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Dame Stella Rimington
MI5 officer Liz Carlyle has been transferred to Counter-Espionage. Once the hub of MI5 operations, the department has been reduced in size since the end of the Cold War. Yet there are more spies operating in London now than at the height of East-West hostilities.
This includes Russian agents, who continue to operate in large numbers. What's changed is their targets - they now spy on the international financial community that has made London its base in the last twenty years, and on the influential Russian oligarchs who have come to the capital to spend their millions.
Liz learns of a Russian government plot to "silence" one of these oligarchs, an increasingly vocal opponent of the Putin regime. How he is to be kept quiet is unclear, but since the Foreign Office dreads any kind of incident, Liz is assigned to keep it from happening. But first she has to find out who he is.
Meanwhile her research sidekick Peggy Kinsolving is tipped off about the presence of a Russian illegal in London - someone who operates (often for years) under a completely fabricated identity. Is there a connection to the government plot?
Liz goes undercover and joins the oligarch's retinue. As she tries to determine who around the Russian might be about to betray him, she has to consider whether this traitor is also the deadly illegal she and Peggy are seeking. Under an assumed name, caught up in the high-octane world of the super-rich, Liz starts to find herself in terrible danger...