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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 August 2012
MI5 Intelligence Officer Liz Carlyle is called to Geneva when a Russian intelligence agent approaches MI5 and demanding to speak to her. He has news about the infiltration of a top secret US/UK defence project. As Liz and her team hunt for the mole hidden somewhere within the Ministry of Defence, the Swiss authorities are conducting parallel enquiries into another Russian intelligence officer based in Geneva. At the same time, Liz is trying to assist her mother's partner with a family problem associated with an anarchist group in Southern France. There are some connections between these storylines, although the connections are not as straightforward as it will initially appear.

What I always like about Stella Rimington's books are the way that they ooze authenticity. Even little throwaway lines like describing the MI6 headquarters as "a mixture of understated gloom and grandiose pomp." When she describes surveillance operations or the way that agencies exchange information, you know that it's grounded in the reality of how these things are actually done. While there is action and violence in her stories, it doesn't stretch beyond the limits of all credibility.

Rimington's weakness as an author has always been character development. She has a knack for writing extremely wooden conversations, but this story is very much investigation based so it's less of an issue than it is in some of her other books. The relationship between Liz and her French counterpart is still very much on, but it's a relationship that's entirely devoid of any spark. We are told of their feelings for one another without ever feeling them.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed the story. It's not a "can't put down" thriller, but it develops at a good pace and keeps some connections withheld until the very end.
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on 24 July 2012
In former MI5 director-general Dame Stella Rimington's seventh Liz Carlyle novel, the counter-espionage officer is called to Geneva when a Russian agent insists on talking only to her. It continues the style of the previous books, focussing heavily on depicting the realism of life in the security service while presenting a compelling tale.

The characterisation moves up a notch in this novel, with a significant sub-plot around elements of Liz's private life, and more of her backstory is revealed. The other characters are used more than in earlier books, with several of them getting significant portions of the narrative.

The plot is compelling and moves at a good pace - the realistic nature of the storyline may put some readers off as it's certainly not 'action packed', but I enjoy the insight into the actual workings of the security services that Rimington's real-life experience brings.

I found this to be one of the best in the series, with a good strong plot and compelling characters. I look forward to more adventures and finding out how the characters' lives will change.
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on 24 December 2013
Well, it was a book and I read it. It wasn't bad but it wasn't good either. It was a lazy book. We were given sketches of the characters rather than portraits and there were no layers or convolutions to the plot which just plodded on in a pretty straight line. Something could have been made of the two cities, Geneva and London but we got no sense of place whatsoever. The book felt like the first draft of a book which was going to be developed into something rather interesting and I was left with a feeling of disappointment.
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on 10 September 2012
The first Stella Rimington book I've read, and probably not the last. A little silly towards the end, but in keeping with most spy jaunts. I was guided by the other customer reviews, which at the time, were positive. Other books in the series have not faired so well, so I shall choose my next installment with care. A good holiday read which temporarily allows you to feel like a spy, but no big surprises at the end.
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The 7th Liz Carlyle novel by Stella Rimington is a web of intrigue and espionage. It starts in Geneva, 2012. Russell White and Terry Castle are tennis partners who work in the Foreign Office. In the locker room, a man tells White he wants to speak to a woman, and only her, who, after contacting MI6 in London, turns out to be Liz Carlyle who is with MI5. The man is identified as Alexander Sorsky, a Russian Intelligence Agent. He remembered Liz from 20 years earlier when she attended a lecture by him on political theory.

She is dispatched to Geneva to meet Sorsky. He has information concerning a US-GB 'Project Clarity' developing an advanced military communication system using encrypted codes to control pilotless drones via a satellite system. Someone has infiltrated the programme passing information to a third country with the intent of sabotaging the system using counter decrypting codes. This may lead to another Cold or worse, a Cyber-War. He insists this person is not Russian and that he (Sorsky) is a patriot, not a traitor. This information is eventually taken seriously in Geneva, London and America and triggers a traipse through any evidence or leads that can be collected from the cooperating relevant Intelligence services, including the sites of the project's headquarters.

The hunt for the mole becomes tortuous, with involvement of goings-on in Marseilles, large amounts of money passing through Swiss and Soviet State banks and additional subversive characters involved with espionage. Rimington draws the characters into the narrative clearly into what is a complex international plot, keeping the reader enlightened throughout. A sub-plot occurs simultaneously. Liz's mother, Susan, has befriended Ed Treglown. His daughter, Cathy, has a 7 year old boy, Teddy. She has become involved with an anarchist cult in Marseilles who are becoming more violent in their intentions and are intent on forcing money out of her under threat of harm to her son. Liz's manfriend in Paris, Martin Seurat, an Intelligence Agent, sets about trying to curtail these activities planting informants into their midst. The outcomes of these adventures gradually and logically unravel with investigative team work.

The novel may be short on action but is compensated by an insight into the murky, secretive, enigmatic workings of agents and counter-agents and the invidious or rewarding demands required in their profession. Stella Rimington has again produced an easy and appealing read that is enjoyable.
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on 6 August 2012
I can only agree with what has been written above.

This is the best Liz Carlyle novel for a long time,in the trail of "At Risk" and "Illegal Action".
Gone are the stupid moves by otherwise smart and professional characters,in order to support some plot line. The story here is solid, the characters consistant with themselves and the story rather plausible.

Except for a few anecdoctical mistakes (The French police never used Hondas, so Seurat's police outriders could only ride BMWs or possibly Yamahas),the details are there, that only an insider to the security service could come up with.

Also, it is true that Liz doesn't seem to be aging as fast as the calendar. From some childhood memories she reminisces, it would appear she was born in 1970. So she should be pushing 42 by "The Geneva Trap". Yet she's described as barely a day older than 35 !! I agree with the aforementioned review that Liz should age and mature as the stories go. The character would gain in credibility.

It was difficult to put down the book, but I wanted to make it last a bit !

Great work Dame Stella,great work...
I look forward to the next story..
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on 8 November 2012
I had high hopes of this novel but was disappointed. The characters were uninvolving, there was very little tension (it is supposed to be a thriller) and the plot was unbelievable. The dialogue wasn't realistic - it was often as though the characters were explaining things to slow five-year-olds. I found it quite boring.
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on 30 August 2012
Not many spy writers have actually run an intelligence agency but Stella Rimmington has. The depth of her knowledge shines through on every page of this compelling thriller. Excellent.
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on 1 September 2014
The intrigue was very gripping although so many names was a little confusing. However this did not spoil the flow and interest in our Secret Service which the author clearly has a deep knowledge of. A fascinating book which I would recommend to anyone. Well done Stella.
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on 26 June 2014
Sella Rimington writes with an easy mastery of the genre. As a former Director General of the Security Service of the United Kingdom her writing shines with authenticity.

To the Author: Bravo, another Stella performance... Sorry couldn't resist.

Mike Day
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