TARA CHACE

 
Full Name: Tara Chace
Series Name: Queen and Country
Codename: Minder One
Nationality: British
Organization: British Intelligence
Occupation Agent

Creator: Greg Rucka
Time Span: 2001 - 2010
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Chace is an agent for MI-6.
       She is a Minder for that agency. In the parlance of this series, a Minder is a person sent in when things have gone terribly wrong and the only way to resolve it is to eliminate someone. Often referred to as wet works, she kills people for "Queen and Country". That term is in quotes because that is the name the author has given the series.
       Designated Minder-Two as the series starts, she is one of three operatives who work as a 'group' although each spends more time on solo operations than in a combined setting. As the series progresses, she is moved to the Minder-One position and takes on the senior role. In all cases, she is under the directorship of a very experienced former agent named Crocker.
       As Minder-One, she plans the assignments and takes the point, being the best trained. Though she works hard to make sure she and her two co-workers get out alive, she never forgets that it is the mission that comes first.
       Chace learned at a young age to take care of herself. When her parents divorced when she was ten, she was shipped off to boarding school where the new kid is inevitably the one picked on. She didn't take kindly to it and learned to fight back, learned to keep her eyes sharp, and learned that she needed to rely on herself first and foremost. She went to college at Cambridge and it was during her final year there that she was recruited by SIS.
       The training they put her through was intensive as they were looking for a smart, pretty, resourceful female agent and they wanted her to stay alive long enough to be of use to them. She learned well and was one of their best students. Despite that, the real world of covert work proved that the school that teaches best is called "hard knocks". In her duties she has been beaten up too many times, tortured a time or two, and nearly killed or "worse" on occassion.
       Since what "doesn't kill you makes you stronger", Chace has become quite strong. You have to be to get to the position of top Minder for the British government.

BOOKS

Number of Books:3
First Appearance:2004
Last Appearance:2010

       The character of Tara Chace and her companions, Crocker, Wallace, and Kittering, got their start in the pages of the Queen and Country comic book series, not the novels listed here. That said, you do not need to read them first to get a great deal of pleasure from the books. They hold their own and then some.
       I had read the first two before I got to read the comics and loved the books. Then I read the comics and grew to love the character even more. The third book was especially a treat.

1 A Gentleman's Game A Gentleman's Game
Written by Greg Rucka
Copyright: 2004

It is Tara Chace's job to lead the retaliation for terrorist attacks in London but when they take the team to the Middle East, she finds herself in a place where no one can help her when things go bad. And things go very bad.

2 Private Wars Private Wars
Written by Greg Rucka
Copyright: 2005

Though she was no longer in favor with the bosses at MI-6, Tara Chace was still the one they chose to drop in the middle of the civil war in Uzbekistan, working with a man she wasn't ready to trust.

3 The Last Run The Last Run
Written by Greg Rucka
Copyright: 2010

Tara Chace has decided she has had enough. Wanting to give her young child a proper home, she is ready to resign but her boss has one last job - heading to Tehran to find and pull out a high-profile defector with everyone in the country it seems gunning for her.

COMIC BOOKS AND GRAPHIC NOVELS

Number of Issues:41
First Appearance:2001
Last Appearance:2007

       The comic publisher Oni Press, Inc. had existed for about 4 years when they accepted an idea from author Greg Rucka for a series about the operations of a trio of operatives nicknamed 'Minders' working in the British Intelligence. The comic series was entitled 'Queen and Country'.
       The lead character in the group was Tara Chace though I am not sure if at the beginning of the creating process she was specifically the star. She certainly became it as her character's moxie and ingenuity became known. While it was her adventures that took center stage, there were other charactes who were given decent coverage.
       The series lasted 32 issues, running from 2001 to 2007, often with several months between releases. They made up 7 different 'operations' of 3-5 issues each with one lone issue not part of any ongoing operation. Even as the last of the issues was going to press, the publisher had started releasing collections of these operations in trade paperbacks.

       Also nearing the end of the original run of the comic, three spin-offs, designated 'Queen and Country: Declassified' were produced, each consisting of three issues. They did not contain the main character but instead concentrated on a different side character from the original series, one for each of the three-packs. The first two of these were written by Greg Rucka and the third was written by Antony Johnston with Mr. Rucka's blessing.

