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Private Wars: A Queen and Country Novel [Mass Market Paperback]

Greg Rucka
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 4.86 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

25 July 2006 Queen and Country
Only Greg Rucka, the thriller genre’s most fearless writer, would dare create a spy so edgy, so explosive, so extreme, she should be rated X.

Tara Chace was once the most dangerous woman alive. And now that the international spy network thinks she’s as good as dead, she’s even more dangerous than ever.

Only one thing could coax Tara back into the game: a chance to vindicate herself. The torture and execution of Dina Malikov has set off a cutthroat grab for power in strategically crucial Uzbekistan. Tara’s job is to slip into the country and extract Dina’s pro-Western husband and their young son before they are murdered—by his ruthless sister.

But there are a couple of wild cards in the deck, including a missing mobile weapons system that can bring down a commercial airliner, not to mention powerful political careers. Now, as she vanishes into hostile territory with a man who may or may not be what he seems, Tara is going to find out that the war on terror is more terrifying than anyone knows. For in a battle where betrayal is a conventional weapon, loyalty is a weakness, and anyone—even a child—is a legitimate target: it’s every spy, every woman, for herself.

Combine a thriller that defies every expectation with a heroine for whom nothing is out of bounds, and the result is Private Wars, a suspense novel so explosively realistic, it should be classified.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Private Wars: A Queen and Country Novel + The Last Run (Queen & Country Novels) + A Gentleman's Game
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 503 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (25 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553584936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553584936
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 10.8 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 671,009 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greg Rucka is the bestselling author of nearly a dozen novels published in the US. He has also written several short stories, countless comics, and the occasional non-fiction essay. In comics, he has had the opportunity to write stories featuring some of the world's best-known characters including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Punisher. ALPHA is the first thriller in the Jad Bell series. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and two children.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars super realistic spy 21 Feb 2007
By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Tara Chace works for MI6 as a 'minder'. Those who go out into the field and carry out top secret spying operations. Very good at her job, and full of self loathing because of it.

This is the latest part of her story, the earlier stages of which were told in the comic queen and country, and the earlier greg rucka novel a gentleman's game. Thus she has a lot of back story, which is covered well enough at the start of the novel so that it shouldn't be a problem for those who haven't read her earlier tales.

Tara, pregnant and having quit her job, has tried to walk away from it. But the political situation in uzbekistan requires a job to be done. And she's the only one who can do it.

Torn very much from the pages of today's headlines, with the west supporting dictators who torture people because it's politically expedient, this is a tale told in very well written prose that really does grip. And it gives you the impression that spying must really be like this, as tara is a pawn in the political machinations of her superiors and others.

The book is just over five hundred pages long, and the story would almost appear to reach a conclusion on 330. But then it neatly twists off into another direction, as tara's earlier actions have consequences. It may start to seem a little too long and stretched out at this point, and it would have rated five stars otherwise, but stay with it as the ending of the book is a real kicker, and one you won't forget in a hurry. A really good read all in all
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4.0 out of 5 stars more goodness from Rucka 14 April 2014
By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The second in the Queen and Country trilogy featuring British assassin Tara Chace. Having left Government service at the end of the previous book, Tara is now the single Mum of a young daughter but the opportunity arises to regain her credibility by undertaking a mission in Uzbekistan. What at first appears to be a snatch and grab becomes more complex with regime change and some missing missiles.

It’s got the brisk writing style of the previous novel, the same gritty feel and the same powerful action. Despite the brisk style the characters are interesting and have surprising depth and the book has considerable pace. Not quite up to the high standard of the first one but still very entertaining.
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rucka at the top of his game 2 Nov 2005
By Bookreporter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Authors laboring in the thriller genre have produced an embarrassment of riches lately, with worthwhile books being published on what seems to be a daily basis. PRIVATE WARS by Greg Rucka is this week's entry. Rucka has established his considerable bona fides in a number of media recently, primarily in the comic or sequential art fields. He currently is authoring acclaimed story arcs in WONDER WOMAN and THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN, as well as a limited series entitled THE OMAC PROJECT. Rucka also has his own ongoing graphic novel series QUEEN AND COUNTRY, where the characters in PRIVATE WARS and 2004's A GENTLEMAN'S GAME come from. While QUEEN AND COUNTRY is a favorite around Casa de Hartlaub, it is in the thrillers where Rucka's talent truly shines.

PRIVATE WARS picks up almost immediately where A GENTLEMAN'S GAME left off. Tara Chace, Minder One of Her Majesty's Secret Intelligence Service, is still reeling from the events that took place at the close of A GENTLEMAN'S GAME. Chace abruptly quits the Service after being denied a leave of absence from her post, an occurrence that almost immediately leaves her agency in the lurch when a power struggle in Uzbekistan results in a strategic crisis involving Britain and the United States. Chace is persuaded to return to service in order to extricate the pro-Western heir to power before he is assassinated.

As anyone familiar with A GENTLEMAN'S GAME might expect, there are any number of red herrings, wild cards and duplicitous settings where friend and foe change sides and identities --- if they can be identified at all. Chace has more than her own self-preservation guiding her motives, and to complicate matters her mission constantly...changes. Rucka's ability to keep things racing along while explaining and exploring the subtleties of this complex plot is almost unbelievable. Additionally, about midway through the novel, there is an occurrence that is as suspenseful and exciting as anything I have read or watched this year. Seriously. I can't give any work a higher recommendation than that.

