15 Must-Read Novels on Terrorism That Will Leave You Breathless


The entire world is engulfed in a complex war of loss and destruction due to the enduring threat and ominous reality of terrorism. However, how much do you know about this? Probably only the bits you hear around you. Terrorism is one of the major global issues and hence, shouldn’t be viewed so carelessly. In this article, we will explore certain books providing deeper insights into the issue of terrorism.

The brutal reality of terrorism sends chill down my spine. I always saw it as the unjust killing of innocents, however it is partially true, because as I started exploring more about it, I saw various aspects to it and began learning more while discovering these books.

The novels mentioned below explore and depict the topic of terrorism, providing readers with a deeper understanding of its complexities and consequences. These thought-provoking novels offer insights into the motivations of terrorists, their impact on individuals and societies, and the ethical dilemmas associated with counter-terrorism efforts.

Wanna know more? Well, keep on scrolling!

15 Shiversome Novels on Terrorism

1. Blood for Blood

Full Title: Blood for Blood: Fifty Years of the Global Khalistan Project

Author: Terry Milewski

Genre: History

Publishing Date: 5th July 2021


Veteran Canadian writer Terry Milewski examines the global Khalistan project, its thirst for vengeance, and the pathetic response from India’s Western supporters in this book. He charts the ascent and decline of militants from abroad, such as Talwinder Singh Parmar, the Babbar Khalsa terrorist group’s founder and the mastermind of the 1985 “Kanishka” bomb plot that resulted in the deaths of 329 people on board Air India Flight 182.

2. Eleventh Hour

Full Title: Eleventh Hour

Author: Hussain Zaidi

Genre: Thriller

Publishing Date: 1st May 2018


The wounds from the Mumbai terror strikes of 26/11 have not yet fully healed after nine years. Particularly not for Superintendent of Police Vikrant Singh, who encounters the High Commissioner of Pakistan at a function and ends up slapping him in the face. Five Indian Mujahideen members who Vikrant had detained escaped from the Central Jail in Bhopal in the meantime. Unofficially, Vikrant, who had been suspended due to the diplomatic debacle, is requested to help the squad find the terrorists who had escaped.

On a cruise ship travelling from Mumbai to Lakshadweep, a retired tycoon, a broken-hearted ex-soldier, and a young woman battling her own demons set off on a journey of self-discovery. But fate has other ideas, as the cruise ship is taken over.

3. Farewell Kabul

Full Title: Farewell Kabul: From Afghanistan to a More Dangerous World

Author: Christina Lamb

Genre: Memoir

Publishing Date: 9th October 2014


This book describes how the United States and Britain’s longest-running conflict since the Hundred Years War went from victory to lose. It was a failure that left Pakistan with nuclear weapons as the most dangerous country on earth, Afghanistan as one of the world’s poorest countries, and the Taliban unconquered. It explains how this occurred with unmatched access to all significant decision-makers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, London, and Washington, including heads of state and generals as well as soldiers on the ground.


Full Title: ISIS: The State of Terror

Author: J.M. Berger and Jessica Stern

Genre: Politics

Publishing Date: 27th January 2015


This book explores the ‘ghoulish pornography’ of pro-jihadi videos, the allure of jihadi women, and the startling effectiveness of the Islamic State’s use of social media to entice and recruit people from nations like the United States, Great Britain, and France—using current examples like Douglas McCain, an American from Minnesota who joined ISIS and later died in battle fighting for the Islamic State.

It also provides well-informed perspectives on potential government actions against ISIS, emphasizing the importance of adjusting our preconceived ideas about terrorism and reacting swiftly to the ever-changing Islamist landscape, both in the digital realm and in the physical world.

5. Looking for the Enemy

Full Title: Looking for the Enemy: Mullah Omar and the Unknown Taliban

Author: Bette Dam

Genre: Literary Collections

Publishing Date: 15th December 2021


The Taliban was the main foe of Western forces in Afghanistan for twenty years. However, it was an enemy they knew little about and even less about Mullah Omar, its founder and leader. Back in the early 2000s, investigative journalist Bette Dam made the decision to find the secretive Taliban leader armed only with a blurry black-and-white photograph of the man.

However, during the course of what had once looked to be an almost impossible task, she learned every aspect of the Taliban, came to understand how dangerously ignorant the international troops fighting it were, and made a surprising discovery regarding the whereabouts of the elusive Omar.

6. Black Flags

Full Title: Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS

Author: Joby Warrick

Genre: Non-fiction

Publishing Date: 29th September 2016


King Abdullah of Jordan, who succeeded his father in 1999, attempted to hasten the transition of power by releasing a number of political prisoners. Little did he know that among those freed was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist leader too deadly even for al-Qaeda, who would go on to inspire an Islamist movement intent on gaining control of the Middle East.

King Abdullah of Jordan, who succeeded his father in 1999, attempted to hasten the transition of power by releasing a number of political prisoners. He had no idea that Abu Musab al-Zarqaw was one of those who had been freed.

7. The Only Plane in the Sky

Full Title: The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11

Author: Garrett M. Graff

Genre: History

Publishing Date: 10th September 2019


The book portrays various individuals in different roles during the 9/11 attacks: a father and son separated by the impact zone, a firefighter searching for his wife at the World Trade Centre, an in-flight call attendant offering to relay a passenger’s final message to their family, a courageous FDNY chaplain administering last rites to the dying and ultimately losing his own life when the Towers crumble, and an ordinary person facing extraordinary events in real-time.

