Liz Carlyle, MI5 agent, is now working in the Counter-Espionage Branch. While it was once the hub of MI5 operations, Counter-Espionage has been reduced in size since the end of the Cold War - even though there are significantly more spies operating in London. Drawn in part by London's status as the base of the international financial community, Russian agents are particularly focussed on the Russian oligarchs intent on wielding their influence and spending their millions.
Liz learns of an apparent Russian government plot to `silence' one of the oligarchs who is becoming an increasing vocal opponent of the Putin regime. The Foreign Office is concerned about the negative consequences of any such incident and Liz is assigned to prevent the incident from occurring. First, though, she needs to learn who the target is. At the same time, it becomes apparent that there may be a Russian illegal in London: is there a connection to the government plot? In order to uncover the plot, Liz goes undercover as a member of the oligarch's retinue.
Ms Rimington is a former director of MI5, and this lends her novels a sense of credibility. This is the third novel to feature Liz Carlyle: a likeable but dedicated career officer who knows her tradecraft. I've read the novels out of order, and will hasten to remedy this by reading the second novel.
I especially enjoyed this novel because it features believably human characters.