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Comment: The item is fairly worn but continues to work perfectly. Signs of wear can include aesthetic issues such as scratches, dents, and worn corners. All pages and the cover are intact, but the dust cover may be missing. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting, but the text is not obscured or unreadable.
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Secret Asset Paperback – May 6, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
Book 2 of 8 in the Liz Carlyle Novels Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

How smart of Random House Audio to hire as a reader noted British stage and television actress Fielding, whose prowess brings to life Rimington's own stint as director of the British spy outfit called MI5. (If Remington were brought to the screen, Judi Dench would play her as she plays M in the recent James Bond movies.) With perfect British reserve, Fielding catches the hard-driving Liz Carlyle-Rimington's alter ego-without sacrificing any of Carlyle's energy or excitement. Fielding does the same cool job on all the other characters, from an Islamic bookseller nicknamed Marzipan (no jokes about him being a sweet guy: he's not) to Liz's young assistant, Peggy Kinsolving. This well-edited abridgment cleverly removes some of the book's talkier sections. The result is a perfect choice for listeners who love political thrillers but have only a limited time to enjoy them. A simultaneous release with the Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 30).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Rimington, the former head of Britain's MI5, follows up her spy-novel debut, At Risk (2005), with this fast-moving thriller. We rejoin intelligence officer Liz Carlyle as she gets a hot tip that a terrorist cell is operating in London. But before she can begin her investigation, Liz is pulled off the case by her boss, the director of counter terrorism, who blindsides her with a startling revelation: there is a mole in British Intelligence. Racing against time to expose the traitor before he (or she?) can reveal more secrets, Liz realizes that her colleagues' success in busting the new terrorist cell may depend on how fast she can accomplish her mission. Rimington continues to deliver on the promise of spy fiction written not only by a former spy but also by the head of British intelligence. This is a smartly constructed, sharply written thriller that exudes realism and a professional's eye for detail. More surprisingly, Rimington also proves adept at building characters and constructing plots. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reprint edition (May 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400079829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400079827
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Guy Pommares on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you like it real, then Stella Rimington is it. Imagine James Bond and his high flying exploits; disregard, and try to visualize the very extreme opposite. An unobtrusive middle class woman commuting to work in a uniform brick coloured world under a leaden grey sky and going over the numbingly dull details of hundreds of insignificant lives. From there she culls tiny little anomalies which would only stick out for an unbelievably fastidious mind. And little by little she pieces together the shadows of a puzzle that may or may not lead to the foiling of a plot to unleash very real violence on some people she doesn't know. Now where her real talent comes in, is that she makes it so real that it becomes absolutely riveting; and much more enjoyable than any sort of glamorous adventure fiction. As a matter of fact, when I closed the book, I went right over to my computer to consult Amazon and see what else she'd written.
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Format: Hardcover
If you like spy thrillers you will almost certainaly love this book. As well as trying to stop a terrorist attack, Liz Carlyle must find an IRA mole (who infiltrated MI5, but was never activated.)

The characters are great and the story cracks along at a terrific pace. There are the usual twists and turns, and although I did guess who the mole was about half way through, there was always the chance that I was wrong (!) and it did nothing to spoil my enjoyment of the book.

Rimington also adds in some nice touches. Even characters who are only bit part players are well drawn and we find out small details about their lives and why they were in that place at that time.

If this is the kind of thing you usually enjoy then buy it! Safe houses, surveillance techniques, the inner workings of the terrorist mind, IRA informers.....this book has it all.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the second book by former MI5 head Rimington and it's even better than At Risk. Rimington does excellent secondary and minor characters - the Oxford dons, the varied colleagues, the various civilians all come across crispy with just the right amount of detail to make them memorable and interesting. Once again, Liz is the least clearly drawn character in the book, but this time there are no gaping holes in her day to day life. The settings get more time and space here than in the first book - lovers of London and Oxford will be very very happy -- and the pacing of the plot, which was excellent in At Risk At Risk: A Novel, is truly outstanding: you'll stay up all night. The author combines the best elements of a procedural with the action scenes of a spy thriller.

And that brings me to the one problem. Rimington doesn't end well. In her first novel, she practically threw up her hands and offered the reader an explosive version of "whatever." Here she spends more time and ink, but it is still a weak ending for such a strong narrative.

But it's well worth your time and pocket change: lots of British-isms for Anglophiles.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Spy novels are very diverse genre. From silly Ian Fleming novels from bygone era, where suave, debonair hero got all the girls and killed all the enemies, to John Le Carre's deep, thoughtful treatises on human deception of all sorts. Ms. Rimington's books are expert and knowledgeable. She herself spent three decades chasing ghosts around the world. They are not in same caliber as John Le Carre,but then almost nothing is. The real spy work in this novel is slow, painstaking procedure and utmost dedication with little or no reward. Quick and absorbing read.
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Format: Audio CD
If forgetting you are being read to is the sign of a good audiobook narrator, then performer Emma Fielding hits the mark. Her soft voice lets the listener lose themselves in MI5 intelligence officer Liz Carlyle's hunt for an illusive IRA mole inside British Intelligence's counter-terrorism division. Although her voice is lyrical, Fielding doesn't convey the necessary tension and suspense of action sequences such as a car bomb that threatens to detonate in the middle of an Oxford graduation ceremony. Fielding's Irish accents are as believable as her own British speaking voice, but she struggles to sound realistic as other nationalities. Nevertheless, Rimington's mole manages to be more than a one note villain and his enactments of revenge have surprising motivations and unexpected outcomes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Secret Asset does not quite have the runaway drama of At Risk, Stella Rimmington's first novel. Again centered around MI5 intelligence officer, Liz Carlyle, it is still a good read with three parallel stories: two investigations plus the struggle of Liz's relationship with her aging mother. One gleans some insight into terrorist strategies, like the 'triple threat' as the story threads itself through the realities of England and Ireland. The characters are well developed and the story is one that you do not want to end.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I expected, I loved this book. In reading some of the other reviews (just now, not before I bought the book), I'd just mention that I think Dame Stella does not intend to emulate James Bond. Instead, she provides us with "stories" that continue to feel to me to be cut very close to some real experiences, and for me, it is very convincing. In having realized who the planted mole was mid-way through the book, I found myself wanting to jump in there and caution her, and Wetherby, whenever that character was around. If she can draw me into the story to that extent, seems to me that she accomplished her goal.
I'll definitely be seeing more of Liz. Can't wait to see where the next one is set - several times I expected Inspector Morse or Inspector Lewis to turn up in this one!
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