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Liz Carlyle Books In Order

Publication Order of Liz Carlyle Books

At Risk (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Secret Asset (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Illegal Action (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Line (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Present Danger (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Rip Tide (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Geneva Trap (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Close Call (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


A British author, the writer Stella Rimington is known for her highly detailed novels based on the intelligence services, created finely crafted and well researched spy and espionage novels. Largely thanks to her time spent as Director-General of the MI5, she has been able to provide her work with a level of detail and knowledge unlike any other. Providing her plots and characters with a highly realistic foundation, her many readers have come to appreciate her uncompromising and in-depth portrayal of the field of espionage. One series that she is particularly well known for is her Liz Carlyle, which features the eponymous MI5 agent of the series title. Following her throughout, it charts her progress over the course of the franchise and her career in the Joint Counter-Terrorist Group as an MI5 agent there. Taking place in London England as well, it really is a case of Rimington writing about what she knows, and it clearly shows in the well plotted and executed narratives and characterizations.

With the first book published back in 2004, the series as a whole has been running for over nine books so far and counting. Following special agent Liz Carlyle throughout her career, they manage to capture what life is like in the intelligence services perfectly. With more expected to follow soon, it appears that they will be continuing for some time yet, as more titles are expected on the horizon.

At Risk

Published on the 30th of May, 2006, through the Vintage Crime/Black Lizard publishing label, this was to be the first book in the Liz Carlyle series. Setting up the character, it works at establishing her in the minds of the audience, whilst also simultaneously giving her her first case to solve. Creating both the style and the tone as well, it manages to build upon this premise, developing it whilst giving an idea of what’s to come.

Set in the heart of the MI5, this is very much a British story first and foremost, taking place in rural parts of Anglia to London. Not one for big extravagant affairs, Rimington uses her expertise to get down to more gritty realistic portrayals of how terrorist attacks actually play out in real life. The environment it takes place in reflects in, as she utilizes the everyday sensibilities of English life to give it a more grounded and down-to-earth quality. In regards to the character of Liz Carlyle herself, she is a highly resourceful and intelligent woman, who is both pragmatic and level-headed in equal measure. Whilst some might see her as initially cold, this is merely a front so she can focus on the job in hand and get down to business, as she struggles within a primarily male oriented environment. Keeping her head above water, she is an astute protagonist who is always ready to tackle a new challenge, although her social life does suffer somewhat, as she continually keeps herself busy.

The first case that Liz Carlyle comes up against is a tough one, as she needs to track down a potential terrorist who is looking to target Britain. One major problem though, is that they are travelling under a British passport, which means that they’re virtually impossible to detect, leading to such threats being labelled as ‘invisibles’ in the field. With the clock against her, it’s down to her to pull out all the stops if she ever hopes to track them down and find out their location, all before it’s too late. Where are they hiding? Can she track them down before it’s too late? Just who exactly is at risk?

Secret Asset

Brought out the following year, this was to be a direct follow-up to the first, providing a continuation of the character of Liz Carlyle and her investigations. Published on the 19th of June, 2007, through the Knopf publishing label this time, it carries on in much the same vein as the previous one. Using much of the same style and tone as before, Rimington is able to dive straight into the action developing it even further, whilst also giving the readers more of what they’ve now come to expect.

Still set within the epicentre of the MI5 intelligence agency, this carries on within the organization, showing the inner workings of it through the character of Liz Carlyle. Taking place in England once again, it maintains the same voice and style as before, giving it the unique British character that worked the first time around. Showing London as it is, it really gets a feel for the real city, and nor a glamorised unrealistic portrayal of everyday life there.

Featuring Liz Carlyle as the leading protagonist once more, she is as smart and intelligent as ever, always doing whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the case. This time she finds herself dealing with potential terrorist cell congregating within an Islamic bookstore, having been given a tip-off by a fellow agent. Following her instincts a surveillance operation is put upon the place and they begin to monitor the activity there, but that’s when she’s suddenly taken off the case and informed that there’s a mole working within the intelligence services themselves. Who exactly could it be? Can she find them before it’s too late? What will become of her secret asset?

The Liz Carlyle Series

Following the character of Liz Carlyle throughout her career, this really gets to the heart of who she is as a person. With a very astute understanding of human nature, Stella Rimington truly understands not just how the intelligence services operate, but the people within it as well. All throughout the hierarchy of the MI5 as an organization, she really allows the reader to step inside the world. Keeping the reader engaged too, she manages to craft a tightly woven set of thrillers, that keeps her audience guessing right until the very end. This is not just due to the detail, but the fact that they are properly vested in the character of Liz as a fully three-dimensional human being. As more books are set to be released soon, this popular franchise will grow from strength-to-strength for some time yet.

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