Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1101. A Gentleman's Game: A Queen and Country Novel

A Gentleman's Game

I have never previously read any books by Greg Rucka, a rather prolific writer who is well known for his Comics/Graphic Novel writing. He also has a recent novel out that has received some pretty good reviews, and on that alone, I put it on my "Want to Read" List, but have not purchased it. The characters in this novel are based on some Comics he wrote for Oni Press back a few years ago. Once again, I have to say that I have no knowledge of these Comic Books (more appropriately "Illustrated Books", because "comic" is such a childish term, but that's a discussion for another time....)

The book is the story of an espionage agent of the British Secret Intelligent Services (SIS) by the name of Tara Chase. She holds the position of Minder One, sort of a 001 (yes, even better than 007). She's not only a spy, she's also an infiltrator, an assassin, a lover when she needs to be and more. Tara does not play by any rules, but her own -- yes, I know, that's from the cover blurb, but it is apropos. In this book, we're living in a post-9/11 world, and the London subway is attacked... I wonder when Greg Rucka wrote the book and published it in October of 2004, if the London authorities were paying attention to the vulnerabilities of their subway system. Within 10 months, the system was actually hit for real.

At any rate, the SIS is called upon by the HMG (Her Majesty's Government) to respond to the attacks by the radical Islamist faction that is responsible for carrying them out. That's when the real high stakes game begins. There is a lot of political back and forth, because of the players involved, but some back-stabbing takes place as well. Will the British Government do what's necessary in the end? How about the Americans? Where do they stand in this? In an interesting twist, the terrorists are not painted in simple tones and wide brushstrokes, but are actually fleshed-out a bit. There are even a couple of Israeli Operatives with roles to play.

Yes, there are things not to like about this book, but overall, this is a pretty good adventure/thriller/spy novel. Tara Chase is a convincing character, and you believe in her capabilities. In the end, this was a highly enjoyable read and I recommend it without hesitation. 4 stars out of 5.

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