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At Risk (Liz Carlyle #1)

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,286 ratings  ·  171 reviews
A tense, fast-moving debut thriller from the ex-head of MI5.

“Our concern – and we’ve communicated this over the weekend to all stations, is that the opposition may be about to deploy an invisible.”

An “invisible” is CIA-speak for the ultimate intelligence nightmare: the terrorist who, because he or she is an ethnic native of the target country, can cross its borders uncheck
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Audio, 0 pages
Published January 11th 2005 by Random House Audio (first published January 1st 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,405)
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Sara
If you enjoy spy intrigue stories you will love this book. The plot is captivating and of course extremely realistic considering the author's previous career with MI5. My only complaint was that I needed a "British-English / American-English" dictionary to help me with a lot of the lingo. Also, there are some assumptions made by the author with regards to British culture that not all her non-British readers will be familiar with.
An Odd1
"In any campaign, the first stronghold that you have to occupy is your enemy's consciousness" - Feliks Dzerzhinsky KGB founder p 424.

"They make a wilderness, and call it peace" - Tacitus, Roman Empire p 554.

Quotations show the breadth of heroine Liz (and author Stella's) education.

I may continue series, but I more admire than like: heroine Liz, her deceptive frightening world, traitors - novice Jean or jaded Mansoor. The Western good guys stumble always a footstep behind the Islamic terrorists,
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Mark Young
Stella Rimington really grabs the reader from the very beginning. Characters and plot are intertwined like strands of string in a cord, each heading toward a final event that has anti-terrorist agents worried. Along the way, we grown closer to intelligence officer Liz Caryle, who has spent a lifetime trying to prove herself in a very dangerous, male-oriented environment.

Liz and her counter-terrorist teammates must learn whether the opposition has finally been able to land an foreign agent on UK
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Ingo
Started October 11th, 2013.
Bought a cheap Daily Kindle-Deal, and that was the 7th in this series: The Geneva Trap . After some research I bought this (the first) to start with the series.
As of this date this is not available as a Kindle-eBook (in Germany, but I also looked elsewhere), I had to buy the EPUB and convert it with Calibre to Mobi, so I can read it on my Kindle Paperwhite (first edition).
While the idea to read a book by a former spook (UK Mi5-Member) sounds interesting, the last one
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Lauren Koffs
I took up this book because it was written by a woman who became the first female director of MI5. That's a pretty remarkable thing, even today. And unlike similar books I have read, the author creates in this novel a world that is decidedly real. One of the most thrilling aspects of this story is that it very well could happen at any time. It also honestly explores the darker side to government operations. The missions and accidents that people are not so proud of, that they don't want the pres ...more
Andrew
Jan 23, 2015 Andrew rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like spy thrillers with pace
This is Stella Rimington's first book, in which she introduces the character of Liz Carlyle who is employed by M15 as an agent-runner.

This book seems quite topical at the time I write this. It is based around what is called 'an invisible' by the security services.

Much of the story takes place in the rural parts of East Anglia. I like the way the novel is crafted. It is written from two view-points: Firstly through the eyes if Liz and her MI5 and M16 colleagues. Secondly through the eyes of ?? An
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Forthbridge
I was waiting to hear Dame Stella give a talk and I asked the lady next to me if this book was any good. The lady in question was the author.
I am glad I made the purchase as the material is very deftly handled. The structure reminded me of the Day of the Jackal with the bad guys winning the first few rounds. The main protagonists start off in Afghanistan and London and then gradually move closer until an explosive denouement.
Interesting to work out the bees in the Dame's bonnet. Men often get to
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Jeremy Lee
I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by this! I am not a huge fan of espionage books (I have read some over the years) but I must say I really enjoyed this one, the first in the Liz Carlyle series - I gather there are eight altogether now and I shall be starting the next one right away! Liz Carlyle is an agent-runner in MI5's Joint Counter-Terrorist Group, which is facing the ultimate intelligence nightmare; an "invisible," a terrorist who's an ethnic native of the target country and thus ab ...more
Amelia
This book was fantastic! The ending a bit unexpected and the plots within plots that unfolded were exceedingly tangled and interesting. Learning the names and functions of the various British government agencies and roles takes some attention to detail for the uninitiated but is well worth the effort.

