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Extended Audio Sample Secret Asset Audiobook, by Stella Rimington Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (429 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Stella Rimington Narrator: Emma Fielding Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Liz Carlyle Series Release Date: June 2007 ISBN: 9780739343784
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Liz Carlyle, the quick, passionate intelligence officer of Britain's MI5, returns to defuse a terrorist plot in this high-stakes, high-tension tale of international espionage. 

When it appears a “secret asset”—a sleeper spy—has infiltrated British Intelligence, the Director of Counter-Terrorism assigns Liz Carlyle to dig up the mole. The spy, possibly a former IRA operative now working with British-born Al Qaeda sympathizers, has one thing on his (or her?) mind: total devastation. With a major attack looming, Liz must trust her instincts and move fast. But this assignment is deadly, and suddenly she feels like she has wandered into a wilderness of mirrors, where nothing is what is seems and no-one can be trusted.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Fast-moving . . . 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 . . . Rimington also proves adept at building characters and constructing plots. David Pitt, Booklist
  • Those interested in old school British intelligence thrillers will find much to like in the smart, enterprising Carlyle . . . Much is made of the authenticity of Rimington’s tradecraft (she was the first female head of MI5 in real life), and rightly so. Publishers Weekly
  • [Secret Asset has] whiplash control of momentum that raises your pulse a heartbeat at a time until the climax. Kirkus Reviews
  • The author makes effective use of her professional knowledge . . . The ingenious plot entwines strands of Irish Republican Army leftovers, disaffected spies, and Islamic terrorists . . . Rimington’s sense of place is strong. Library Journal
  • This is something very rare: the spy novel that prizes authenticity over fabrication. Mail on Sunday
  • Tense and terrifying. Cosmopolitan
  • A cracking good thriller Lynn Barber, Observer
  • Intelligent — Undeniably pacy Guardian
  • Rimington makes adroit use of her expertise as former MI5 chief Sunday Times
  • The Secret Service background is exceedingly convincing Evening Standard
  • First class Douglas Hurd, New Statesman
  • 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
  • She writes in a refreshingly self-deprecating style of juggling the roles of single parent and chief ‘spook’. Independent on Sunday
  • Open Secret is a fascinating account not only of Stella Rimington’s various roles in the evolving Security Services, but also of the strains on a single mother as she struggles to compartmentalize a life that is necessarily unpredictable, stressful and shrouded in secrecy. Time Out

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Al Menaster | 2/8/2014

    " Pretty good. Slow early, when our heroine is just interviewing folks. But picks up and is a pretty good spy novel, catching terrorists in England. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 2/8/2014

    " Terrific pageturner. I want to read more books by this woman...who was the head of the British Secret Service so she knows what she is writing about. I'm sure that the boss in the James Bond movies is modeled after the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hugh Egener | 1/27/2014

    " I enjoy Rimington's writing more because she has excellent inside knowledge although the endings leave much to desire. Her real life story against the old boy establishment is interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bookhuw | 1/24/2014

    " It's a page turner, not much more, not much less. The suspense fades, the thrust is very muted, but hey, at least you won't be stuck reading it for too long. Needs more salt. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gerry | 1/17/2014

    " Not bad but not riveting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 1/16/2014

    " A juicy thriller set in the world of MI5. Tight writing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dana | 1/12/2014

    " Story not as good as the first but I still really like the main character Liz Carlyle and look forward to more books by Rimington. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cilla ley | 12/25/2013

    " Written by the former head of MI5, this book is a bit light weight compared to John le Carre's novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe Robles | 12/20/2013

    " 2nd in the Liz Carlyle series. Like a police procedural about MI5. Written by the first female Director General of MI5. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Michele bookloverforever | 12/13/2013

    " moves too slow for my tastes. like the heroine though. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Snarky's | 11/29/2013

    " I am obsessed with all things Stella Rimington, particularly after hearing her on NPR. I think it's fabulous Judi Dench's version of M is based on Dame Stellalicious. MI5 forever! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 11/5/2013

    " I didn't get hooked on character(s) and that's always important to me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 4/25/2013

    " Ok book by former M15 Director, not a strong writer but has an interesting and different kind of plot. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gala | 4/9/2013

