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Private Wars: A Queen and Country Novel Mass Market Paperback – 25 Jul 2006

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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: 10.4 x 2.9 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 120,622 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tapner TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Feb. 2007
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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By Nick Brett TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 April 2014
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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 20 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Rucka at the top of his game 2 Nov. 2005
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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
"Espionage was ultimately a game of sacrifice." 18 Dec. 2005
By E. Bukowsky - Published on
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
Even better than its predecessor 8 Jan. 2006
By Daniel H. Bigelow - Published on
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.
A Fine Effort, A Fine Balance 20 Jun. 2006
By James E. Rodehaver - Published on
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.
Back in the Chace 20 Nov. 2007
By lb136 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Greg Rucka's "Private Wars" picks up precisely where "A Gentleman's Game" left off, with an exhausted and depressed British spy, Tara Chase, returning to her intel job as "Minder One" (aka chief assassin). But not for long. Denied a leave of absence when she becomes pregnant, she quits. But within a year, despite her new motherhood, she returns to the game to try to set things right in Uzbekistan, where an evil sister contends with a self-righteous brother for the job of President (probably for life) as their father lies dying.

Betrayed by her own agency as well as the U.S. CIA, she . . . well, read it for yourself. To say more would be to spoil things. Suffice it to say here that nothing goes as planned.

The book is, in addition to a great suspense novel, a great character study. Tara Chase (and I hope Mr. Rucka has more tales to tell about her), despite her graphic-novel origins, emerges in the novels as a living, breathing character. She's flawed, of course (maybe half crazy), and maybe you'll wonder at the morals of a woman who would leave a 16-month old child with caregivers while she goes off on missions that perhaps she will not return from. And her intel bosses seem more interested in scheming for power than in righting wrongs. (The whole mission begins because of the attempt by one British intelligence officer, who wants to keep his job, to bring down another.)

The ending is beyond cynical.
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