The Fifth Doctrine

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards is the third book in The Guardian series. I haven’t read the previous novels in the series but was able to easily follow the story to-date, though a little additional backstory may have enhanced the reading.

Bianca St. Ives, owner of Guardian Consulting, a private security company, is being hunted by the CIA. She’s managed to elude them but they have her in their sights again. In order to gain the freedom to live life on her own terms, she must impersonate a woman who has stolen sensitive government information. Colin Rogan is a former MI6 agent turned mercenary. He’s faced off against Bianca before, but this time he’s been sent to recruit her. He has to convince her that he’s not out to kill or betray her. Bianca and Colin are now a reluctant team seeking to save the world and themselves. 

The Fifth Doctrine is a thriller from start to finish. The action is fast-paced. The characterization and use of background scenery are top notch. I like that the romance took a backseat and wasn’t the driving force. I rate it 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it to fans of thrillers, especially the espionage thriller. 

My thanks to Harlequin-Mira and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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In terms of genre, I would classify this as a spy thriller with strong romantic elements, rather than a romantic thriller, if that makes sense :). Depending what you're looking for, that could be a good or bad thing, but I enjoyed the balance this struck between 2 genres. This was my first Karen Robards, and I enjoyed this enough that I would want to read more in her backlist. Also, though this is the third in a series, I was able to pick up what was going on easily enough, so I would say you could read this as a standalone. All in all, an enjoyable spy thriller that is very stabby
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The Fifth Doctrine is the third book in Karen Robards' Bianca St. Ives series, and it's the strongest one so far, giving lots of time to Bianca and Colin's romance. While you have to suspend disbelief to get through the clunkier bits of plot, Ms. Robards still shines as a master at creating believable and breathtaking romance.
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Got a love-hate relationship with this series

I would like to thank Karen Robards, Harlequin/Mira, and NetGalley for allowing me to read a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.


I read Moscow Deception (MD) and Fifth Doctrine (FD) back to back, so this is kinda-sorta a review for both. I’ve decided to have a love-hate relationship with this series. On one hand, I freaking love it, because it’s clever, fast-paced action with vivid description and likable characters. But on the other hand, I hate being teased. I wish these books would deliver what they promise, namely a deep dive into Bianca’s character and her relationships.

To be fair, Robards does a fantastic job giving Bianca some internal conflict, and FD stroked my romantic feathers (oh, boy, did it!). But I still wasn’t satisfied when I finished reading it. While I realize cliff-hangers and unresolved plot lines might be good for business—who cares if the readers are dissatisfied as long as they buy the next installment, right?—it’s really annoying when books cut corners. Lines like: “Next time she had a couple of hours to spare she’d schedule an official freak out.” (MD, 82) and “Okay, pencil in a nervous breakdown for later.” (FD, 33) are so lazy—especially when you don’t pay them off! You might as well write: I’m going to put character development on the back burner while I go to town in North Korea.

I want to get into the supersoldier conspiracy. I want Bianca to stand up to that smug asswipe Mason and tell him to cram it up his crapper because he won’t be using her anymore (I wanted him to die, not gonna lie)—instead, she says that to Colin, who just wants to help her! Gah, that’s so frustrating. I want to get to know Hay and Doc and Evie, see Evie win against her rotten soon-to-be-ex.

Obviously I prefer character-driven novels, but to be clear, I don’t mind fast-paced action thrillers. I can appreciate them for what they are. What pisses me off is when they pretend to be character-driven when they are not. I enjoyed the subplot about Quincy, Sage, and the Bloods, as well as the one about Bianca’s co-workers and business, particularly Evie’s personal drama. But I cannot figure out how these subplots are at all relevant to the overall thriller plot. If you were to remove the Mission: Save Francisca and Mission: Save Evie scenes from MD, the rest of the plot wouldn’t be affected. Case in point, Robards didn’t even bother including any such scenes in FD, which resulted in more leg room for the action, better pace, and fewer disappointments.

MD gets 3 stars because of those irrelevant subplots, but FD gets 4 stars because it didn’t perpetuate those irrelevant subplots and finally got into the romance—wasn’t truly satisfying, but it was a lot more than we got in the first two.

Now, I’m assuming there’ll be another book. This surprises me, because I swear I read somewhere that it was supposed to be a trilogy. I don’t remember where I read it and I’m not going to hunt it down because it was years ago and it’s beside the point—there’s clearly going to be more books in this series. Or at least one. So BOLO because—damn them—I gotta know what happens next.
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Karen Robards continues Bianca St. Ives' story.  We find her living a life in Savannah, Georgia with her own firm.  When she enters her office, she finds Colin Rogan there offering her a lifeline.  If she helps him out, then he would help her stay away from being a target of a CIA kill squad.  Left with no other choice, she teams up with Colin on a mission.  They must figure out each other's agenda and sexual tension as they try to outmaneuver agents from various agencies targeting them.
Karen Robards keeps us on our toes as Bianca and Colin are pulled together to perform this latest mission while trying to avoid the tension between them.  I enjoyed reading this latest installment in this series and look forward to the next chapter in Bianca's life and see how Colin may fit into it.  
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Harlequin-Mira for this privilege.
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The Fifth Doctorine is part of a series about Bianca and Colin.  It is a stand alone book.  I didn’t read the previous books in series.  I recommend reading all of the series to fully appreciate Bianca and Colin’s story. If you like an action packed book, this is the book for you.
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I devoured this book!!! I found the story more credible than the first book in the series. It moved along at such a good pace. The characters seemed more real to me and they jumped out of the pages. 
I could seriously see the story unfolding like a movie reel. Savannah became so alive on the pages. 
The last 2 chapters were so satisfying! It was so so good!! I can't wait for more.
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I was glad to see Bianca St. Ives and Colin Rogan back for another adventure. In this book,  This time, if Bianca agrees a mission involving North Korea, she can walk away without recombination. What follows is a dangerous assignment that can end her, or set her free. 

