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At Risk

(Liz Carlyle #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,203 ratings  ·  356 reviews
A terrorist is targeting Britain. And to make matters worse it’s an “invisible”--someone traveling under a British passport. Virtually impossible to find before it’s too late.The job falls to Liz Carlyle, the most resourceful counter terror agent in British intelligence. Tracking down this invisible is a challenge like none she has faced before. It will require all her har ...more
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published January 11th 2005 by Knopf Publishing Group (first published July 1st 2004)
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Jeanette Grant-Thomson No. they're stand alone novels but it is better reading them in order. I do feel though they are much less good as she goes along. The first is my fav…moreNo. they're stand alone novels but it is better reading them in order. I do feel though they are much less good as she goes along. The first is my favourite.(less)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Mal Warwick
Nov 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ex-spooks with a modicum of writing ability sometimes turn to writing spy thrillers once they’ve left the world of espionage. Rarely, though, do we see fictional treatments of the game come from anyone who retired at the very top of the game. Dame Stella Rimington is one of what must be only a handful of examples. She retired in 1996 as Director General of MI5, Britain’s counter-intelligence service, the only woman ever to have served in the post. Her first novel, At Risk, appeared in 2004, intr ...more
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
An Odd1
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fan, mystery
"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,
Mark Young
Feb 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
With excellent writing, perfect plotting and several twists, this has a feeling of authenticity - as it should, given the author's background. The only complaints I have about this are minor: there are a few threads of story which don't seem to go anywhere (I wonder if they come to something later in the series?) and the pacing is sometimes a little bit spotty (which I can forgive, this being a debut novel). A solid 4* from me; I'm looking forward to picking up the second in the series. ...more
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Stan Usher
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like reading books, that are written by authors who have a knowledge of the subject matter, and this book has it in spades. Stella Rimington was the first female boss of MI5, and this first book in this series (I will be getting more!), is as relevant today as it was 13 years ago when it was written.

Julie Christine
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!
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pacy espionage thriller, packed with lots of information about the nuts and bolts of investigative work - just as you would expect from a novel written by the former head of MI5. Liz Carlyle is assigned to a counter terrorist operation that involves an 'invisible' - a native of the target country who is hard to identify and locate. She has to analyse the intelligence reports and use all her skill and intuition to fill in the gaps in a seemingly impossible task, before a deadly attack takes place ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a pleasure to read this first novel in Stella Rimington's Liz Carlyle series. As the ex-Director of MI5, the writer certainly brings her considerable knowledge to bear on her subject of counter-terrorism. The writing is crisp, the plot well developed and the characters convincing. I've read a number of spy thrillers over the years, especially those set in the Soviet era. With terrorism now the major security threat to western countries, this series is timely. I've been meaning to read the ...more
Charlie  Ravioli
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first book by Rimington but NOT my last!

I liked it. Good pace, well written, believable suspense. It's a mix between Ludlum and le Carre but without being too shadowy or high brow. I honestly can't remember if (or the last time) I read a spy/espionage/thriller like this where the protagonist was female. I thought Liz Carlyle was a great character.

I enjoyed it and as I say I'll definitely read another one with hopeful expectations.
Tory Wagner
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, twbc, suspense
At Risk by Stella Remington draws from Remington's experience as the first female director general of M15. I usually associate M15 with the James Bond books and movies and I can imagine this book made into a James Bond type movie. The main character Liz Carlyle, an intelligence officer with M15, is engaging and there are numerous colorful scenes to engage the reader. ...more
Krissy Neddo
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this one under Thrillers on the library's ebook page. I think it's more of a police procedural than a spy thriller. I am binge watching the BBC's DCI Banks and this book reminded me a bit of that show. A bit slow to start. Will put #2 on my TBR list. ...more
Halina Connelly
May 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A slow burner.
Kara of BookishBytes
This one was a little on the slow side for me, but I liked it well enough to pick up the next book in the series.
Rob Shipman
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Keeps you reading

It’s great to read a contemporary spooks story with detailed authenticity. Unsurprisingly when you consider the calibre of the author.
Miles Fowler
Always an intriguing admission by an author: that another person helped with the writing. One never knows entirely and exactly what that means. For what it is worth, in the case of the 2005 novel “At Risk,” the nominal author, Stella Rimington, was helped by Luke Jennings, author of the popular “Killing Eve” series.

Often, despite such a disclaimer, the nominal author does take some part in the writing and the plotting. “At Risk” is about a case handled by counterintelligence officer Liz Carlyle
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up, holiday
So disappointed with this as I'd heard good things. I got to chapter 10, nothing happened and I didn't care about any of the characters. ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeremy Lee
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: espionage
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
Lauren Koffs
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Shonna Froebel
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Abhinandan Pande
The only reason this book could have been a bestseller was because the author being a Former Operative of MI5.

A Director General at that.

And the first woman Director General.

That's it.

No, I'll admit, I bought this book for exactly those reasons. I wanted to read some "inside stuff" , from the other side that up until now is always been used as more or less a seductress or defector, but never the Protagonist. Or at very few successful occasions. A genre dominated by men. But let me further clear
Jan 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 05, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gone
I picked this up because of her job as head of MI5. I think it is her first book and half way through I wanted to grip her and send her on a good creative writing course. Maybe that is what happened as the first half of the book is all about setting the scene and involved a lot of tedious detail about clothes and food and possibly even furniture - and is far too long. Then the story picks up with some real tension and pace and a lot of cleverness. I have friends in this part of Norfolk and so I ...more
Marty Fried
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, and rate it perhaps slightly less than 4 stars but more than 3. It was pretty interesting all the way, and the ending made sense. Unless I missed something, there was one character introduced early on, a young man working with Liz that she worried about, who never was brought up again, so I'm not sure why we were even introduced to him. Maybe I missed something, or maybe he'll pop up in a later book. I'll probably try another in the series, since this was only the first but ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had followed reviews of this book when it came out and knew I wanted to read it but I think I was busy studying for the bar exam that year!

It took a while to get into this book and to develop a feeling for the heroine but by the end I was completely engrossed and eager to read more in the series.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-ish
A solid page turner. Felt like a 'how to run an investigation' manual at times. Not that that isn't interesting in itself though. ...more
Wendy Henning
Ever so slightly implausible plot kept it from earning 4 stars. Solidly written and decently paced.
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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 nine Liz Carlyle novels. She lives in London and Norfolk.

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Other books in the series

Liz Carlyle (10 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)
  • Breaking Cover (Liz Carlyle #9)
  • The Moscow Sleepers (Liz Carlyle #10)

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“Greeting the security staff, Mackay led Liz through the atrium into a busy and attractive restaurant. The tablecloths were white linen, the silver and glassware shone, and the dark panorama of the Thames was framed by a curtained sweep of plate glass. Most of the tables were occupied. The muted buzz of conversation dipped for a moment as they entered. Leaving her coat at the desk, Liz followed Mackay to a table overlooking the river. “This is all very nice and unexpected,” she said sincerely. “Thank you for inviting me.” “Thank you for accepting.” “I’m assuming a fair few of these people are your lot?” “One or two of them are, and when you walked across the room just then, you enhanced my standing by several hundred per cent. You will note that we’re being discreetly observed.” She smiled. “I do note it. You should send your colleagues downriver for one of our surveillance courses.” They examined the menus. Leaning forward confidentially, Mackay told Liz that he could predict what she was going to” 0 likes
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