basis are extra welcome.
posted by roolya_boolya to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed The Fourth Protocol back in the day.

The title refers to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which (at least in the world of the novel) contained four secret protocols. The fourth of the protocols was meant to prohibit non-conventional deliveries of nuclear weapons, i.e. by means other than being dropped from aircraft or carried on ballistic missiles. This included postal delivery or being assembled in secret, close to the target, before being detonated.
posted by quinndexter at 5:50 AM on March 7, 2017

Well, obviously, Seven Days in May.

Oops, here's the novel.
posted by JimN2TAW at 6:22 AM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

And Fail-Safe.
posted by JimN2TAW at 6:33 AM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you can stomach Tom Clancy's politics,* The Sum of All Fears, The Cardinal of the Kremlin, and The Hunt for Red October all combine the Cold War and nuclear weapons.

*and for what it's worth, in the period that includes these 3 books, he was certainly conservative, but in the GHW Bush mode. After these he slid into more of a rabid Fox News style. And even his "tamer" period can still be breathtakingly sexist at times, with some casual racism thrown in here and there.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:07 AM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seconding Seven Days in May. Just a great page-turner.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:26 AM on March 7, 2017

The latest Jack Reacher novel, "Night School," by Lee Child, is set post-cold war as the military draw-down is underway (and while Reacher was still in the service, an Army cop who was occasionally used by the Army to deliver some deniable justice), but it's about legacy of the Cold War buildup in West German, namely some inventory that went missing and has found its way to the black market. Reacher is tasked to find out what's for sale, and stop it. The fact that I'm adding this to this thread is a bit of a spoiler, but yeah, it's a nuke. However, it's a particular form of nuke developed for a peculiar form of (real) nuclear warfare. Reacher is ably assisted by another Army investigator (and recurring character), Master Sergeant Francis Neagley who may be second fiddle to Reacher, but she's neither window dressing nor sex object.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:50 AM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Martin Cruz Smith (of Gorky Park fame); his Stallion Gate is fictionalized account of the development of the bomb at Los Alamos.
posted by Bron at 6:52 AM on March 8, 2017

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