That Amazonian killing machine, Brit spy Tara Chace, hasn’t lost a step though she’s now become a mom.
Having concluded an assignment in Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Secret Intelligence Service (A Gentleman’s Game, 2004, etc.), Chace returns to London, wrecked. There’s physical damage, yes—she’d been seriously wounded in a gun fight—but the emotional scarring goes deeper. In that same gun fight, Tom Wallace, colleague and lover, had been killed. Tom was also the father of her unborn child, Chace discovers. Time to pack it in, she tells herself. Motherhood’s a full-time job, and, oh, how she wants to do it. Except that she doesn’t really. Adrenaline junkie that she is, Chace needs the SIS as much as it needs her, which it does, desperately. In ever-troubled Uzbekistan, where that country’s Prime Minister is—in cynical SIS spy speak—“circling the drain,” a particular mess is brewing. The dying PM has two children, both of whom aspire to succeed him, presenting a political situation as extreme as it is muddy. Equally muddy, therefore, are British interests, and, as a consequence, the exact nature of the assignment handed to Chace. Some aspects of the assignment, however, do seem clear enough: She’s there, as usual, to catch a bad guy and shed his blood. In the meantime, back in London, the “private wars” have been heating up—those intense, internecine wars in which exceedingly ambitious people, struggling for position and power, take no prisoners. Chace, it turns out, is caught in the middle.
Overcomplicated, of course—it’s a spy novel—but the action bristles and Rucka’s way with amoral characters continues to seduce: Chace chases, chills and somehow charms.