BookBrowse Reviews At Risk by Stella Rimington

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At Risk

by Stella Rimington

At Risk by Stella Rimington X
At Risk by Stella Rimington
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2005, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    May 2006, 448 pages

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Debut Thriller, by the former Director General of Britain's MI5

From the book jacket: A smart, tautly drawn, and suspenseful thriller from first to last. It's believed that an "invisible" has entered the UK - an invisible being a terrorist who's an ethnic native of the target country and who can therefore cross its borders unchecked, move around the country unquestioned, and go unnoticed while setting up the foundation for monstrous harm.

Intelligence officer Liz Carlyle has had to prove herself in countless ways as she's come up through the ranks of the traditionally all-male world of Britain's Security Service, MI5. But this announcement marks the start of an operation that will test all her hard-won knowledge and experience – and her intelligence and courage – as nothing has before. Can she track down the terrorist in time to avert a disaster?

Comment: The book jacket blurb (abbreviated above) sounds like fairly standard spy thriller material - and perhaps it is. The edge in this case is that At Risk is written by Stella Rimington who happens to be the former Director General of Britain's MI5, and the first woman to hold the position (she joined MI5 in 1969 and worked her way up, becoming the first female DG in 1992).

Obviously her credentials are highly credible (and doesn't she have a wonderful name for a spy?  Like a female version of Remington Steele!) - but the question is, can she write? This is what the reviewers say.... "Despite a few dropped story lines, the author pulls off an exciting thriller with nods to Ken Follett's style and Evelyn Anthony's heroines. Women authors and protagonists are rare in the British intelligence genre, and this debut has series potential." --- Library Journal.

"Their day-of-the-jackal search for Faraj and Lucy, played out against the violent and resourceful countermeasures of their targets, doesn't exactly break new ground in the genre. Yet once she sets up her irresistible situation, Rimington controls the game of hunters and hunted like--well, like a master of real-life spycraft. New wine, expertly crafted, in old bottles." -- Kirkus Reviews.

Personally, I found At Risk to be a perfectly enjoyable thriller but without the edge of a true master such as Le Carré - still, considering her background and that this is her first foray into fiction, she is definitely one to watch.

This review is from the June 1, 2006 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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