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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not Great
Stella Rimington joined the Security Service (MI5) in 1965 and during her career she worked in all the main fields of the Service's responsibilities - counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism - and became successively Director of all three branches. She was appointed Director-General of MI5 in 1992. She was the first woman to hold the post and the first...
Published on 9 Oct. 2007 by J. Chippindale

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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spymistress doesn't quite Hit the Mark
At the very least it would be impossible to fault the authenticity of this novel. Rimington's former life as the head of MI5 gives this the pedigree of someone who clearly knows what she's talking about.

The day to day details of the UK's Security Services are deftly written: all the interview and investigative procedures ring true and Rimington also has a good...
Published on 19 Nov. 2006 by Mr. S. J. Bonsor


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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Not Great, 9 Oct. 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Stella Rimington joined the Security Service (MI5) in 1965 and during her career she worked in all the main fields of the Service's responsibilities - counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism - and became successively Director of all three branches. She was appointed Director-General of MI5 in 1992. She was the first woman to hold the post and the first Director-General whose name was publicly announced on appointment. Following her retirement from MI5 in 1996 she became a non-executive director of Marks and Spencer and published her autobiography.

With a background like that you would think the author would find writing a book full of authentic facts a stroll in the park and I am sure her ability to do so cannot be questioned. The characters in the book are well thought out, even those on the peripherals of the plot and the story is fast paced and well linked together, but on a personal note I just found it lacking something. However it would be wrong of me to criticise a book that another reader may well find a terrific read. I did enjoy the book, but not as much as I thought I would.

The plot itself revolves around a terrorist cell and the fact that intelligence suggests that there is a mole at work inside British Intelligence. Liz Carlyle is an MI5 agent and while her colleagues are scrambling to avert a terrorist strike, Liz must find out who the mole is, and what their intentions are before it is too late.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The former DG's new best seller, 5 Aug. 2006
This review is from: Secret Asset (Hardcover)
Reads just like an episode of Spooks, but a hundred times better.

The story isn't as fast paced as "At Risk", but it dosen't lack any of the realism.

With real locations and twist and turns on every page this sure to become a No1 best seller.

Richard & Judy need to review this book.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant page turner/ beach novel, 29 Aug. 2006
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Secret Asset (Hardcover)
If you like spy thrillers you will almost certainaly love this book. As well as trying to stop a terrorist attack, Liz Carlyle must find an IRA mole (who infiltrated MI5, but was never activated.)

The characters are great and the story cracks along at a terrific pace. There are the usual twists and turns, and although I did guess who the mole was about half way through, there was always the chance that I was wrong (!) and it did nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Rimington also adds in some nice touches. Even characters who are only bit part players are well drawn and we find out small details about their lives and why they were in that place at that time.

If this is the kind of thing you usually enjoy then buy it! Safe houses, surveillance techniques, the inner workings of the terrorist mind, IRA informers.....this book has it all.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect beach novel, 7 April 2007
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
If you like spy thrillers you will almost certainaly love this book. As well as trying to stop a terrorist attack, Liz Carlyle must find an IRA mole (who infiltrated MI5, but was never activated.)

The characters are great and the story cracks along at a terrific pace. There are the usual twists and turns, and although I did guess who the mole was about half way through, there was always the chance that I was wrong (!) and it did nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Rimington also adds in some nice touches. Even characters who are only bit part players are well drawn and we find out small details about their lives and why they were in that place at that time.

If this is the kind of thing you usually enjoy then buy it! Safe houses, surveillance techniques, the inner workings of the terrorist mind, IRA informers.....this book has it all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivetting Rimington, 12 Jan. 2010
By 
Michael Reeves "purse strings" (Cardiff Wales UK) - See all my reviews
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What a superb writer Stella Rimington is! Undoubtedly her stay with MI5 has helped her enormously but that said, what a rivetting read! Every page challenges you to put the book down - action from start to finish, well worth the value!
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spymistress doesn't quite Hit the Mark, 19 Nov. 2006
By 
Mr. S. J. Bonsor "bonsor2" (Horley, Surrey UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Secret Asset (Hardcover)
At the very least it would be impossible to fault the authenticity of this novel. Rimington's former life as the head of MI5 gives this the pedigree of someone who clearly knows what she's talking about.

The day to day details of the UK's Security Services are deftly written: all the interview and investigative procedures ring true and Rimington also has a good eye for character and motivation.

The plot twist is quite novel but the denouement leaves a lot to be desired- it's as if a kind of real-life reticence kicks in: what is reqired is the unbuttoned fantasy of a hollywood plot to create the kind of climax most readers have come to expect. No doubt the author knows what is real and is unwilling to suspend disbelief.

I enjoyed this book, and would not discourage the interested reader from giving it a go. My advice to Ms Rimington on writing the next one would be: keep the authentic detail, stick with your characterisations, but don't be afraid to spice up the action.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Underpowered, 12 Nov. 2006
By 
Claretta (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Secret Asset (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this, and it's certainly very readable, but unlike other Amazon reviewers I found it rather underpowered. The ending was definitely a let-down - I had the feeling Stella Rimington was struggling to bring the book to a conclusion, and I didn't find the character of Liz as compelling as in the previous book. Wetherby, her boss, is an interesting character, and I hope we'll see more of him and find out more about him.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Smart Liz Wins Again, 9 Mar. 2015
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An intriguing tale, not least because of detailed accounts of how those charged with protecting our security go about their duties. Fact or fiction? It all rang true for this reader who in another life an age ago was required to sign the official Secrets Act. Further plus marks include a passable account of derring-do and the smart alertness of Liz (NOT ELIZABETH} Carlyle. Books 3, 4 and 5 dominate my list and when having devoured them I shall, despite my age, be a suitable recruit for Thames House, always assuming I can avoid Bruno Mackay, Geoffrey Fane and Michael Binding.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite a decent thriller, 18 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Secret Asset: (Liz Carlyle 2) (Kindle Edition)
This is quite a decent novel written by somebody who was in the trade, so to speak, and clearly knows the world she is describing. The plot is believable, though the ending seemed like a bit of a let-down, and the writing very competent. Personally, I found it a little slow to get going, and felt that it needed spicing up a bit. I know it doesn't directly affect the story, but I also found some of the bizarre names, like 'Peggy Kinsolving', irritating.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read with some minor irritations, 8 Jun. 2009
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This is the second of Stella Rimington books I have read, and on the whole I have enjoyed them both. The heroine is Liz Carlyle, who works for MI5 and has to foil various terrorist plots - in this case a supposed Islamic act of terrorism and also she tackles the flushing out of an internal mole.

I love the insider view of MI5 procedures ; I assume these are fairly realistic - either way they appeal to my curiosity. Its quite a page turner - I look forward to coming back to the book when I can.

The things that irritate are firstly the sometimes pedestrian language - it occasionally appears quite amateurish, though this happens infrequently enough not to spoil the story. What I hate most is that Liz Carlyle is portrayed as being completely omniscient. Every hunch she has, every deduction she makes, any inferences she makes from questioning people - they're always right! This feeling that MI5 could function effectively with only one member of staff - superwoman Liz - spoils it for me. She's the one who could tell you what the train driver had for lunch just knowing his shoe size. Shame - because otherwise a good read.
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Secret Asset: (Liz Carlyle 2)
Secret Asset: (Liz Carlyle 2) by Stella Rimington
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