8. Say Nothing

Full Title: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

Author: Patrick Radden Keefe

Genre: True Crime

Publishing Date: 1st November 2018


The McConville case serves as the beginning point for this book’s account of the harsh struggle in Northern Ireland and its aftermath. The book portrays the story of a nation torn apart by a violent guerrilla war, a war whose repercussions have never been fully understood. In addition to inflicting severe wounds on individuals like the McConville children, the savage brutality also left I.R.A. members questioning whether their murderous crimes were indeed justified acts of war rather than mere murder.

9. One of Us

Full Title: One of Us: The Story of Anders Breivik and the Massacre in Norway

Author: Åsne Seierstad

Genre: History

Publishing Date: 1st January 2013


8 persons were killed when Anders Behring Breivik exploded a bomb outside of government buildings in the heart of Oslo on 22nd July 2011. The majority of the sixty-nine more victims were young Labour Party members as he then travelled to a youth camp on the island of Utya. The journalist Åsne Seierstad recounts the events leading up to and on this dreadful day in her book The Island.

10. The Pilot’s Daughter

Full Title: The Pilot’s Daughter

Author: Audrey J. Cole

Genre: Crime

Publishing Date: 22nd June 2021


After her spouse passed away in a recent Pago Pago helicopter disaster, Cora is afraid to fly once more but now she’s seated in first class next to the girlfriend of a well-known, rich pharmaceutical tycoon across the aisle. The plane gets taken over midway through its Pacific journey. The pilots are among the six fatalities. In addition to being a young widow, mother, and emergency department nurse, Cora is also a pilot’s daughter.

The purpose of the hijacking is still unknown as the aircraft was lost off the radar in the midst of the enormous Pacific Ocean. Cora struggles to defend herself and the other 142 passengers on board because she doesn’t know who to trust. She teams up with the man sitting next to her, Seattle Homicide Detective Kyle Adams.

11. Homegrown

Full Title: Homegrown: Timothy McVeigh and the Rise of Right-Wing Extremism

Author: Jeffrey Toobin

Genre: Terrorism

Publishing Date: 2nd May 2023


From renowned writer Jeffrey Toobin comes the authoritative story of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and Timothy McVeigh’s lasting influence, which inspired the January 6 uprising. In his book, Toobin describes how McVeigh’s strategies have evolved over the years after his death in 2001, reaching their pinnacle on January 6th when hordes of protesters attacked the Capitol.

12. The President Is Missing

Full Title: The President Is Missing

Author: Bill Clinton, James Patterson

Genre: Thriller

Publishing Date: 4th June 2018


The President Is Missing is one of the most suspenseful thrillers in recent memory. It takes place in real-time over a period of three days and it’s all actually possible. The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson is a riveting thriller that is utterly real.

The danger is present as the book begins. A massive attack on America is being planned by enemies. Fear and uncertainty engulf Washington. Rumours of cyberterrorism, espionage, and a traitor in the cabinet are pervasive. The President himself turns out to be a suspect before going missing.

13. The Black Banners

Full Title: The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al-Qaeda

Author: Ali Soufan, Daniel Freedman

Genre: Politics

Publishing Date: 1st September 2011


On 11th September 2001, a confidential file was given to FBI Special Agent Ali H. Soufan. The assaults on New York and Washington could have been avoided had he received it months earlier—when it was requested. In the fight against Al-Qaeda, Soufan helped prevent plots throughout the globe and forced some of the most crucial confessions from terrorists while serving on the front lines—all without touching them. Most of these accounts have never been published before, especially not by someone with such firsthand experience.

Understanding Al-Qaeda requires reading this narrative description of America’s battles with the terrorist organization, both of which the US has won and lost. We are led into hiding places and questioning chambers.

14. Inside Terrorism

Full Title: Inside Terrorism

Author: Bruce Hoffman

Genre: Non-fiction

Publishing Date: 1st January 1998


In this book, Hoffman examines the new foes, causes, and strategies of international terrorism that have recently surfaced, concentrating particularly on how Al-Qaeda has changed since 9/11; the causes of its resilience, resonance, and longevity; and its effective use of the Internet and videotapes to garner support from the general public and recruit new members.

Hoffman broadens the conversation by analysing the possible effects of the Iraqi insurgency, the use of suicide bombers, the exploitation of new communications technologies by terrorists, and the risk of a terrorist attack using CBRN or nuclear weapons.

15. An Ishmael of Syria

Full Title: An Ishmael of Syria

Author: Asaad Almohammad

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publishing Date: 6th April 2016


Adam is a soul-tormented man. He was exiled from his country and had to witness the atrocities take place from afar. His family is still trying to feed, clothe, and educate their kids while living in war-torn Syria. Adam makes an effort to integrate into his new community in Malaysia and become a “global citizen,” but he is frequently confronted with racism, prejudice, and other forms of intolerance.

Due to a lack of opportunities, Adam is forced to work long hours for meagre wages in order to support his family. Adam is forced to consider his own beliefs in God, in mankind, in himself, and in his integrity as a reluctant bystander in the worst humanitarian catastrophe of the twenty-first century by the increasingly upsetting news reports and the haunting recollections of his boyhood.

Final Words | Top 15 Novels on Terrorism

These novels on terrorism offer a gripping and thought-provoking exploration of this pressing global issue. Through their powerful storytelling and nuanced portrayals, these books invite readers to confront the complexities and consequences of terrorism. They serve as a reminder of the importance of empathy, understanding, and critical analysis in navigating the challenging landscape of terrorism.

Whether you are seeking heart-pounding thrillers or profound literary masterpieces, these novels are sure to captivate and engage. So, dive into these compelling narratives and discover the profound impact that literature can have in shedding light on the dark realities of terrorism.

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