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4.1 out of 5 stars93
4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 17 August 2008
As `Illegal Action' begins, Liz Carlyle is being transferred to Counter-espionage within MI5 a move she views as a demotion. However, soon after she arrives, word leaks of a plot by the Russians to kill one of their influential oligarchs here in London. Intelligence leads Liz to carry out an undercover operation where she must pose as an art history student and spend time in the home of Brunovsky, a charismatic and incredibly wealthy man who could be under threat. It seems that none of the people in Brunovsky's intimate circle are who they say they are and it's up to Liz to get to the truth.

I have read and enjoyed Stella Rimington's other books, but for some reason i found this one slightly lack lustre. The plot was Ok, but fell apart towards the end and I didn't find myself engaged with the characters as much as I had been in previous books. This novel might be OK for the book and is an easy read, but it certainly isn't the best example of her writing.
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on 17 January 2008
Stella Rimington is clearly an intelligent person (and she should be - given her former job!) - her language is brilliant.
I was, however, disappointed with this her third spy-novel. Not as exciting as the two first. When finished I sat back with a feeling that either the author didn't really have anything to say, or didn't have time enough time to write this book. It build up quite well, but then ended so suddenly, and never became really thrilling.
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on 20 November 2008
No James Bond smoothie knocking off the baddies and knocking up the birds, Liz Carlyle's character is far more down to earth, far more credible. The women in the book don't fall about screaming when they see something iffy, but get on with the job. Mind you, the blokes in power are often represented as arrogant tossers--the male equivalent of the cardboard hysterical woman, the kind of people we all recognize from the workplace.

The pace of the story is good and fast, making the book something of a page-turner. Just don't compare Rimington with Le Carré, yet.

Some voyeurs might whinge at the lack of sex scenes in the story, but such scenes would only have delayed the important stuff, weakening the tale.

Rimington is certainly improving as an author and spinner of yarns. Good for her. Knowing the Service as thoroughly as she does, she must surely be at great pains not to tell too much, not to give away some "useful" information, lest she be branded "another Peter Wright". But within the limits of what she can safely divulge, she presents us with a credible view of some aspects of work in MI5. If anything's missing, it's the sheer drudgery of some of the analytical work. But who'd be interested in that?

Good on yer, Stella. Keep 'em coming.
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Just finished this book after reading all others by Stella Remington. Again there is much to enjoy, the good characterisation, the locations in London, the inner life of MI5 and MI6, and a very contemporary plot. But also, there is much to find a bit short-changed ( as in the other books_) mostly here this anti-climax ending, utterly unprobable, unconvincing endings that Remington seems to be so good at.
The story I found a bit far-fetched, and stretching belief. Still I would recommend it for a journey or a long airport delay.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 1 December 2007
This is the third thriller penned by Stella Rimington, the former Director General of Britain's MI5. Rimington's first hand experience in the Secret Service comes through in her writing and gives her novels a very authentic feel. When she writes about the way that a surveillance operation is conducted, for example, you know that this is really how it goes down.

This is an enjoyable book that takes off fast and holds your attention. The plot takes off where "Secret Asset" left off (though it's not necessary to have read that book) and again centres on Liz Carlyle, now transferred to the Counter Espionage division within MI5. Her team become aware of a Russian Government plot to silence a Russian oligarch living in the UK. Liz goes undercover in a bid to prevent the plot, but quickly becomes a target herself. Can she and her team find the potential assassin before it's too late?

It's hard to find a thriller that has a good ending and unfortunately this book is yet another that loses its way around the 90% mark. The resolution is ultimately weak but it's still a good book that keeps you hooked throughout, and while some of the key plot elements are very predictable, there are a couple of twists that most definitely aren't. The main characters are well thought out and the premise feels realistic. Rimington has written another winner and I look forward to her next.
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Illegal Action

In her third Liz Carlyle novel Stella moves to modern Russia and the London based oligarchs, in this case billionaire Brunovsky on a mission to buy a newly discovered modern Russian painting.

In her third Liz Carlyle novel Rimington has firmly settled into her new career, and provides an authentic background and page turning read with a new maturity of plot and character development.

As usual this is the more laid back whodunit style of spy fiction, and highly recommended if you enjoy that approach.
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on 7 November 2009
The first time round I borrowed all five novels from the library. After reading they immediately went to the top of my "must have" list, so I bought the whole set plus the autobiography. Written with authority, credibility and humour they really do fit into the category of unputdownable! I can't wait for the next one.
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on 27 February 2013
I was motivated to read this novel by the personal history of the author. I found it a pacy, entertaining story with genuine grip and enough surprise in the denouement to make a satisfying conclusion. The characters and plot were believable. The depth and complexity of the novel are not up to Le Carre standards but then neither is the book a demanding read, ideal for the beach or a train journey. I will certainly look out for others in the series.

I was a bit concerned to read in another review that the author has used ghost writers as I would like to think that it is genuinely the named author's work. Advice and help are fair enough but I do hope that the main work was Mrs Rimington's own.
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on 18 March 2012
I am working my way through the author's books in order so this is the third I have read. I really enjoyed the first two but this is not in the same league. The main problem for me is there are too many characters so the plot is difficult to understand especially if you put the book down for a couple of days. Ms Rimington does not have the knack of being able to remind you of the plot as you go along. Robert B Parker was a master of this. I didnt find the ending too bad because it is quite thorough but it is a bit simplistic. I hope her next books are better than this as I do like her writing style.
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on 2 February 2014
I purchased this book in a hurry before a long flight, it looked ok and I thought it might pass a few hours but didn't expect much more!
I was pleasantly surprised.
The novel was gripping and full of action, well written with a good flow and descriptions. I was hooked into the storyline and I continued reading it throughout my holiday and was rather sad to come to the end, with nothing left to read on the flight home!
I've since added 2 more Stella Rimington books to my kindle, which I'm keen to start reading.
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