Jun 21 2012 1:30pm

Author Gina Robinson on Spies and Sexpionage!

Diamonds Are Truly Forever by Gina RobinsonJust released, Gina Robinson’s Diamonds Are Truly Forever: An Agent Ex Novel is a sexy, sleuthy tale of sex with the ex (not to mention high espionage!). Today, Gina joins us to talk about the different types of spies, and shares some delicious pics, too! Thanks, Gina!


Only the wisest ruler can use spies; only the most benevolent and upright general can use spies, and only the most alert and observant person can get the truth using spies . . .

There is nowhere that spies cannot be used.

—Sun Tzu, The Art of War

The Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu identified the importance of using spies in his ancient military treatise, The Art of War, somewhere around 512 B.C. Sun Tzu identifies five kinds of spies:

  • Local spies—the enemy’s people
  • Internal spies—the enemy’s officials
  • Double spies—the enemy’s spies
  • Dead spies—spies used to spread misinformation, usually they’re fed bad intelligence by their own government
  • Living spies—agents who return with reports and valuable information

In romance fiction, I think we can all agree that the hero must be a living spy, for oh, so many delicious reasons, except, perhaps in a paranormal. In which case, an undead spy could be just the thing. In the tradition of Sun Tzu, and going one better, I’ve identified six types of spies. Five who are perfect romance heroes and one who’s possibly a very sexy villain. They’re just the kind of operatives any woman could find herself falling in love with, on or off a clandestine mission.

James Douglas Clayton — The RecruitThe Recruit

Example: James Douglas Clayton, The Recruit, played by Colin Farrell

What’s not to love about a brilliant, young, incredibly handsome trainee? We all love the naiveté, loyalty, and blind passion of youth.

Even as recruits make mistakes and missteps, they’re wonderfully sexy.

Maxwell Smart — The Funny Spy

The Funny Spy

Example: Maxwell Smart, Get Smart, played by Steve Carell or Don Adams

In surveys where women are asked what they’d like in a man, an overwhelming sixty-eight percent say it’s essential he have a sense of humor. Humor is sexy and makes a relationship fun. Which puts Max, good old Agent 86, on the hot spy list. When you fall for a funny spy, you’ll be facing every kind of danger imaginable. And loving it!

FDR Foster — The Romantically Competitive SpyThe Romantically Competitive Spy

Example: FDR Foster, played by Chris Pine in This Means War

This spy will fight to the death for his ladylove, even dueling with his best friend if that’s what it takes. And he’ll use every dirty trick, piece of technology, and spy gadget imaginable to do so. But he’ll fight in the most romantic way, making the object of his affection the center of his life. And speaking of fighting, he’ll look hot even in the heat of the action. But in the end, friendship and love are the most important things to this secret agent.

Ricki Tarr — The Seductive Field AgentThe Seductive Field Agent

Example: Ricki Tarr, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, played by Tom Hardy

He’ll sleep with you to get information, but he’ll fight to save you and keep you safe, loving you until the end. And no matter how farfetched, implausible, or even downright dangerous the intelligence you give him is, he’ll listen and believe you. He loves passionately and believes, sometimes naively, that he can save the world.

Bill Haydon — The Socialite SpyThe Socialite Spy

Example: Bill Haydon, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, played by Colin Firth

He’s dashing, artistic, and Oxford educated. He moves in society and knows how to speak. Some refer to him as a latter day Lawrence of Arabia. He works in the highest, most top-secret ranks of the service planning dangerous operations. He’s powerful, mysterious, and a lover that women can’t resist. If only he weren’t very probably a double agent . . .

As long as he doesn’t betray your heart.

James Bond — The Quintessential Spy and Ladies’ ManThe Quintessential Spy and Ladies’ Man

Example: Do we really need an example? This is Bond, James Bond. 007. Played by—take your pick from the lineup of handsome men who’ve brought him to life over the years. Currently played by Daniel Craig, the only blond Bond and a wonderfully rough and attractive one.