       All the comics in the 'Q&C', or Tara Chace, series, were in black and white, often minimalistic in detail but able to convey the atmosphere of any scene in an instant, a remarkable job done by the illustrators. The covers were all in color and had a style quite different from the pages inside.

1 Queen and Country 1 Queen and Country 1
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Steve Rolston (illustrator), Sean Konot (letterer), Tim Sale (cover artist), Matthew Hollingsworth (cover colorer)
Copyright: 03/01/2001

Book 1 of 4 of Operation Broken Ground. Tara Chace is in Kosovo taking out a retired Russian general who is now part of the Mob.

2 Queen and Country 2 Queen and Country 2
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Steve Rolston (illustrator), Sean Konot (letterer), Tim Sale (cover artist), Matthew Hollingsworth (cover colorer)
Copyright: 05/01/2001

Book 2 of 4 of Operation Broken Ground. Angered at the killing of the general, the Russian mafiya attacks SIS headquarters.

3 Queen and Country 3 Queen and Country 3
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Steve Rolston (illustrator), Sean Konot (letterer), Tim Sale (cover artist), Matthew Hollingsworth (cover colorer)
Copyright: 07/01/2001

Book 3 of 4 of Operation Broken Ground. The hit on SIS HQ was part of a contract on Tara Chace's life. Her boss is ordered to calm things down when he wants escalation.

4 Queen and Country 4 Queen and Country 4
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Steve Rolston (illustrator), Sean Konot (letterer), Tim Sale (cover artist), Matthew Hollingsworth (cover colorer)
Copyright: 09/01/2001

Book 4 of 4 of Operation Broken Ground. Ordered to not use weapons, Tara Chace and the other Minders seem to be defenseless when the Russian Mob makes its major attack.

5 Queen and Country 5 Queen and Country 5
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Brian Hurtt (penciller)
Copyright: 12/01/2001

Book 1 of 3 of Operation Morningstar. The Taliban in Afghanistan have grabbed a group of Westeners and charged them as spies. Unfortunately for the SIS, one really is. Tara Chace wants to go in but is denied.

6 Queen and Country 6 Queen and Country 6
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Brian Hurtt (penciller), Christine Norrie (inker), Sean Konot (letterer), John K. Snyder III (cover artist)
Copyright: 01/01/2002

Book 2 of 3 of Operation Morningstar. With Agents Wallace and Kittering off to Afghanistan to get hidden info, Tara Chace needs a distraction and a night on the town seems appropriate.

7 Queen and Country 7 Queen and Country 7
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Sean Konot (letterer), John K. Snyder III (cover artist), Greg Rucka (writer), Brian Hurtt (penciller), Christine Norrie (inker)
Copyright: 04/01/2002

Book 3 of 3 of Operation Morningstar. Wallace and Kittering need help finding the missing info in Kabul and their time is running out. Tara Chace has the answer to their dilemma but only if she realizes it in time

8 Queen and Country 8 Queen and Country 8
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Leandro Fernandez (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 05/01/2002

Book 1 of 5 of Operation Crystal Ball. All of the Intelligence agencies are on high alert after 9/11. As they learn of something else very big in the works, Tara Chace is sent to Cairo to meet a man who has a lead.

9 Queen and Country 9 Queen and Country 9
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Leandro Fernandez (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 06/01/2002

Book 2 of 5 of Operation Crystal Ball. Though she has gotten information about a Lebanese terrorist planning a huge attack but the accuracy of the info and the motives of the informer are both open to debate.

10 Queen and Country 10 Queen and Country 10
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Leandro Fernandez (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 07/01/2002

Book 3 of 5 of Operation Crystal Ball. It falls, literally, to Kittering to parachute at 10k over Northern Iraq to check on the accuracy of the info Chace obtained even as she prepares to head to Rome to meet her informer again.

11 Queen and Country 11 Queen and Country 11
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Leandro Fernandez (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 08/01/2002

Book 4 of 5 of Operation Crystal Ball. Chace is encountering numerous problems as she returns to London. Her informant is missing, the terrorists are after her, and one of her teammates, Kittering, is smitten with her and it shows.

