The First Spy Novel

Industrial Spy Stuff – The First Spy Novel

ImageThe word spy has it’s origins in Old French, espie, meaning ‘to watch’. Espionage also has it’s origins in Old French, espionner, meaning ‘to spy’.

The first spy novel, The Spy, A Tale of the Neutral Ground, was written and published in 1821. It is the second book written by James Fenimore Cooper whose most famous work is The Last of the Mohicans. It is the story of Harvey Birch, considered a loyalist, but is actually a spy for George Washington.

Cooper’s first book, Precaution, is the result of encouragement from his wife to write something better than the available books (1820). The critics claim Precaution is unpatriotic because of scenes and characters from other countries.

Determined to set the record straight on his patriotism, Cooper wrote The Spy. It is a big Imageliterary gamble for the time. Most people do not want to admit spy activities are necessary. Considering the small population of America and the communication systems of the1820’s, it achieves a high market penetration and is very successful. It is re-published in 1997.

Harvey Birch is a peddler living with his father, John, and a housekeeper in Westchester County, New York. The county is considered neutral ground between the British troops and Loyalist in Manhattan, and the American rebels up the Hudson River. Birch is considered a Loyalist by the British and has access to British intelligence; He is thought to be a traitor by most Americans. Only a few people know that Harvey Birch is actually a master spy. Birch’s handler is the aristocrat Mr Harper, who reports to General George Washington.

ImagePatrick Killough’s review recommends “Just open it, Start reading . . . do not peruse any scholarly prefaces or notes before you unravel the yarn for yourself. 

The Spy has reviewer ratings of 2.8 to 5 out-of-five.

The Spy has been published in hard copy, paperback, comic book series, audio book, ebook, and a play. It is available at any reputable bookstore. (Not intended as a book review.)

by: Leo N Ardo


Diverse Group Enjoys Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy series.

Authoring a book for the first time has its own set of difficulties and directs a new author’s priorities toward9781475951783_COVER.indd finishing a well-written book. Honestly, Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy was written without any thought as to who would read it. The story was top priority.

Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy series has a diverse audience. The result of hundreds of free copies given to male and female readers, ages 13 to 80+, indicates all gender/age groups enjoy the books.

It is a lifestyle choice. Jon Hersey readers like to read, visualize, anticipate, and be satisfied in one to two hours. They are readers with busy schedules and cherish the brief escape: as their young children nap, during flight schedules and layovers, or between appointments and meetings.

Jon Hersey readers are also mystery buffs.

Each new adventure is an easy-to-read short story where every word counts. A short story only has room to reveal something about the character or the story.

Jon Hersey readers enjoy knowing the main characters and learning more about Jon, Peter, and Daryl with each story. Anticipation adds spice to the first meeting of the villain, or villainess. (It’s true, Leo N Ardo is an equal opportunity writer.)

Leo N Ardo

Hoping life blesses you with good stories!

Getting to Know Jon Hersey, Industrial Spy

Our DNA, parents, guardians, relatives, friends, circumstances, and choices influence us. When the right events and influential people collide, they alter the course of our lives. Sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. A good friend likes to say, “We are each given a threshold for big events (graduation, marriage, deaths, birth of children, tax audits, buying a first home, second marriage, etc.). Too many big events, or too many squeezed together, exceeds our threshold and will alter our behavior.” The strong-willed take action, and the weak are crushed.

Jon Hersey is the product of characteristics passed from his grandfather to his father: love and protect your family, value your friends, respect your elders, your word is your bond, give your employer your best efforts, you are responsible to make your world a better place, and always open doors for ladies. Life challenges Jon more frequently than most people.

Jon is a seven-pound, four-ounce baby born on June 26, 1983, when his parents, Carter and Evelyn Hersey, accept a transfer to Waterbury, Connecticut. Evelyn is a stay-at-home mom that graciously dedicates her life to Carter, Jon, and later Matthew. Carter works the day shift as a supervisor for a milling equipment manufacturer. His evenings are spent with his two sons tutoring, helping with homework, checking on chores, coaching sports, and reading.

Matthew Digettes, the diminutive new kid, is a self-confident, mental giant. Jon ten, and Matthew nine, become instant friends. Over a couple years, Matthew passes his gifts for observation, statistics, trends, and drawing conclusions onto Jon.

Tragedy targets Jon, within a few years he lost his best friend, Matthew Digettes, to a drunk driver; his brother Matthew, to a hit-and-run driver; his parents in a bus accident; and his soul mate Alissa to cancer. Jon feels an overwhelming sense of loss and responsibility—“he should have been there to protect each of them.”

Waiting for the universe to decide when he has suffered enough, Jon meets Daryl Alexander and takes a job with a small secret organization fighting terrorism on American soil. In his mind he is making the world a better place and paying for the guilt he harbors for not protecting his loved ones.

Jon Hersey, industrial spy, is a collage of people, events, stories, and hopes. He is determined to fight terrorism using all the skills, traits, and drive he has been given by Grandpa, Dad, Mom, Matthew, Alissa, Daryl, and Leo N. Ardo, until the universe says it’s okay to rest.

Leo N. Ardo


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My inspiration for Jon Hersey, Industrial Spy

This is the story about four American tourists vacationing in Italy evading three spies. The story is chronicled in a September 2011 travel journal.

Europe provides the backdrop for many great fiction and non-fiction espionage stories. So many spy stories adds up to a lot of characters. Extrapolating this logic leads one to believe that most Europeans at-least know someone in the spy business. And Italy provides the wonderfully famous locations: Venice, Rome, Milan, Florence, Tuscany, to name a few.

Three Italian women, wonderful Italian locals, and the “Exaggerated Tales of an Ordinary Guy” travel journal were on an unavoidable collision course. The spy triad with code names Ms Mad, Bored Lady, and Ghost Guide were weaved in and out of the journal record.


Ms Mad was first encountered behind a grocery market cash register. Her intense anger  shocked the tourists who did not have their apples weighed at the meat counter, did not pay for their grocery bags, and later bought bottled water with a large Euro bill. She must have thought only spies would use such odd tactics as part of their cover.

Bored Lady was bold. She asked to be seated by the tourists at one of Florence’s best ristorantes. She had mastered the skill of listening to the conversation at an adjoining table and completely ignoring her dinner partner.

Ghost Guide was shrewd and her disguise masterful. She exited against the rush of the crowd holding her tattered orange umbrella high in the air, as a marker for her tour group. She walked through the town square without any visible patrons, but there was a ghostly empty space that followed in her wake.

The journal record was 75% travel stuff and 25% spy spoof. The ratio of comments were the opposite—3:1 in favor of the spoof. A few friends suggested, a short story was an appropriate next step.

A career of manufacturing and industrial experience have become the settings for Jon Hersey – Industrial Spy. The writing style hints of business communication.

On the fun meter, writing the first book was exhilarating. Watching the reader count increase every day on the free e-book websites was thrilling.

The series is about Jon Hersey who battles terrorism on American soil. He must be a ghost to accomplish the goals of: culling terrorists from the company’s employees, maintaining employment, ensuring that products ship to the armed forces, and eliminating the shipments to the enemy.

Novel One was recently published in paperback and e-book. Available at,, and other internet book stores.

Novels two through six will soon be available in paperback and e-book formats. Coming soon to . Novels seven and eight are under construction.

Several short stories can be found at the blog listed below.

Leo N Ardo


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