Rucka is at the top of his game, and PRIVATE WARS is the pinnacle of his work to date. This is a thriller not to be missed.

--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Espionage was ultimately a game of sacrifice." 18 Dec 2005
By E. Bukowsky - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Greg Rucka's "Private Wars" is a no-holds barred spy novel in which political considerations take precedence over saving lives and protecting human rights. Tara Chace is a courageous, resourceful, and daring British agent whose lover dies, leaving her pregnant with his child. She quits her job, but misses the excitement and quickly becomes restless. When her former boss, Paul Crocker, asks her to conduct a difficult and dangerous mission, she reluctantly agrees.

The job will take place in Uzbekistan, a crucial ally with strategic importance to the West. The head of Uzbekistan is dying and his daughter, Sevara, is in line to take his place. She has already had her sister-in-law tortured and murdered, and may have her sights on her brother, Ruslan, and his two-year-old son, Stepan, as her next victims. Tara's assignment is to spirit Ruslan and Stepan out of the country. What follows is an exciting roller-coaster ride filled with intrigue, betrayal, adrenaline-fueled chase scenes, bloody firefights, and more than a few unpredictable twists and turns. Tara's antagonist is Ahtam Zahldov, Sevara's lover and a sadistic, ambitious, and unprincipled brute who enjoys inflicting pain on his enemies. If she falls into his hands, she faces a slow and agonizing death.

"Private Wars" is a complex and challenging book that requires a great deal of the reader. It is also a clear indictment of the many lying and unprincipled individuals who run intelligence agencies for personal gain and power rather than to foster peace and spread democratic ideals.

Rucka explores the steep price that being a spy extracts from people like Tara. She suffers from nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder, and she often must depart at a moment's notice, leaving her small child with a caregiver. Every time she begins an operation, she knows that she may never see her daughter again. Sadly, Tara has learned never to trust anyone. As Rucka points out, espionage consists of "truths revealed to protect lies, relationships twisted to steal secrets, lives surrendered in exchange for [small] gains." People die, careers are ruined, governments are destabilized, and to what end?

"Private Wars" gets more exciting as the story progresses, and the conclusion is an absolute stunner. This is a thinking person's novel, along the lines of Stella Rimington's "At Risk," which I also recommend highly.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than its predecessor 8 Jan 2006
By Daniel H. Bigelow - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Greg Rucka first adapted the characters from his comic book "Queen and Country" to prose in A Gentleman's Game, an accomplished and intelligent actioner distinguished by strong and realistic characterizations, even among the villains. This foray is not just better, it's a lot better; and the last one was pretty darn good.

Queen and Country distinguishes itself from other espionage novels by its close attention to how office politics among spies affects the business these spies are supposed to be accomplishing. Here, the political considerations are more complex than last time while simultaneously being explained better and seeming more realistic. Furthermore, despite grim overtones, the world is generally better off at the end of the book than at the beginning -- while brutal nearly to the point of nihilism, the plot allows for more hope than the one in the last book, at least for the characters we like most.

And, as in the last book (and in the comic book series), it is the characters that make the biggest impression. The driven, lethal Tara Chace and her immediate superior in the British Secret Service, Paul Crocker, are the best spies since 007; it is always great to see them in action. As they navigate the treacherous politics of Central Asia and the sometimes even more dangerous politics of their own espionage community, they keep the reader's sympathy and attention. I had a hard time putting this book down, and I can't wait for the next one.
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific addition to the series 18 Jan 2014
By J. Wan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Private Wars is a standard novel addition to the Queen and Country series (which began as a graphic novel series). This is just text but Greg Rucka who scripted the graphic novel series does a terrific job. The hero is Tara Chace, secret operative for the British secret intelligence operations group, called the Minders. She is tasked with going to one of the former soviet republics whose ailing ruler faces a power struggle upon his death.

Very well done - this is a very realistic depiction of intelligence work:no fancy gadgets, devices or super cars. It helps to have read the earlier series.
3.0 out of 5 stars Tara Chase series novel is popcorn: tasty, less filling, with flat characters but decent plot 17 Nov 2013
By K. Chang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Personally I rate this novel at 3.5 stars, as it's enjoyable, albeit lots of problems here and there.

Greg Rucka's "Tara Chace" is a "minder", a top agent in the mold of James Bond, for Her Majesty's government, but also a mother. She's called back into service to handle a mission... a simple evacuation, so one thought. However, it seems she's simply a pawn in a power game played in the highest level of governments...

Without spoiling the plot, I'll just say that while Rucka is a pretty good plotter, the characters are not exactly smart, except Tara herself, and even she had her mindless moments, such as coming back to work and risk her life, just for thrill of it. The good guys are not exactly good, the bad guys are not exactly bad... except the "heavy", who's so lax about his own security, he's beaten up... TWICE, by Tara.

I like the idea that the minders are NOT superagents who don't get injured much, if at all, and are not suave operators like 007. They are rough killers that simply don't wear uniform. There are very little technowiz and no gadgetry at all.

And the ending's a bit of a shock, albeit not exactly unexpected, as hints were left here and there that perhaps not all is as it seems.

I would probably read another novel in the series, but this is popcorn novel, tasty, less filling.
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