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Full Name: Ruby Parker
Nationality: British
Organization: MI-7
Occupation Spymaster

Creator: James Ward
Time Span: 2014 - 2016


Ruby Parker is a spymaster at MI-7.

In the cloak and dagger world that Parker inhabits, most people still believe that the two British intelligence agencies, MI5 for internal security and MI-6 for external intel gathering, are still separate but in reality, they all work under the same umbrella and Parker is one of the holders of that instrument.

This has to be considered phenomenal because in the Intelligence community, the top positions across the board have been routinely controlled by white men. She is a black woman. Further remarkable is that most in authority got there by way of knowing someone or having helped someone at the right time in the right way and as a result got a seat at the table. She got there because she was gutsy and tough and had enough successes that some man could not steal credit for that people had to notice her.

She is not alone, though. She is known "in some quarters as the Red Maiden". According to Parker, MI-7 is made up of a number of 'levels'. The White Maiden operates what the public sees as MI-5 and MI-6. Under her are the Red, Blue, Grey, and Black Maidens. Although that sounds like they are all female, she points out it is a title, not a denotation of sex. The part of the Red Maiden, in this case Parker, in the whole process is to "disrupt despotic and protect democratic regimes".

Parker is in her mid to late 50's. She runs the show with the same way she dresses - plain, functional, and stylish on to a point. She is a bit heavier than she was in her younger days as a field agent and would not pretend to be a physically able as she once was but what she has lost in agility, she more than makes up for in experience.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2014
Last Appearance:2016

From the website for this series:

"Tales of MI7 is an open-ended series of full-length novels about a group of spies and their adversaries in 21st century Britain. Each volume is broadly independent of the others, although some continuity is, of course, unavoidable. The series aims to deal with the possibilities and pitfalls of real developments in recent global and domestic politics. From tax avoidance to Brexit, from Putin's Russia to the Taliban and ISIS, from London to Afghanistan to the Siberian mountains, these are espionage novels that prove realism and pessimism don't always go together."

The giving the series name to Ruby Parker was my decision because I liked the fact that she was such a solid, interesting character, albeit not on the stage as often as I would like. She is the lynch-pin that holds the first three stories together.

After these books, the Tales of MI-7 continued but the author used as the central character for those John Mordred and so the rest of the adventures are under his name.

1 Our Woman In Jamaica Our Woman In Jamaica
Written by James Ward
Copyright: 2016

A prequel. The year is 1980. The location is Jamaica. The coming election looks good for the ruling party which would mean strengthening ties with the Soviet Union and Cuba, as well as with communists groups like the Sandinistas. Britain would like that changed but there is only one person that stood a chance of success, a 25-years old Ruby Parker, but MI-6 wanst nothing to do with her again. They have no choice.
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2 The Kramski Case The Kramski Case
Written by James Ward
Copyright: 2014

The year is 2010. A lot of celebrities would like to shoot the paparazzi but someone is actually doing it in three different countries. This attracts the attention of MI-7 because it looks like the work of Dmitri Vassyli Kramski, a retired SVR operative who remains very friendly with the Kremlin. At first it looked as though Putin was behind it all but then evidence indicates the Kremlin is a confused as anyone.
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3 The Girl from Kandahar The Girl from Kandahar
Written by James Ward
Copyright: 2014

A British intelligence officer, undercover in Afghanistan, was killed in a drone strike, or so says the record. Her body was not recovered. Back in London, her husband, an agent with MI-7, is working with the police to stop an Islamic terrorist plot to bomb the city and there is evidence one of the bombers is his deceased wife.
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4 The Vengeance of San Gennaro The Vengeance of San Gennaro
Written by James Ward
Copyright: 2014

In Italy, Giuditta Cancellieri is a famous painter getting even more attention for a series of paintings no one is allowed to see because they supposedly show powerful gangsters and politicians in compromising positions. This is interesting to MI-7 because the artist is connected to one of the agency's oldest enemies. MI-7 agent Gavin Freedman is sent to look into things, not knowing the artist has plans for him.
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I was impressed with the writing style of the author from the first book and that never stopped. Quite solid plotting, a narrative that kept the plot moving, and some characters who were interesting. I latched onto Ruby Parker because she was unique and so dominating; a black woman who was so secure in her own command of the situation she naturally convinced others to follow. I would have loved her to have a bigger role but it made sense that she was no longer a field agent and the action was out there in the field.

That made me very happy when she got her own, earlier-in-my-life story and it was very, very good.


My Grade: A-


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