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Publisher's Summary

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 unchecked, move around that country unquestioned, and infiltrate its institutions with ease. An invisible on mainland Britain was the worst possible news.

For Liz Carlyle, an MI5 Intelligence Officer, this report from MI6 marks the start of an operation that will test her to the limit and put her own life in jeopardy. As she sifts the incoming evidence and gets reports from her agents, she realizes the terrorist threat is imminent. But who or what is the target? And who or where is the invisible? Time is of the essence in this desperate search, and it becomes clear that it is Liz’s intuitive skills - her ability to get inside her enemy’s head - that offer the only hope of averting disaster.

In this terrifying and tautly drawn debut thriller, Stella Rimington takes us to the heart of the intelligence world. It is a place she is uniquely qualified to describe.

©2004 Stella Rimington (P)2005 Books on Tape, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Rimington speaks smartly about workplace issues while ratcheting the tension high in her authoritative debut thriller....It doesn't get more exciting than this." (Publishers Weekly)

Praise for Stella Rimington’s autobiography Open Secret: “The story of MI5’s transformation is fascinating. So too is Rimington’s account of her rise in what was very definitely a man’s world.” (Guardian)

What listeners say about At Risk

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  • Overall
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Gripping - Excellent Narration

Rimington's experience as top "spook" makes this a gripping, if a bit disjointed story. It's a bit slow to get going but gathers pace to a thrilling and unexpected conclusion.
My greatest disappointment was to find that Jennifer McMahon does not narrate Stella's other works - in fact she is listed as narrator for only two other books. McMahon's narration is delightful and her characterisation excellent - quite the best I've heard. Please Audible, give us more Jennifer McMahon!

2 people found this helpful

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Plots within plots, exciting and suspenseful

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 counter-terrorism.

This book is the first in a series that follows the career of Liz Carlyle, a fictional (of course) employee of MI5. The book is exciting, interesting, adventurous, funny, a bit scary, detailed, and suspenseful, with an interesting mixture of subtle and not so subtle characters. The narrator, Jennifer McMahon, reads beautifully, using a convincing range of accents.

If you like thrillers, suspense, or crime novels, or any of that sort of thing, read this book. Or, get the audiobook from audible.com. It has an excellent narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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Rimington is the BEST!

Only three of the six (soon to be seven) Rimington thrillers are on audible. I can't wait til they are all recorded. Rimington, former director general of MI-5--Britain's CIA--writes realistic and modern spy thrillers that are the best I've ever read.

1 person found this helpful

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a well written British spy story.

An enjoyable story, a little slow paced, (something I enjoy). there are some extraneous plot lines which could have been either left out or further developed. No annoying gratuitous sex or violence. I'll try more titles by this author.

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A feminist thriller

I really liked this book, written by the first female head of MI5. Fast moving plot and compelling characters, even the minor ones. The two principal antagonists are both women, smart and dedicated, and both patronized, underestimated and ultimately lied to and betrayed by male colleagues.
The only sour note comes from the narrator (or the producer): the text says that the well-educated Mansour spoke with a cut-glass BBC accent, but the narrator gives him an obscure middle-eastern fake accent, which I found annoying.
I nevertheless definitely look forward to more by this author.

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I binged it

If you like JK Rowling's detective novels like the Cuckoo's Calling, you will like this book. I liked it so much, I binged it. All 11 hours. I had never done that before but what else is one to do during the Coronavirus self-isolation? Although Liz Carlyle is not a Cormorant Stryker, her spunk and intelligence shown through. One interesting aspect of binging is that the introduction of new characters late in the plot seems seamless and I could see how this fits into the plot structure. Great narrator

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Excellent - very enjoyable

Especially well read. Felt very realistic. As though this is how an actual investigation of this kind would play out.

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Great listen.

I Couldn't stop listening. Great listen. First in a series lots of twists. Moving on to book 2

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Taut intelligent espionage

Intense storytelling, smartly paced, unexpected turns, wonderfully performed. Relatable characters who find themselves in the mist of today’s headlines. I am now a fan of this series! Recommend!!

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Rimington......

a little hard to understand at times and follow . I'll try another of her stories.