Authors & Events
May 30, 2006
| ISBN 9781400079810
Jan 11, 2005
| ISBN 9781400044788
Jan 11, 2005
| 677 Minutes
Jan 11, 2005
| 302 Minutes
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May 30, 2006 | ISBN 9781400079810
Jan 11, 2005 | ISBN 9781400044788
Jan 11, 2005 | ISBN 9781415921951
Jan 11, 2005 | ISBN 9780739318423
A terrorist is targeting Britain. And to make matters worse it’s an “invisible”– Mi5-speak for 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 hard-won experience, to say nothing of her intelligence and courage. Drawing on her own years as Britain’s highest-ranking spy, Stella Rimington gives us a story that is smart, tautly drawn, and suspenseful from first to last.
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.
An announcement is made at a meeting of the British Intelligence Joint Counter-Terrorist group: “The opposition may be about to deploy an invisible.” An “invisible” is CIA-speak for the ultimate intelligence nightmare: a terrorist who is 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. Having analyzed information from her agents, she realizes that there is indeed an imminent terrorist threat. She may even have the invisible’s point of entry. But what she cannot draw out of all the “chatter” is the invisible’s identity and intended target. With each passing hour, the danger increases. As the desperate hunt continues, it becomes clear that Liz’s intuitive skills, her ability to get deep inside her enemy’s head, are her best hope for tracking down the terrorist. But will that be enough? And can she succeed in time to avert a disaster?Drawing from her experience as the first woman director general of MI5, Stella Rimington gives us a story that is smart, tautly drawn, and suspenseful from first to last. At Risk is a stunning debut novel that plunges us headlong into today’s shadowy and fever-pitched battle between terrorism and Intelligence.
Stella Rimington joined Britain’s Security Service (MI5) in 1969. During her nearly 30-year career she worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities—counter subversion, counter espionage and counterterrorism—and successively became Director of all three branches. Appointed Director General… More about Stella Rimington
“As engrossing and hard to resist as Fredrick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal.” —Orlando Sentinel“ExcitingÉ[Rimington] bids to join the ranks of such secret agent-authors as Graham Greene [and] John le Carr?. At Risk is an exciting debut novel.”—The Wall Street Journal“Entertaining. . . . Briskly told. . . . [Will] keep you turning the pages.” —The Washington Post Book World
Q) How long did you work for MI5 and what was your position there? For those in our American audience who may not be familiar with the UK organization, please give a brief explanation of how it is, or is not, similar to the FBI here in the States.A) I worked for MI5 for 27 years, joining in 1969 as a Junior Assistant Officer (a special rank for women, who were only allowed to be assistants in those days) and leaving in 1996 as Director General (the boss). During my career I worked mainly in counter-espionage and counter-terrorism, becoming successively Director of each of those areas. For part of the time I ran human sources (or ‘agents’ as we call them in UK–not the same as Agents in FBIspeak), which is Liz Carlyle’s job in the book. There is no exact equivalent to MI5 in the US. There has been some discussion, as a part of the investigations of the 9/11 Commission, for example, as to whether such an agency should be created. But it has been decided not to, as I understand it. The nearest equivalent is what used to be called the Foreign Counter Intelligence part of the FBI, but it is different. MI5 is a civilian intelligence service with no powers of arrest or any other police powers,but a lot of investigative powers. For example, they have the power to interceptcommunications, follow people around, and search houses and cars. Its job is to help toprotect the country against serious threats to our national security by generating intelligence, assessing it and taking action on it to prevent the harm intended. It works very closely with the police, particularly Special Branches (which exist in large part to provide MI5 with the police back-up it needs), the Metropolitan Police, which covers London, and the other much smaller police forces which cover the different parts of the country. It also works very closely with MI6, which is our foreign intelligence service and much more like the CIA.Q) Is there rivalry between MI5 and MI6, similar to the tensions that arise in the novel? (for instance, a lack of communication that may be similar to the FBI and the CIA).A) The tensions between Liz and Bruno in the novel are a rather tongue-in-cheek representation of the image everyone has of MI5 and 6 always arguing. In fact, this is nottrue. On the whole they work extremely closely together (as the characters Charles Wetherby and Geoffrey Fane do). But they are very different kinds of organizations, employing different sorts of people and with a different culture and a different job to do. So, from time to time individuals rub each other up the wrong way–as Liz and Bruno do. There has not been the same criticism in UK about lack of communication between agencies as there has been in the US. MI5 and 6 have worked much more closely together for years than the FBI and the CIA, partly because the laws in this country make it easier and partly because we have a long experience here of dealing with terrorism.Q) What provisions did the UK invoke after the terrorist attacks on September 11th here in the United States? For instance, in the novel you mention the Prevention of Terrorism Act–how was this amended?A) The Prevention of Terrorism Act has been in existence for many years and dates back to the time we were dealing with terrorism from Northern Ireland (1970s, 80s and early 90s), though it has been amended from time to time and new powers added. The main changes to the law since 9/11 have been changes in the powers to detain foreign citizens against whom there is terrorist related information and who cannot, for various reasons, be extradited.Q) In At Risk we get a rare inside view of terrorists’ planning, thoughts and feelings in the days leading up to their attack. On what basis did you characterize them–where they came from, where their anger came from, what they’re capable of?A) With regards to the terrorists in the novel and the way they think and plan, that comesfrom my own experience of what motivates the sort of terrorists I have worked againstduring my career. But it is a novel and not to be taken as a blueprint for what happens in real life.Q) How much of the spy tactics in your novel are based on real methods, i.e., encrypted emails and numbered usernames?A) The tradecraft of Liz and her colleagues is fairly accurate. For example, liaison with the police, the use of agent runners and investigators, care over the use of mobile phones, and encyphered communications on laptops.Q) Frustration seems to go hand in hand with the job, as Liz fights it frequently. How much of the job is based on luck, or public sightings, and how much is based on actual “spook work”?A) Inevitably there is a lot of frustration in intelligence work. You never know the wholepicture, and for a lot of the time you are partly in the dark, waiting for the results ofinvestigations, new information to come in, or some lucky breakthrough. Success comesfrom a combination of good solid investigation work, well-placed human sources,information from the public, and good luck, all coordinated and put together by intelligent assessment and analysis. At the end of the day that’s what intelligence work is.
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