12 Queen and Country 12 Queen and Country 12
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Leandro Fernandez (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 10/01/2002

Book 5 of 5 of Operation Crystal Ball. To resolve the uncovered terrorist plot, Chace is sent back to Egypt to take on part of the gang while her colleague, Wallace, is headed to Sarajevo. Both must finish their jobs or thousands will die.

13 Queen and Country 13 Queen and Country 13
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Jason Alexander (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 01/01/2003

Book 1 of 3 of Operation Blackwall. As Crocker spends some time in the States, Wallace is running the show and the Minders have to deal with a very influential British subject who has gotten into trouble in France.

14 Queen and Country 14 Queen and Country 14
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Jason Alexander (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 01/01/2003

Book 2 of 3 of Operation Blackwall. The billionaire in trouble is being forced by the French government to give to them a major contract of a sex tape of his daughter will be released. Tara Chace is assigned to get the tape back.

15 Queen and Country 15 Queen and Country 15
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Jason Alexander (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 03/01/2003

Book 3 of 3 of Operation Blackwall. As the real culprit behind the extortion steps forward, the chances of solving the situation look especially slim.

16 Queen and Country 16 Queen and Country 16
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Carla Speed McNeil (illustrator), Carla Speed McNeil (letterer)
Copyright: 05/01/2003

Book 1 of 5 of Operation Stormfront. Things are changing in the world of the Minders. There is a switching of personnel even as they learn that a friend's son has been kidnapped.

17 Queen and Country 17 Queen and Country 17
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Carla Speed McNeil (illustrator), Carla Speed McNeil (letterer)
Copyright: 07/01/2003

Book 2 of 5 of Operation Stormfront. A new Minder joins the team but before that person can get the least settled in, he is sent on what amounts to a personal mission for Crocker.

18 Queen and Country 18 Queen and Country 18
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Carla Speed McNeil (illustrator), Carla Speed McNeil (letterer)
Copyright: 10/01/2003

Book 3 of 5 of Operation Stormfront. Tara Chace and the new Minder are in Russia to look into a kidnapping but they find the citizens respond with guns to their questions.

19 Queen and Country 19 Queen and Country 19
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Carla Speed McNeil (illustrator), Carla Speed McNeil (letterer)
Copyright: 10/01/2003

Book 4 of 5 of Operation Stormfront. Suddenly on her own in T'blisi, Tara Chace must make decisions that could affect things back home and in London Crocker must decide what is really important.

20 Queen and Country 20 Queen and Country 20
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Carla Speed McNeil (illustrator), Carla Speed McNeil (letterer)
Copyright: 11/01/2003

Book 5 of 5 of Operation Stormfront. The mission Tara Chace was on in Russia was the result of a debt Crocker had from years before and now as trouble reaches a crisis, she may pay for his problem.

21 Queen and Country 21 Queen and Country 21
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Hawthorne (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 11/01/2003

Book 1 of 4 of Operation Dandelion. Faced with extreme upheaval in her life and career, Tara Chace must make some major decisions about where she goes from here.

22 Queen and Country 22 Queen and Country 22
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Hawthorne (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 12/01/2003

Book 2 of 4 of Operation Dandelion. The power shifts in the upper levels of the Department leaves Crocker teetering and it is up to Tara Chace and Wallace to take care of a tricky assignment that could help decide things in their favor.

23 Queen and Country 23 Queen and Country 23
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Hawthorne (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 02/01/2004

Book 3 of 4 of Operation Dandelion. Crocker's new boss is an old enemy. Tara Chace must investigate as part of one of his special assignments as a new Minder joins the team.

24 Queen and Country 24 Queen and Country 24
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Hawthorne (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 02/01/2004

Book 4 of 4 of Operation Dandelion. Someone not exactly friendly to the Minders learns they have been handling assignments in Britain which is against the rules and he is out to get them.

25 Queen and Country 25 Queen and Country 25
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Steve Rolston (illustrator), Mike Norton (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Guy Major (cover colorer)
Copyright: 06/01/2004

Special One-Shot. Tara Chace is in terrible need of a break so she decides a trip to the Alps is in order. This is a double-sized issue detailing her escapades.