Colin and Bianca are great together in this addition to the series. There is plenty of intrigue and danger in this intriguing storyline. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
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I love to read any books by Karen Robards.  This series is full of spies, CIA agents gone bad and a whole lot ot intrique.  This is book 3 and I would suggest reading them in order.  Bianca has settled into her life in Savannah.  She has a successful company, friends and she wants to keep it that way.  However, has her past finally caught up to her?  When Colin shows up, he gives her a way out.  Can she run one more job and get the CIA Kill Team off her tail?  Or, is it a job she might not come back from?  Book was so good I hated to finish it!
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Once I started reading The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards I became completely involved with Bianca St Ives. and her adventures. After I finished this book I found the first two books in the series.  This gave me the important background information about her relationship with her 'father' and 'Colin Rogan. Part of her life is managing Guardian Consulting in Savannah. She has another secret life outside the office which is hidden from her friends and employees.  She is a thief as well as a martial arts expert. She was trained to steal and commit other crimes by her father. Collin Rogan found her while she was attempting to steal valuables in the first book of the series. They meet again in the second book but she gets away from hm and feels that she is safe when back at her job. He is a government agent who is determined to find her. He needs her help and has to convince her to join him. There has always been a sexual attraction between them which she fights. Against her will he talks her into joining him and their adventure begins.
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I reviewed the first in the Guardian Series that hook me in from first to last page. Once again this story will keep readers needing more of St. Ives as she is trying to settle back into a normal life knowing she is anything but normal.  The characters stay true to who they are from book 1. 

I would recommend readers starting with the first in the series just to get the batter background of St. Ives, however that being said the author does a wonderful job of catching reader up fast as bullet are flying. 

The author create a dark world where one mistake and you are expendable.  The action back story has readers biting their nails needing more of Bianca St, Ives.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher MIRA for advance copy of Karen Robards The Fifth Doctrine
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Thank Netgalley for the arc for review.  I don't believe that I'd read any of the Bianca St Ives books before.  Lots of suspense and action and of course chemistry between Bianca and Colin.
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FYI, whenever there was an f, there was a space. Kinda made reading interesting.

This author is one I don’t even bother reading the back of the book to see what it’s about. I know it will be good! And Ms. Robards did not disappoint. This book takes you on a thrill ride almost from the very beginning. And a ride you get to the very end. The chemistry between Bianca and Colin is off the charts, even when they are doing everything to stay alive. The best thing is, their story is not over.
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The Fifth Doctrine (The Guardian #3) by Karen Robards is a thrilling new book with our favorite crime fighter, Bianca St. Ives. I have enjoyed this series with a strong female modern-day warrior who is fearless in life and death situations! Bianca has tried to keep secret the fact that she had been genetically altered by an experimental operation sanctioned by the CIA. She is disturbed to realize she has been found by Colin Rogin, an operative she had hoped to avoid forever. The reader may hold your breath as Bianca/Lynette executes a strategy to free herself and four prisoners from one of North Korea's worst prisons. Will Bianca succeed and make it back to her comfortable life in Savannah?  Even though this is the third book in this series, it can be read as a stand-alone book.
Publication date: March 19, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Karen Robards once again tells a story that continues to captivate the reader. This book is the third in the life of Bianca St Ives and continues to show romance, mystery, intrigue and sexual innuendo that holds your attention on each page and is difficult to put down for the mundane things in real life until the very end of the story. Every book of hers continues in the same way from start to finish. For anyone who has never read this author, any of her books will hold you captivated to the end!. Can't wait for the next one where Bianca & Colin continue their lives

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Bianca St. Ives thinks she has finally settled down and started a new life in Savannah. When her nemesis, Colin Rogan, shows up and tells her that she is the target of a CIA kill squad and then helps her escape, that life is over. Colin convinces her to work with his secret ops and he can get the dogs called off. Bianca now finds herself impersonating a woman who stole information about a North Korea operation and trying to meet with an NK agent to sell a doctored version of the goods. Off she goes to Paris with Colin to fight both her attraction to him and the agents from various dangerous groups.

This latest entry in the series is full of action and sexual tension between Bianca and Colin. Her unorthodox birthright looms large in the story as well as her relationship with her supposed father Mason Thayer. The resolution is satisfying and there is an obvious lead into a new book. Yay!
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Fabulous read. This latest installment is the best yet in this series. The writing is action packed, on the edge of your seat thrills and chills. I adored the banter and interaction between Colin and Bianca. They are so well suited for each other in every way. Bianca gets sold out a few times in the book, but as usual, she manages to wriggle her way out of tight jams. I continue to marvel at Robard's keen descriptions as well as her creativity for the really cool spy gadgets, manuevers, and plot twists.
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I think this series has become my favourite. Twists that have keep reading until the finish. Can't wait for the next title in the series.
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Bianca is a great character, and this book is no exception.  I've really enjoyed these books.  What I read depends on the mood I am in, and having an action book with a female hero was exactly what I needed!
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This is the 3rd book in the Guardian series. Bianca St, Ives (genetically altered by the Government) is forced to team up with Colin Rogan to save the world from a catastrophe. It is no surprise I loved this book. Lots of action and suspense with chemistry between Bianca and Colin. I hope this isn't the end of this series. Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin-Mira and the Author for allowing me to read and review this book.
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