Book Review: The Book Spy by Alan Hlad

January 10, 2023


The Book Spy by Alan Hlad follows an American Librarian recruited by the OSS to collect Axis information overseas. Mr. Hlad is published author known for his historical novels.

  • 384 pages
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ A John Scognamiglio Book
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496738543

Book Review: The Book Spy by Alan Hlad
My rat­ing for
The Book Spy — 4
Buy The Book Spy from*
More Books by Alan Hlad*


As I read this novel, I thought the story sounded especially familiar. When I read the author’s notes afterward, my suspicion was confirmed. Many aspects of the story incorporate the real-life contribution of Juan Pujol, also knows as “Garbo” who was one of the most prolific double agent of World War II.

The strength of the book is its characters. Ordinary people do extraordinary things, which they know will make their lives difficult. Their morals, however, take precedence over their comfort, and often safety.

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was because of my love for “books on books”, this one is not one of those despite the title, and in fairness, it is not marketed that way either. Even though Maria Alves, the protagonist, is a librarian and is sent on a mission to collect books, manuals, and other literature to help the allies it is just a vehicle for characters’ growth and interaction.
It works very well.

The Book Spy by Alan Hlad is an easy book to read and could be finished fairly quickly. The story is interesting, the characters realistic, and even though a lot is happening, I never thought it was confusing.

The research was very good, even though there are many liberties taken since the protagonists never existed. It is highly recommended to take a few moments and read the author’s historical notes at the end of the book for clarification or expand one’s knowledge.


Maria Alves works for the New York Public Library as a microfilm expert. Due to her foresight, and cunning, she was recruited to work with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), and sent to Portugal to collect published information about the Axis.

In Lisbon, Portugal, she finds a friendly bookstore owner, Tiago, who helps her on her mission. Soon, Maria finds herself serving as a double agent, feeding misinformation to a Swiss banker and Nazi financier.

Buy The Book Spy from*
More Books by Alan Hlad*

Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account, the money is usually spent on books

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