    " An intriguing novel written by the former head of British Intelligence MI5, Stella Rimington. Also read her book "At Risk" which was a great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 SueDella | 3/16/2013

    " Stella Rimington is the real James Bond. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth Hunter | 3/13/2013

    " I really enjoy the realism with which Rimington embues her story--this is not about chasing bad guys with guns, but about diligent investigation and analysis. I do find myself hoping that not all her stories are about MI5 being compromised in one way or another. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 1/23/2013

    " I've always been a fan of mysteries and spy novels, and this author handles both with a deft hand. Realistic characters, great pacing, and a feeling that you're part of the MI5 team as they try to solve the latest case-- I'm looking forward to reading more from Rimington. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maggie | 7/2/2012

    " This book was ok, but at times I felt like I was reading her first book all over again. Not sure that I'll read any more of her books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria | 3/31/2012

    " Great book-- written by the first female director of the MI-5 in England. A bit too detaily but underscored with an air of reality. It does have a true cosmopolitan feel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 1/26/2012

    " Like an episode of MI5. Taught and great. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/19/2012

    " Good vacation reading, but entirely predictable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Molly | 11/22/2011

    " This is a great story! After I read it - I found out there's another one, and I can't wait to read that either. The author ran MI5 in the early 90's. If you are into "spy stories", enjoy this one! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 10/16/2011

    " The second Liz Carlyle story from the former head of MI5 Stella Rimington. Reads like an episode of Spooks but with less tension. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Pottenger | 4/19/2011

    " I think this was #2. It was a little dry at times, but a good read. I've got #3 to read from the library. Guess I'll have to track down the first one eventually. All in all, it was an enjoyable effort from Britain's first female director of MI5. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 4/18/2011

    " Loved the authenticity, and personal-life parts weren't as great as the intelligence services, but still a good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lian Tanner | 4/18/2011

    " Very ordinary prose, but the story is good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Phil | 1/24/2011

    " The second Liz Carlyle story from the former head of MI5 Stella Rimington. Reads like an episode of Spooks but with less tension. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 10/11/2010

    " Like an episode of MI5. Taught and great. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 7/5/2010

    " Terrific pageturner. I want to read more books by this woman...who was the head of the British Secret Service so she knows what she is writing about. I'm sure that the boss in the James Bond movies is modeled after the author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Megan | 6/12/2010

    " Ok book by former M15 Director, not a strong writer but has an interesting and different kind of plot.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joe | 9/8/2009

    " 2nd in the Liz Carlyle series. Like a police procedural about MI5. Written by the first female Director General of MI5. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maggie | 6/12/2009

    " This book was ok, but at times I felt like I was reading her first book all over again. Not sure that I'll read any more of her books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sandy | 5/29/2009

    " I didn't get hooked on character(s) and that's always important to me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rebecca | 4/18/2009

    " Good vacation reading, but entirely predictable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 2/21/2009

    " I've always been a fan of mysteries and spy novels, and this author handles both with a deft hand. Realistic characters, great pacing, and a feeling that you're part of the MI5 team as they try to solve the latest case-- I'm looking forward to reading more from Rimington. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 1/5/2009

    " A juicy thriller set in the world of MI5. Tight writing. "

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About the Author
Author Stella RimingtonStella Rimington joined Britain’s Security Service (MI5) in 1969. During her nearly thirty-year career she worked in all the main fields of the Service’s responsibilities—counter-subversion, counter-espionage, and counter-terrorism—and successively became Director of all three branches. Appointed Director General of MI5 in 1992, she was the first woman to hold the post and the first Director General whose name was publicly announced on appointment. Following her retirement from MI5 in 1996, she became a nonexecutive director of Marks & Spencer and published her autobiography, Open Secret, in the United Kingdom. She is also the author of At Risk, the first Liz Carlyle novel. Rimington lives in London.
About the Narrator

Emma Fielding has narrated numerous audiobooks and earned two AudioFile Earphones Awards. She is an award-winning actress who has appeared in numerous television shows, films, and plays. A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, she has worked for the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has also appeared on Broadway, in Private Lives, and in the West End, in Rock ’n’ Roll.