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on 18 December 2014
Stella Rimington's 'Liz Carlyle' books are curiously addictive. They have bursts of brutal action, but at heart they are 'spy procedurals' and what lifts them well above the normal run of these things is that although they are no more than competently stylish, they feel authentic. The internal dynamics of a large organisation bringing together people of diverse backgrounds and ambitions, but demanding loyalty to an idea of service, is well expressed, and the fumbling for the truth, full of missed chances and dogged successes, feels real. As well it might do; Rimington ran MI5 and if anybody should know about those details, she should.
And the whole thing works. She knows enough to make it interesting. There's no attempt to make it smart or knowing- she tells it straight, or at least she appears to. And she captivated me on that level.
Her characters are a bit caricatural, the Brits as elegant , very clever would-be fops, the Americans as Budweiser drinking would-be National League rednecks (but again, clever thinkers) and the back room techies with shifts and overtime to worry about, they are all there. And Liz Carlyle herself, feeling much like an idealised self-invention but none the worse for it.
I find the whole thing very enjoyable. Precisely because it's as far from James Bond as you can get.
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on 21 November 2016
Another goodie from Stella Rimington. A very British spy story teller but with a feeling of authenticity as you would expect from her background. The action is similar to other spy plots, but it is the bits in between the set piece action climaxes which set her apart, heightening tension but giving a sense of the flatness that would be felt between high pressure life or death and doing the weekly shop.
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VINE VOICEon 26 April 2014
I like historical fiction, but I also like well written contemporary fiction. This is well written and fast paced. Using her skills and experience form first hand dealings in the hidden world of MI5/6 etc - Ms Rimington has written another great story, right up to date. It also reminds us that there are still people out there who are more than willing to upset the status quo for their own marginalised wants.

Along with ll the other Liz Carlyle books, this also has a good running story of her personal life, and her interactions and friendships with colleagues and family. Not soap opera-ish, just well written and wanting you to turn the page to find out more.

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on 19 August 2014
MI5 officer Liz Carlyle is transferred to Belfast which, in the era of power sharing, should be a relatively uneventful posting. However, dissident terrorist groups threaten to disrupt the peace and Liz is soon involved in uncovering a deadly plot.

You'd expect an ex-head of MI5 to know her stuff in this field and Rimington's description of spycraft is impeccable. The book feels a little slow at the start though as it fills in a lot of backstory. The pace picks up in the middle but the ending seems a little too easily resolved. There's also a romantic interest that seemed rather tacked on.

This is the first time I've read one of Stella Rimington's novels and it's a decent enough thriller but lacks the sparkle needed to make it stand out.
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on 19 September 2010
Stella Rimington is becoming an increasingly polished,confident writer.
I have read all her books featuring Liz Carlyle and they just get better and better. This one is more fast paced. The descriptions of the work carried out by the security services is just so convincing. There is not so much about Liz's thoughts as in previous books. That does not detract from the plot, which cracks along at a faster pace, with a satisfactory conclusion. I hope we hear more about the Frenchmen , Millraud and Seurat in future, as they are intriguing.
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on 4 October 2017
another good read from Stella Rimington
you don't need to have read any of the previous Liz Carlyle books to enjoy this one
easy to read, very enjoyable
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on 15 July 2012
The author used to run MI5 so should know a bit about her subject. Perhaps a life spent reading official documents is a disadvantage to the novelist however; her prose style is a bit clunky, a bit ponderous. The detail is good but the storyline is stilted. She needs to relax into the novelist thing a bit more.

Jack Whittaker is a database administrator specialising in SQL Server technologies and author of the DBAtasks Blog - [...].
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on 5 September 2014
I found this a real disappointment. Stella Rimington undoubtedly knows a lot of operational detail, which gives a feeling of realism during some passages, but her dialogue is completely dire and her characters are barely two dimensional. You don't really care what happens to the heroes and, as for the villains, you can almost hear the pantomime cackle, whilst knowing that our Liz will win out again. Compare this with the careful plotting and outstanding characterisation of Gerald Seymour and you can see why the Security Service was her first choice of career, rather than writing.
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on 8 March 2017
Very well plotted as always by Stella Rimington I do enjoy her books immensely 4ah takes one on a real exciting journey . Very satisfying at the end.
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on 16 January 2018
I think I've read all the books in this series and have found them easy to read and well worked
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