Spy series Slow Horses is returning for its third season on Apple TV+, with Gary Oldman's Jackson Lamb leading his Slough House team through another sticky mission.


The show's cast includes Jack Lowden, Kristin Scott Thomas and Jonathan Pryce, and it has become known for its blend of humour with big spy action.

Each season of the show is based on a different novel in the Slough House series by Mick Herron, which so far includes 8 novels - meaning there is plenty of material available for future seasons.

Read on for everything you need to know about how to read the Jackson Lamb novels in order.

Is Slow Horses based on a book?

Jack Lowden and Rosalind Eleazar in Slow Horses season 3
Jack Lowden and Rosalind Eleazar in Slow Horses season 3. Apple TV+

Yes – the television series is based on the Slough House series, a long-running collection of books featuring the brilliant but irascible Jackson Lamb, who's played on screen by Gary Oldman.

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The first season of Slow Horses was based on the first book in the series, while the second season was based on the follow-up book, Dead Lions. Season 3, likewise, is based on the third book in the series, Real Tigers.

“Slow Horses was very faithful to the plot of the original book. That's probably less true in the next one for a variety of reasons,” Mick Herron told RadioTimes.com. "All the big changes to plots have been made with either my happy agreement or, sometimes, at my suggestion.

"There will be changes, but for me the important things are the characters and the tone, which elides between comedy and sometimes tragedy.

"I've been very happy with the approach they're taking, and I certainly don't require the plotting to be step-to-step in line with the book, because what would be the point of that in the long run? We want to be more creative and carry on being creative with the adaptation."

How many books are there in the Slough House series?

Christopher Chung in Slow Horses season 3
Christopher Chung in Slow Horses season 3 Apple TV+

There are currently eight books in the Slough House series, with the most recent being released on 10th May 2022.

Here's the full list of Slough House novels in order.

  1. Slow Horses (2010)
  2. Dead Lions (2013)
  3. Real Tigers (2016)
  4. Spook Street (2017)
  5. London Rules (2018)
  6. Joe Country (2019)
  7. Slough House (2021)
  8. Bad Actors (2022)

Alongside the eight novels, Herron has also written four novellas in the series - The List (2015), The Marylebone Drop (2018), The Catch (2020) and Standing by the Wall (2022).

Meanwhile, Herron's novels Reconstruction (2008), Nobody Walks (2015) and The Secret Hours (2023), while not officially part of the series, take place in the same world and include some of the same characters.

There’s no word if Slow Horses’ success will see these spin-off books also brought to screen in the near future. "There haven’t been discussions about filming them, but it certainly remains a possibility," said Herron. "For the time being, it's the Jackson Lamb series which is being focused upon."

Does Jackson Lamb feature in all of the novels?

Gary Oldman in Slow Horses season 3
Gary Oldman in Slow Horses season 3 Apple TV+

Lamb appears in all of the Slough House novels, meaning there should be plenty of scope for Gary Oldman to return as the character time and again. However, in an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, Oldman revealed that Herron hadn't always intended it to be that way.

Oldman explained: "Lamb was never originally going to appear. Lamb was up somewhere on the eighth floor, or the seventh floor or somewhere in the building and that he was such a sort of legend that people talked about him, but he never appeared.

"And Mick said that he wrote one scene with Lamb and once he gave him the voice, he went, 'Oh no, this guy's too interesting,' and that's how the whole thing shifted - which is fascinating to me that he was going to be an off-stage character."

Will the Apple TV+ series adapt more of the books?

Christopher Chung, Kadiff Kirwan and Aimee-Ffion Edwards in Slow Horses
Christopher Chung, Kadiff Kirwan and Aimee-Ffion Edwards in Slow Horses. Apple TV+

It will indeed. When the series was first announced, Deadline reported that 12 episodes were being shot, with the latter six focusing on the second novel, Dead Lions.

In June 2022, Apple TV+ announced that Slow Horses would also be returning for a third and a fourth season.

The even better news is that filming on the fourth season has already taken place, meaning it is likely to arrive on our screens in 2024.

The third season of Slow Horses sees Lamb and his allies attempt to foil a rogue agent when one of their own is kidnapped, while the fourth opens with a bombing that detonates personal secrets, "rocking the already unstable foundations of Slough House".

Herron previously told RadioTimes.com that while he's unaware of any long term plans to develop the whole run of novels for television, he’d be “delighted” if there were.

"I'd be delighted if that does happen – everybody seems to be happy with the work done so far, but we've no way of knowing what the future holds. I don't know – but I do know that barring some unforeseen catastrophes, books one to four will be on television screens within the next couple of years."

Slow Horses season 3 will debut on Wednesday 29th November, while seasons 1-2 are available to watch now on Apple TV+. Sign up to Apple TV+ now. Mick Herron's full Slough House book series is available now.

Check out more of our Drama coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to see what's on tonight.


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