Rucka, Greg. A Gentleman's Game. Bantam. Oct. 2004. 352p. ISBN 0-553-80276-3. $24. Fiction.

Based on the award-winning graphic novel series "Queen & Country," this special-ops thriller stars MI6's top agent, Tara Chace. A terrorist attack on the London Underground has killed over 370 civilians, and Her Majesty's government has asked for retaliation. Chace's assassination of the imam who inspires the Wahhabist terrorist organization held responsible for the attack leads only to further problems when a Saudi prince is also killed. In other hands, this conflict between the worlds of British intelligence and Islamic fanaticism might have seemed stale; in Rucka's, the terrorist element is developed with noteworthy freshness, owing both to the author's thorough research and his portrayal of Sinan bin al-Baari (a.k.a. William Leacock), a fanatical convert to Islam. After the government decides to sacrifice Chace to the Saudis, she goes rogue, and the only way back brings her to a terrorist camp in the Saudi desert and a final confrontation with Sinan himself. Rucka's (A Fistful of Rain) seventh novel is his best yet, a skillful blend of intriguing characters, gripping action, and a highly charged atmosphere. Highly recommended.

LJ, 129, no. 14 (September 1, 2004), 142.

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