Having submitted my nominations for Yuletide, and started to thin up prompts for my request, I figured I should do a series of individual promotional posts, in the unlikely event that one of my requests inspires someone to seek out the original source. And first, obviously, Queen & Country
What is it?
Queen and Country is a 32-issue comic and 3-novel series written by Greg Rucka and drawn by various artists including Bryan Lee O’Malley, Mike Norton, and covers by Tim Sale. The comics were published by Oni Press, and the three prose novels were published by Bantam in the US. The comics and the novels all take place in the same continuity: the first novel, A Gentleman’s Game, takes place between two comic arcs (and has a major effect on the characters), and the second and third novels take place after the comic series.
What is it about?
Inspired by the ITV series The Sandbaggers, Queen & Country covers the exploits of MI6 agent Tara Chace and her colleagues, through the adventures and the internal and external politics of British Intelligence in the first decade of the twenty first century. Cheerfully calling out James Bond for being unrealistic and silly, Q&C is high risk spy drama without any of the glamorous sheen, and comes out all the sexier for it.
Why is it great?
Tara Chace is one of my favourite protagonists of all time. Stubborn, intelligent, with a massive chip on her shoulder and a boat load to prove, she walks that line on which she is incredibly good at a horrible job, and is torn between self loathing and pride in her work. If you, like me, have an enormous competence kink, you’ll be a fan of the time Tara kills a man with just a newspaper, or rescues herself from hostages at least twice, or performs emergency triage on herself while struggling with a collapsed lung.
Oh, and the other characters are great too: Tom Wallace, Tara’s immediate supervisor and Head of the Special Section, Paul Crocker, her boss and Director of Operations, who spends most of his time fighting bureaucrats to protect his Minders. Some others that it would be mildly spoilery to tell you about. All competent, all flawed, all interesting and fully realised characters.
But mostly, Tara fucking Chace.
How can I read it?
The Queen and Country comics are sadly not available in digital format right now. But you can buy the collected editions from Amazon.
(Vols 1 through 3 cover Tara Chace, Vol. 4 contains Queen & Country: Declassified with stories about Paul Crocker, Tom Wallace and Nicky Poole)
Amazon.co.uk: 1.Operation Broken Ground | 2. Operation Morning Star | 3. Operation Crystal Ball | 4. Operation Blackwall | 5. Operation Stormfront | 6. Operation Dandelion | 7. Operation Saddlebag | 8. Operation Red Panda
Declassified: 1. Paul Crocker | 2. Tom Wallace | 3. Nicky Poole
It is not necessary to read the comics before reading the novels, despite the fact that they come first, chronologically. The novels work perfectly as an individual body of work.