The author is a former Director General in the British Security Service (MI5) who writes novels relating to that setting with particular attention to counter-subversion, counter-espionage and count
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Michael Martz
I really enjoyed At Risk, Stella Rimington's first novel in the Liz Carlyle series. Unfortunately, I'd begun reading Rimington with the 8th book in the series, didn't think it was very good but took a chance at checking out an earlier entry. I'm glad I did.

At Risk is a very good spy thriller with a plot that, sadly, seems all too real. I won't go into details, but suffice to say that it's a great story that could be taken from current headlines. Rimington has tons of credibility, writes well, an
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Julie
The adventures of Liz Carlyle, female MI5 officer, as conceived by former Director General of MI5, Stella Rimington? A no-brainer- this is utter, lose yourself in the adventure fun. Step aside, Jason Bourne, the lady has arrived!
Michael Domnin
Oct 11, 2014 Michael Domnin rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: read it
Recommended to Michael by: my own reading of GCHQ by Aldridge
I find the style engaging. I like the scenery description. It centres on one efent lead to its conclusion. I didn't like the killing scens, because I don't like killings! (Trust me to read a thriller!) The scenes are well researched and lead on to the next chapter. I think it's a good insight into terrorism and how people might become convinced to turn to extreme ideas. I didn't like the heroes because they were described as terrible with terrible thoughts. So I was glad to see the conclusion. A ...more
Susan
I’ve been on a spy kick lately, rereading books by old favorites John Le Carré and Charles McCarry and watching the British TV series, Sandbaggers, which, it turns out, has a sort of cult following among intelligence buffs—supposed to be pretty authentic. Most of those books I’ve been rereading as well as Sandbaggers focus on Cold War espionage. This novel focuses on contemporary terrorism and its author, Stella Rimington, is a past director of Britain’s MI5.

It’s like a police procedural, where
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Ed
This is the first of a so-far successful series featuring MI5 operative Liz Carlyle written by the agency's former general director.

One way to look at the protagonist--she is the opposite of Ian Fleming's Agent 007, James Bond. The most basic way, of course, is that Bond is male, Liz female. Bond is licensed to kill--although that license wouldn't work since it would only allow killing in the realm of the Queen, the area where Bond's agency is forbidden from operating. Bond is a spy, working in
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Shonna Froebel
This one had been on my list for a while, and I finally got around to it. Rimington used to head up Britain's MI5, so I was interested to see her take on the spy novel. Her main character is a woman, Liz Carlyle, who is an intelligence officer with MI5. Liz has been doing fairly well at her job, although it has necessitated making some sacrifices in her personal life. She knows that she is good at her job and she feels that this is where she should be, so making those sacrifices is part of the p ...more
Sharon
Liz Carlyle works for MI5, the agency of which Stella Rimington was the first female director general. Her experience is used well in this, her first novel.

An announcement is made at a meeting that Islamic terrorists may be about to deploy an 'invisible', an agent native to Britain and able to move and act without attracting suspicion. This is worrying, but Liz has agents to supervise and a new MI6 counterpart to deal with. Very quickly, however, Liz receives information that puts her in the cen
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katie
God, this is so bland. I kept trying to come up with analogies for it while I was reading it - which says it all, really, considering it's meant to be this FAST-PACED, SUPER EXCITING THRILLER - but it's so nothingy. I bought it because the MC spends the first five minutes angsting about never having quite managed to figure out the dress code thing for life at MI5, because that sounded very me, but it doesn't get past that. I mean, you'd imagine that's meant to be the Endearing Feature about her, ...more
Danny
I admit it. The primary reason why I purchased this book was because it is written by Stella Rimington, former Director General of MI5. I thought that it would be realistic, and interesting - well, I wasn't wrong! Admittedly, it is a little slow to start off with, but that's probably because I'm used to reading spy novels/thrillers that depend on big guns and explosions for excitement. This story does have those elements, but Rimington focuses more attention on the chase and the thought processe ...more
Wendy Greenberg
Steamed through this thriller. Interesting "stuff" revealed along the way which can only come from Stella Rimington's experience of M15 and MI6 workings together...The workings and methods of the intelligence services was as fascinating as the plot. Really pacey with a great strong female lead who doesn't seem overly "troubled"
Robert Dunn
This is a really good read. There are a few character flaws but generally not that important to the story line. The female terrorist is not that well developed; I would have liked to know about her and her change of heart is a bit too convenient. Not a bad first book in a series. I will read the others.
Owen Serviss
This was a book I wasn't particularly interested in that was recommended to me even though it is definitely not the genre I regularly read. It was good, I will give it that, but the plot was all over the map and it left several questions unanswered. Plus, the first third was incredibly boring, the second action packed, and the third was like a desert that you have heard is amazing, so you go to a restaurant and order it, only to find that it is a third the size of your fist. As I call it: a is a ...more
Brian
The first novel from former MI5 boss, Stella Rimington, is, as one might expect, a thriller about a terrorist bomb-plot. Tightly plotted with a complex jigsaw puzzle of intersecting events and characters, it is packed with cliff-hangers.