He’s daring, built, athletic, and fearless. And his clothes! Hand tailored suits that fit his perfect body and move with the action. If you’d like to know what it’s like to dress Bond, check out this video:

He risks his life to save the world. Always ends up with the girl. Can handle a gun. And has a new movie coming out later this year. Need I go on? Oh, James!


Which do you think is the sexiest type of spy? Which archetype would thrill you most in the next romance you read? Is there someone or some archetype you’d add to this list? If so, tell us who and why!


Gina Robinson has always been a storyteller—just ask her parents. An avid book lover, she grew up reading romance, mysteries, and suspense novels but, somehow, ended up majoring in Electrical Engineering. After marrying her college sweetheart, she began to write—software—for several large defense contractors. Eventually Gina gave up the glamorous engineering life for the equally glamorous life of a stay-at-home mom, somehow finding time to write manuscripts about villains with guns, handsome strangers, and mail-order brides. Her published novels, Spy Candy, Spy Games, and The Spy Who Left Me, received rave reviews, establishing Gina Robinson as one of today’s most exciting new authors of romantic suspense.

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
Great post! Hmm, I think I'm a sucker for...well, for all these guys! I also had a thing for Michael Vaughn in Alias when it was on, probably mostly as the foil to the bad-ass double agent Sydney Bristow, 'cause I guess by himself he would've been *too* serious and by-the-book.

Love stories with female spies too, like, again, Sydney Bristow and Avengers's Black Widow, etc. Those are fun.

Looking forward to checking out Diamonds Are Truly Forever!
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
Oh, James is right! He's my absolute favorite, but I love the spies you include, especially the two from Tinker Tailor.
Lege Artis
3. LegeArtis
Oh, I would love to read something with seductive field agents. I love when plot envolves so called "valentine spies"- Ricky Tarr played by awesome Tom Hardy is great example. It's easy to love spies who are heroes, who have great combat skills, gun skills, tech skills- you never doubt in their bravery, heroism. But with seductive spies we are on morally challenged ground- is sleeping with someone to get information crossing the line...? And I don't mean just spies who are basically who*ing themselves for some agency, but agency that trains them and expects them to perform... I find it quite interesting.
As an asset, there is no one better than 007. So he is on the top of spy awesomness level. Is there anything this man can't do...? I'll go with him as sexiest.
Great post, Gina!
PM Kavanaugh
4. PM Kavanaugh
Love this post! Never thought about different categories/types of spies, but I think you nailed them. My fave is definitely 007, especially as portrayed by Daniel Craig. Spy candy, for sure! What about types of female spies? Do they fall into the same categories?
5. wsl0612
My favorite spy movie is Mr & Mrs Smith.
I got turned off by the Bond movies during the late 80s/90s when they hired so many bimbette actresses to play Bond girls. (I still get very irritated when I think about Denise what'sherface, who was married to Charlie Sheen) But, I considered Roger Moore to be blonde, isn't he?
Heather Waters
6. HeatherWaters
@wsl0612 -- Just rewatched Mr. and Mrs. Smith the other day. So entertaining! I always enjoy that one.
Marian DeVol
7. ladyengineer
Greetings from a fellow EE (once a systems engineer, now involved in databases and business software and moving into InfoSec )...

Great post, Gina! I've long been addicted to spy movies and TV series.

This Means War is only one of my most recent favorites. From Get Smart and The Scarecrow and Mrs. King through Burn Notice and Covert Affairs and from the various James Bond flicks through This Means War, Mr & Mrs. Smith, and the whole Bourne saga, there is just something compelling and VERY sexy about a clandestine operative that speaks to my romantic soul.

I am making my way through your Agent Ex series and loving it! ;->

If you've never read it, The Cuckoo's Egg by Cliff Stoll is a great espionage tale by the long-haired, hippy-type astronomer geek who exposed the incident to the NSA. My Dad (another EE) was technical director of a research lab when this was happening and remembers a couple of his Unix sysadmins helping out on the DARPA end of the investigation.
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