THE LAST RUN by Greg Rucka
“I speak, Miss Chace, of a lifetime of service, of challenge and sacrifice that will be known to only a very few at the highest levels of Government. It is a life without public recognition, without common reward, but it is, at its heart, greater and more vital. A secret life, to be sure, but one where what you do and say canâ€”not to overstate itâ€”alter the course of history.”
Review by Eleanor Bukowsky Â (NOV 5, 2010)
The Last Run, by Greg Rucka, is the third in his Queen and Country series featuring Tara Chace, a tough-minded and fiercely independent protagonist. Chace’s life has not been a walk in the park. She had to grow up quickly; her parents separated when she was ten years old. She was forced to leave her home in Switzerland and attend an English boarding school. During her last year in Cambridge, she was recruited by Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service. Tara agreed to join the Firm as a fledgling spy who, thanks to her sharp mind, fluency in four languages, and incredibly quick learning curve, became a Minder or Special Operations Officer. She learned every aspect of tradecraft, but even her consummate skill did not protect her from being “stripped, beaten, tortured, and nearly raped in Uzbekistan.” She survived, and managed to work her way up Head of Section for the SIS, under the supervision of Paul Crocker, Director of Operations.
After spending nearly a decade at Vauxhill Cross, Chace declares that she has “outlived [her] operational usefulness to the Firm.” As a single parent of a five-year-old daughter, Tara wants to spend more time at home, and is willing to stick around only until the necessary personnel changes can be made. However, her plan to leave Special Operations for a less stressful and time-consuming job may have to be put on hold. It seems that a high-level target from an important Iranian family wants to defect to the West, and Tara may be the only individual who can be trusted to extract him successfully.
Although Crocker wants to keep Tara from embarking on a potentially dangerous mission, he must answer to Chief of Service Alison Gordon-Palmer, known as “C,” a self-serving woman whose main concerns are her government’s image and her own reputation. It is her firm belief that the well-being of British assets must occasionally be sacrificed in the national interest. When conditions in Iran become unstable, Tara and her colleagues must face the possibility that they will be written off as collateral damage.
This is a succinctly written, suspenseful, and fast paced novel, with a large cast of well-defined characters, evocative settings, and an ingeniously constructed plot. Rucka includes all of the elements that aficionados of this genre adore, including cryptography, surveillance, chase sequences, gunplay, and a final twist that few will see coming. The author moves back and forth between England and Iran, manipulating his chess pieces brilliantly and keeping the adrenaline level high. Everything works: the dialogue is sharp, the premise is intricate but believable, and the book’s climax is so tense that it is impossible to put the novel aside until the story is played out. The Last Run is a realistic and timely espionage thriller that is arguably one of Rucka’s best works of fiction to date.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 6 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Bantam (October 26, 2010)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Greg Rucka|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of the previous Queen & Country:
and an Atticus Kodiak novel:
- Keeper (1996)
- Finder (1997)
- Smoker (1998)
- Shooting at Midnight (1999)
- Critical Space (2001)
- Patriot Acts (August 2007)
Queen & Country:
- Whiteout (2009)