Rimington, Stella - 'The Geneva Trap'
Liz Carlyle works for MI6 and is surprised when she is summoned to Switzerland for a meeting with a member of the Russian delegation who has approached the local British Embassy with an offer of information. However he will only speak to Liz.
Liz struggles to understand why until she remembers a chance encounter with a Russian guest lecturer when she was studying at university. Sorsky tells her that he has learnt that there is a mole in the Ministry of Defence in London, working for an unnamed third country tasked with finding information about a very secret project involving unmanned drones between the UK and the USA. He will not give her any more details especially not his source.
Liz struggles to link the limited information she has been given with identification of the mole and to persuade both British and especially American colleagues that the information has to be checked out and that it should not be put down to Russian interference, although they are concerned that knowledge of the project is known to other countries.
Then one of the drones appears to ignore commands and there is almost a serious accident. This is put down to computer error and considered to be of minor concern, but when another drone again ignores commands from its human operator and eventually self destructs, it becomes obvious that someone has gained access to very sensitive information and is able to gain control of the drones.
Small pieces of intelligence are put together and the chase to track down the mole and his masters and to keep the project safe, leads across Europe involving French, Swiss and British secret services.
This is the seventh outing of Liz Carlyle by Stella Rimington - the ex head of MI5 - and the first that I have read and I was pleasantly surprised. The factual account of how people in the secret services operate reads true - as one would expect - but, more importantly, the characters are three dimensional and also read true. The main protagonists are given a back-story to bring them to life and remind me of Smiley and how his personal life brought humanity to the Le Carre novels and of course Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File with his love of cooking.
An enjoyable read.
Read another review of THE GENEVA TRAP.
Susan White, England