Liz Carlyle, a female MI5 operative struggles to track down the security service's worst nightmare an 'invisible' - a home-grown terrorist with no obvious cultural or political allegiances - who is bent on carrying out a high-profile strike against an unknown ta
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Pamela Freeman
I have rated all the Liz Carlyle books as 3 stars. None of them were stand-outs for me, none of them made me wish I could write as well as Rimington.

On the other hand, I read through the entire series in a couple of weeks, so they have a good escapist read to offer.

Perfect holiday reading.
Carol
This is the best new mystery I've read in months. Like "John LeCarre," Stella Rimington is a veteran of the British Secret Service writing from about spies & their bureaucratic context from the inside. Here her agent Liz Carlyle has to juggle her intense suspicion that something big is on its way through the terrorist pipeline with skeptical &/or lazy colleagues & an ill-advised romance. Of course no one can write like LeCarre--mercifully, or we'd all be slitting our wrists--but At R ...more
Pat
Quick and interesting.
Good story of British woman and Arab man who plan to destroy a family as his family was killed by U.S. bombing at a wedding.
How Liz figures out what is going on and who the target is.
Judi Mckay
Can't believe I haven't read her before. A crime book group read. For me the best bit was the inside view of the machinations of central government, but it was a good story about the terrorist threat too.
Glenys
I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller because of the realistic, interesting story, full of tension, and the feminist take on the life of an MI5 intelligence officer. Convincing and intelligent.
Malia
I know it's taboo to say this, but I don't plan to finish this one. I'll give it two stars because I found the tracking and investigation of terrorist activity--the MI5 and MI6 stuff--pretty interesting. But the rest of it is just boring. I prefer that my protagonist have a few flaws, but Liz Carlyle clearly does not. And am I supposed to be impressed by the gender-role reversal, where the career-driven woman uses men and throws them away like snotty kleenex? I'm not a fan of Liz, in spite of th ...more
LJ
AT RISK (Espionage-England-Cont) – VG
Rimington, Stella – 1st novel
Knopf, 2004- Hardcover
Intelligence officer gets word from one of her agents that there may be an imminent terrorist threat within England. Now it's her job to find the terrorists, identify their target, and prevent them from succeeding in their mission.
*** Since the end of the cold war, I'd not found a good contemporary spy novel. This ends the drought. Ms. Rimington was director general of MI5 so she knows whereof she speaks. But
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Patricia
3 1/2* I liked this. Good twists, decent if not brilliant character development. Why no one else in the book group could bear it, I'm not sure. I'll give another a go.
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Dame Stella Whitehouse Rimington joined the Security Service (MI5) in 1968. During her career she worked in all the main fields of the Service: counter-subversion, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism. She was appointed Director General in 1992, the first woman to hold the post. She has written her autobiography and five Liz Carlyle novels. She lives in London and Norfolk.

Watch a video of Stel
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More about Stella Rimington...

Other Books in the Series

Liz Carlyle (8 books)
  • Secret Asset (Liz Carlyle, #2)
  • Illegal Action (Liz Carlyle, #3)
  • Dead Line (Liz Carlyle, #4)
  • Present Danger (Liz Carlyle, #5)
  • Rip Tide (Liz Carlyle, #6)
  • The Geneva Trap (Liz Carlyle, #7)
  • Close Call (Liz Carlyle, #8)
Secret Asset (Liz Carlyle, #2) The Geneva Trap (Liz Carlyle, #7) Illegal Action (Liz Carlyle, #3) Rip Tide (Liz Carlyle, #6) Dead Line (Liz Carlyle, #4)

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