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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: £4.81 & 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: 748,172 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  20 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.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Effort, A Fine Balance 20 Jun 2006
By James E. Rodehaver - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Greg Rucka's second Queen & Country novel is a fine effort with a wonderful payoff for those fans left hanging by A Gentleman's Game. His grasp of the internal politics of the MI-6 and alusions to the current Blair Government ring true. Political sketches of the situation in many of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia also are spot on. Uzbekistan is a particularly poignant setting for a Anglo-centric spy thriller given its nexus as a staging ground for the US GWOT, for regional ethnic tensions, breedign ground for islamic extremism, and, most importantly, some of the most egregious human rights abuses recorded in recent memory. Tashkent hosts a thuggish regime, that has particularly been salt in the wounds of British Government politics thanks to Craig Murray, and could very realistically have produced the characters that Rucka fleshes out so admirably in these pages.

Vauxhall Cross is also the staging ground for intrigue as we see how Paul Crocker's relations with his Chief of Service deteriorate until a final end game results in a most satisfying coup d'gras. Francis Barclay is one character that anyone could love to hate. He gets his comeuppance.

Tara Chace will forever be a heartbreaking character. A tragic figure. Rucka stays true to form. There will be no happy endings for Miss Chace...she's not meant to have them and I am not sure that she deserves one. What a fabulously realised character.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not on my "A" list... 10 Feb 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
After reading the first Queen and Country novel, A Gentleman's Game, and being moderately entertained, I decided to try Greg Rucka's follow-up called Private Wars. I think I'll end up reading more by Rucka, but they probably won't be on my A-list...

Tara Chace is back after losing the father of her unborn child at the end of a botched mission in the Middle East. She's had it with government politics and espionage, and wants nothing more to do with it. Until she realizes that now she's really just like everyone else, with no real direction in life other than raising her daughter as a secretive single mother living with her dead lover's mother. Her boredom gets the best of her, and she's lured back into the game when she's offered a chance to extract an Uzbekistan politician who might well be killed by his sister in a government coup. That mission becomes a fiasco when it's found that her handlers really just want to find some missing anti-aircraft missiles, and they really don't care to support the Uzbek politician. She's captured, tortured, and is close to being murdered before her release is secured at the last moment. The fear and humiliation of the ordeal fuels her desire for revenge, and she jumps at the chance to go back into Uzbek territory a few months later to clean up the original mission (and dish out a little retribution in the process). She has to guess who might be telling the truth, who might be playing her, and which side she wants to support...

Generally I liked the book, but I tended to get bogged down when the story turned to internal politics of the English intelligence service. I was never quite following who was aligning with who and for what reason, and I'm sure that probably caused me to miss a bit of the story-line of Chace's missions. When the story focused on Chace and the actual mission, it was pretty good reading. And towards the end, things really flew. But this was the type of book that I could finish in a couple days if I really get into it. Instead, it took me a week and I was reading a number of other books at the same time. No real compulsion to keep turning pages...

If I have the chance to read another Rucka novel, I probably will. It'll probably sit around for a bit if there are other books in the pile, though...
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