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English 2 posts on 10/19/2007 1:06:12 AM AT RISK By Stella Rimington ISBN 1-4000-7981-0 398 pages, $6.99 US Published by Vintage Books Reading a good thriller opens a portal into a different world, a world where the book is essential to life. Sitting there, frantically turning the pages and inhaling the words as if they were life support, the reader doesn’t realize how many words, pages, or chapters have passed. The thriller AT RISK by Stella Rimington transports the reader into this world. The author, Stella Rimington, was the head of the British spy agency, the MI5, for four years. Her experience with the MI5 allowed her to create an environment that is so realistic the reader must not only peel their eyes off of the pages, but also remove themselves from her setting. Rimington borrows certain aspects of her life as a spy to incorporate in her novel. Stella Rimington tells a thrilling story about Liz Carlyle, a counter terrorism agent working deep inside the MI5, and her race to stop a terrorist attack before someone gets hurt. Liz Carlyle is given one of her toughest tasks yet: she must find terrorists before they bomb Britain. They enter Britain by stealth as “invisibles” or terrorists who appear as if they are native to Britain. They could be anyone, anywhere in Britain. Liz begins an almost hopeless quest to find the invisibles before the bomb goes off. Throughout AT RISK, the separate terrorists are introduced and their reasons for becoming terrorists are explained. “Islam, it seemed, offered precisely the transformation she sought. It would fill the void inside her, the terrible vacuum in her heart” (145). These entrancing characters and their life stories allow the reader to sympathize with both sides of the conflict. The author creates situations where there is no textbook definition of “evil” and the reader must decide for themselves whether the character is evil or influenced in a negative way. Stella Rimington’s novel mixes excitement with moral problems to create a thriller. AT RISK is the perfect novel for thriller lovers. There is always something building up to the climax and adding to the anticipation. The book draws the reader in with tidbits of information that come together for the perfect ending. Stella Rimington’s writing is aimed more for high school students and above because there are murders, sexual references, and some advanced writing that is difficult to understand at times. Girls would enjoy it a little bit more because of some sappy love escapades and feminist vibes, but both boys and girls should read this novel. Overall, I would give AT RISK a 9/10, and I would encourage thriller enthusiasts to choose this book as their next read.


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