Stella Rimington writes: "Nothing in my life ever tuned out as expected. Having originally chosen a safe career, I ended up as a leader of one of the country's intelligence agencies and a target for terrorists. Having conventionally married my school friend, I ended up a single parent. Having begun work in the days when women's careers were not taken seriously I ended up advising ministers and Prime Ministers . . . The unexpected course of my life has involved me closely with some of the significant issues of the late 20th century."