26 Queen and Country 26 Queen and Country 26
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Norton (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Norton (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer)
Copyright: 07/01/2004

Book 1 of 3 of Operation Saddlebag. Now holding the title and position of Minder One, Tara Chace must find and recover some government documents which should have never left the country. She must take with her a new Minder Three and keep them both alive.

27 Queen and Country 27 Queen and Country 27
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Norton (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Dave Stewart (cover colorer)
Copyright: 09/01/2004

Book 2 of 3 of Operation Saddlebag. In St. Petersburg, Tara Chace and Minder Chris Lankford are out to get classified documents that a major British politician is selling to the Russian Mob.

28 Queen and Country 28 Queen and Country 28
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Mike Norton (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Dave Stewart (cover colorer)
Copyright: 11/01/2004

Book 3 of 3 of Operation Saddlebag. The trouble that new Minder Three Lankford has created for himself do not seem to have an end. He must worry about the Russian Mob who want him dead and an annoyed Tara Chace, something just as bad.

29 Queen and Country 29 Queen and Country 29
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Chris Samnee (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Brian Hurtt (cover artist)
Copyright: 03/01/2006

Book 1 of 4 of Operation Red Panda. As she begins a new assignment, Tara Chace must take time to deal with the issues, professional and personal, that resulted in her last assignment.

30 Queen and Country 30 Queen and Country 30
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Chris Samnee (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Brian Hurtt (cover artist)
Copyright: 05/01/2006

Book 2 of 4 of Operation Red Panda. The results of her last mission (told in the novel A Gentleman's Game) has her and her people wondering if she still can do her job. She is sent to the Middle East on a task that will help see.

31 Queen and Country 31 Queen and Country 31
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Chris Samnee (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Brian Hurtt (cover artist)
Copyright: 07/01/2006

Book 3 of 4 of Operation Red Panda. It falls to the Minders to head to Iraq where a major Iraqi government official is possibly giving secrets of the Western forces to insurgents. If true, they must take him out.

32 Queen and Country 32 Queen and Country 32
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Chris Samnee (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Brian Hurtt (cover artist)
Copyright: 01/01/2007

Book 4 of 4 of Operation Red Panda. The years of dealing with wet work are taking a major toll on Tara Chace and she must make some tough decisions about her job and her life.

33 Q&C Declassified I 1 Q&C Declassified I 1
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Brian Hurtt (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Scott Morse (cover artist)
Copyright: 11/01/2002

Book 1 of 3 of Declassified I. A young, novice secret agent, Paul Crocker is suffering from a failed attempt to smuggle a defector from East Berlin. A second chance with another defector, this time in Prague, could make or break his career and his life.

34 Q&C Declassified I 2 Q&C Declassified I 2
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Brian Hurtt (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Scott Morse (cover artist)
Copyright: 12/01/2002

Book 2 of 3 of Declassified I. To save his career, Paul Crocker has gone to Prague but it costs him his wife and family. Now behind the Iron Curtain, one Minder is dead and Crocker is soon to be another.

35 Q&C Declassified I 3 Q&C Declassified I 3
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Brian Hurtt (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Scott Morse (cover artist)
Copyright: 01/01/2003

Book 3 of 3 of Declassified I. All the plans to get the defector out have gone wrong and the mission is in shambles unless Crocker takes a tremendous gamble from which there are no second chances.

36 Q&C Declassified II 1 Q&C Declassified II 1
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Rick Burchett (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Rick Burchett (cover artist), Don Secrease (cover artist)
Copyright: 12/01/2004

Book 1 of 3 of Declassified II. For most of Tara Chace's career, Tom Wallace has been the Head that called the shots. Before that, though, he had his own beginnings and this tells such a tale

37 Q&C Declassified II 2 Q&C Declassified II 2
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Rick Burchett (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Rick Burchett (cover artist), Don Secrease (cover artist)
Copyright: 09/01/2005

Book 2 of 3 of Declassified II. On one of his first missions, Wallace is in Hong Kong as it passes to Chinese control. He must complete his mission before he becomes a foreigner in that island colony.

