Greg Rucka – Queen & Country Vol. 1: Operation: Broken Ground
Length: 120 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Political/Spy story.
Started: 10 April 2010, hour sixteen of the readathon.
Finished: 11 April 2010, hour seventeen of the readathon.
Where did it come from? Borrowed from a friend.
Why do I have it? Said friend handed it to me and said “here, read this.”
Being a secret
agent: not as sexy as
James Bond makes it look.
Summary: Queen and Country follows the agents – known as “Minders” – of the Special Ops branch of MI-6, Britain’s Foreign Intelligence Service. The story opens with Minder Two, otherwise known as Tara Chace, in Kosovo on an unofficial and unauthorized assignment to assassinate a Russian mobster and warlord. The consequences of that mission are far-reaching, however, since the assassinated man had powerful friends, and they decide to strike back… targeted directly at MI-6, and at Chace in particular.
Review: Political, spy, and special ops thrillers are not my usual genre of choice; in fact, I think they’re probably on the far opposite end from my genres of choice. Therefore, I don’t know that I am in any place to judge this book relative to others in the genre; it could be grittily accurate or fantastically off-base, and I would never know. I’m sure that I missed a lot of the subtleties of the inter- and intra-departmental conflict that was going on, just because I’m not familiar with the world or with the lingo. (In fact, the only reason I was able to follow what was going on at all was that I’ve watched the first season of MI:5.) But, lacking any comparative context, I did enjoy the story well enough, and I particularly liked the characterization of Tara. The thoughts and motivations of the people carrying out the special ops are always more interesting to me than the ops themselves, and while the characterization hasn’t gotten too complex yet (it is still only Vol. 1), it’s got a good foundation laid, and I’d be interested to see where Rucka takes the characters in the future. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Queen and Country would be best for people who like spy thrillers, but it also might be worth checking out for those who still think that graphic novels are only for folks who like fantasy, sci-fi, and superheroes.
One More Note: I’m sure it’s because I’ve been rewatching Battlestar Galactica recently, but I was struck by the similarities between Tara Chace and Starbuck… both hard-living, hard-drinking, hard-edged tough girls who are blond, smart-mouthed, excellent sharpshooters, a bit nihilistic, and dedicated to their service… plus Starbuck’s real name is Kara Thrace. Coincidence?
Other Reviews: Adventures in Reading (covers Vol. 1 & 2)
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First Line: “…standing by…”
Cover Thoughts: Tara on the cover does not look much like Tara in the book, and the shadows make her look a little bit like she’s got smudgy mascara… but otherwise it’s fine.