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Book: Private Wars

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I was a bit hesitant about reading Greg Rucka's second foray into Queen and Country novel territory, Private Wars. After all, within a couple hours of my finishing the first novel, Gentleman's Game, the London subway attacks that he imagined in the book became headline news. You could say that I was worried about picking up the second book and having real-life and fiction yet again confused, but the fact is what makes Rucka's Queen and Country novels so compelling is that they are able to spin together the current geopolitical climate and the spy novel genre together such that what is written may become true by virtue of it already sitting so close to reality. The Iraq War and Afghanistan figure heavily into the backdrop for this book, and at least one character in Private Wars appears to share some loose modelling on an Iraq War figure -- Kenneth Garret seems based on Jay Garner, at least in that they share a "fuck off/shut the fuck up" anecdote with a neocon.

There was less worry for me when found out that the main setting for the book wasn't a terrorist attack but an extraction operation in Uzbekistan. Though unpleasant doesn't begin to describe the facts I learned about torture there, as well as the fact that the US looks the other way and may have used Uzbekistan for its secret prisons, its more of a sad truth, rather than new tragedy.

Within this setting, Rucka puts together the pieces strewn around by Gentleman's Game. I won't spoil what happens in this novel nor the one before it, but I will say that I enjoyed Private Wars even more than Gentleman's Game; there was a high degree of satisfication in how Rucka put together the leftover pieces of the previous novel and combined them within his new plot. Although Private Wars has the same mission-based skeleton of the Queen and Country graphic novels, Rucka gave his characters a chance to grow and express themselves in ways that would have been difficult in a graphic novel or at least challenged an artist with sheer page count. Rucka has given Tara Chace far more character development with these two novels and the end result is that both media improve the other.

I don't know what these books would be like if you didn't read the Queen and Country graphic novels, but I would recommend at least reading through Gentleman's Game first as it sets up this novel and it wouldn't hurt to read the first couple graphic novels to get more background on Tara Chace. If you're like me, you'll end up buying the rest of the Queen and Country graphic novels in quick succession.

Try before you buy: Bookreporter has the first several chapters

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on September 11, 2006 11:53 PM.

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