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The Last Run (Queen & Country Novels)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2011
The Queen and Country series of novels is based on a comic book series of the same name. This makes it somewhat ironic that these stories (including the comic book series) are far more grittier and realistic than most any other thrillers on the best seller lists, whose main characters are often superhero agents or soldiers. But there is nothing over-the-top about this series. His characters are imperfect, doubting, fallible human beings, and the missions they undertake are always rooted in intelligence operations more likely to occur in the real world. Even the enemies are not presented as evil villains with no redeemable features.

Greg Rucka weaves a tense, complex, and layered story of espionage and politics out of a seemingly simple plot. In Last Run, it's a covert operation by British intelligence to exfiltrate an agent from Iran. We see this operation unfold every step of the way from the viewpoint of the operators on the ground to the support staff working behind the scenes on both the British and Iranian sides. Despite being an American, Rucka provides a very (seemingly) realistic portrayal of British intelligence, and the subplots with the headquarters staff and bureaucratic infighting read like Gerald Seymour.

Rucka is an immensely talented writer. His pacing and plotting are impeccable. His writing is crisp and tight, always showing instead of telling. His characters are real people. He clearly has an excellent grasp of his subject matter, but doesn't fill pages with unnecessary dumps of information or technical details. While the overall tone and theme of this book indicates it may be Tara Chace's last mission, hopefully he will continue the series in either novel or comic form.
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The final episode in a trilogy I have really enjoyed. I have seen the odd review that suggests the author fails to capture a very British organisation (the Secret Intelligence Agency) or the British culture, I would completely disagree as I think it has been captured perfectly.

In The Last Run, Tara Chace is feeling her age and the challenges of being a front line agent. As she seeks to resign, she is convinced to undertake one last mission, bringing out a sleeper agent from Iran. But nothing is ever simple and she finds herself caught between different agendas and is the expendable component in the middle. Clever writing, strong plotting and great characters.

For those who like these kind of thrillers, especially with a strong female lead, this is highly recommended.
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