38 Q&C Declassified II 3 Q&C Declassified II 3
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Greg Rucka (writer), Rick Burchett (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Rick Burchett (cover artist), Don Secrease (cover artist)
Copyright: 01/01/2006

Book 3 of 3 of Declassified II. Faced with the murder of the second in command at MI6 as China takes control of Hong Kong, Wallace realizes he holds information about a conspiracy far beyond anything he thought.

39 Q&C Declassified III 1 Q&C Declassified III 1
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Antony Johnston (writer), Christopher Mitten (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Christopher Mitten (cover artist)
Copyright: 05/01/2005

Book 1 of 3 of Declassified III - Sons & Daughters. As politician Lauren Mullen prepares to seek higher office in Northern Ireland, the man who killed her father decides he needs to finish the job.

39 Q&C Declassified III 2 Q&C Declassified III 2
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Antony Johnston (writer), Christopher Mitten (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Christopher Mitten (cover artist)
Copyright: 06/01/2005

Book 2 of 3 of Declassified III - Sons & Daughters. Former SAS officer and now a Minder, Nicholas Poole is smart and good at his job but somewhat naive when dealing with the political scene and that ignorance can get him killed.

40 Q&C Declassified III 3 Q&C Declassified III 3
Published by Oni Press
Contributors: Antony Johnston (writer), Christopher Mitten (illustrator), John Dranski (letterer), Christopher Mitten (cover artist)
Copyright: 07/01/2005

Book 3 of 3 of Declassified III - Sons & Daughters. As things come to a close with a psychotic killer on his tail, Poole must risk everything to save the life of Lauren Mullen, someone he does not know as well as he thinks.

MY COMMENTS

       Mr. Rucka's background in game design and comic book writing makes him an expert at pacing, which clearly show up in these books. Brevity is also important but he does not sacrifice much to keep the story going. A bit more information into the past of Tara Chace would have been interesting but that is just imho.
       According to the author, the concept of the Minder service came to him from watching the British television series The Sandbaggers, a spy drama that the Chace books have a similarity to. It is important to note that this tv show served as inspiration only. I watched it while stationed in Scotland and Tara Chace is a unique character and the books and comics totally their own. Since I greatly enjoyed that tv show, though, I can see how it could inspire a young writer.
       The concept of the Minders and Tara Chace in particular got their start in the comics. The terrific books came after. It is possible to enjoy one media without the other, i.e., books without the comics, but if you get the chance, read them all. Better yet, read them in the 'official' order of:
       Comic arc - Operation: Broken Ground
       Comic arc - Operation: Morningstar
       Comic arc - Operation: Crystal Ball
       Comic arc - Operation: Blackwall
       Comic arc - Operation: Stormfront
       Comic arc - Operation: Dandelion
       Comic arc - Issue #25
       Comic arc - Operation: Saddlebags
       Novel - A Gentleman's Game
       Comic arc - Operation: Red Panda
       Novel - Private Wars
       Novel - The Last Run
       
       The related Declassified arcs should be read after the above.

       I became a fan of author Greg Rucka through these books and comics. That got me to read his more well-known PI series about Attikus Kodiak. I turned into a fan for life. The man can really, really tell a story and keep you hooked.
       Moreover, I really, really liked Ms Chace. I wouldn't mind her minding me. Of course, I wouldn't want her to hear me saying it!

GRADE

My Grade: A-

Your Average Grade:   A+

YOUR OPINIONS
blackprince A+ 8/11/2014 2:31:29 PM

Greg Rucka is a master storyteller regardless of the medium. I first became a fan of his writing through some of the comics he has written. He has won the Eisner Award (the comics industry's equivalent of the Oscars) multiple times, including for his Queen & Country comics series. Rucka effortlessly blends action, attention to detail and realism to portray the life of Tara Chace -- one of the British Special Information Section's Minders, i.e., an elite operative sent into the most dangerous situations to accomplish the most sensitive missions. The comics are great, but the Queen and Country novels are even better!


mhyoung A+ 9/21/2014 6:30:25 AM

Love Tara. I picked up the first of the novels on a whim, and was instantly hooked. Read all three in succession and hated when the last one ended. Mr. Rucka is an outstanding author and all his action novels are great!


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