cover image Breaking Cover: A Liz Carlyle Novel

Breaking Cover: A Liz Carlyle Novel

Stella Rimington. Bloomsbury, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-1-63286-526-7

At the start of Rimington’s intermittently compelling ninth novel featuring British MI5 agent Liz Carlyle (after 2014’s Close Call), Jasminder Kapoor, a thoughtful advocate for greater transparency by security services, is mugged in London. She’s saved from serious injury by Laurenz Hansen, a charming but secretive private banker who becomes her lover. Meanwhile, MI6 wants to hire someone to handle communications and Kapoor ultimately gets the job, but her new position makes her a target for the book’s villains. Over at MI5, Carlyle and her colleagues are trying to prevent another Litvinenko-style assassination by Russian agents. In particular, they’re worried about the safety of anti-Putin oligarchs living in England, such as Sergei Patricov. Sources lead them to a plot to infiltrate both of the key British intelligence services. Rimington, who spent decades at MI5, does a fine job of depicting the up-to-the-minute tradecraft, but the plot could have benefited from a greater sense of urgency. Agent: Georgina Capel, Capel & Land (U.K.). (July)