Quercus publishers launched the new Stella Rimington Liz Carlyle novel, Dead Line, not in a secret location but in the rather sumptuous setting of Wiltons in Jermyn Street, London.
Stella Rimington is the former Director General of the Secret Service (MI5 to me and you), and speaking to her she said she was happy to have been the first ever woman to hold the post and also the fact that it helped Dame Judy Dench to become the first ever female head of the service in the James Bond books after the departure of M.
The author was very gracious as I bombarded her with questions, not only about the book but on the genre as a whole. Although a couple of my queries were deflected, she was very honest.
Those attending the launch including Ali Karim, Ayo Onatade, Chris Simmonds and Barry Forshaw (could there ever be a launch without them?) Also journalists Jeremy Jehu, John Duggdale, Natasha Cooper and Jake Kerridge; as well as the support from Anthony Cheetham, Lucy Ramsey, Ron Beard and Mark Smith of Quercus (and apologies to those who I have missed out).
Dead Line is the forth Liz Carlyle in the series.
MI5 Itelligence office Liz Carlyle is summoned to a meeting with her boss Charles Wetherby, head of the Service's Counter-Espionage branch. His counterparty over at MI6 has received alarming intelligence from a high-placed Syrian source. A Middle East peace conference is planned to take place at Gleneagles in Scotland and several heads of state will attend. The Syrians have learned that two individuals are mounting an operation to disrupt the peace conference in a way designed to be spectacular, laying the blame at Syria's door. The source claims that Syrian Intelligence will act against the pair, presumably by killing them.
No one knows who they are or what they are planning to do. Are they working together? Who is controlling them? Or is the whole story a carefully laid trail of misinformation? It's Liz's job to find out. But as she discovers, the threat is far greater than she or anyone else could have imagined. The future of the whole of the Middle East is at stake and the conference is drawing ever closer.