[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Queen_and_Country_1.jpg]]

->''"There's a trick, they teach it to you at the School. When someone pulls a ''gun'' on you, they say...''charge'' at him like a bloody lunatic... It's the ''last'' thing they ''expect'' and most of them can't hit ''water'' from a ''submarine'' anyway...and repeat to yourself ''over'' and ''over'' that you're doing this for ''Queen'' and ''Country''."''\\
-- Tara Chace, "Operation: Broken Ground"

''Queen & Country'' is an Oni Press comic book and Bantam Publishing novel series written by Creator/GregRucka about a group of spies in the Special Operations Section of the British Secret Intelligence Service(MI-6), called "Minders". The main character is Tara Chace, Minder Two. The series is known for a few things: the ridiculous amount of [[ShownTheirWork research]] Rucka does for each issue, the series' [[SpiritualLicensee similarity]] to ''TheSandbaggers'', and just how realistic the whole thing is.

Characters in the series are:
* '''Tara Chace''': Main character. Blonde, beautiful, foul-mouthed, and very good at what she does. She begins the series as Minder Two.
* '''Tom Wallace:''' Minder One and the most senior Minder in the Pit (twelve years total, with six years as Minder One, which is very good considering how dangerous the job is).
* '''Ed Kittering:''' Minder Three and the most junior member. Still a little wet behind the ears and has a crush on Tara.
* '''Paul Crocker:''' Director of Operations (D-Ops), the head of the Special Operations division, the CynicalMentor to the entire team. He also cares very deeply about his operatives, but is perfectly willing to send them to their deaths if he has no other choice.
* '''Donald Weldon:''' Deputy Chief of Service, Crocker's boss. Gets into plenty of arguments with Crocker, but often backs him up.
* '''C:''' Chief of Service, everybody's boss, a position which is occupied by three people throughout the series.

The first series has finished with 32 issues, three prequel volumes, and three novels, (the comics nicely collected in four omnibus editions). ''Operation: Broken Ground'' was the first published, but chronologically, they go:
* ''Queen & Country Declassified Volume 1'' (Paul Crocker's backstory)
* ''Queen & Country Declassified Volume 2'' (Tom Wallace's backstory)
* ''Queen & Country Declassified Volume 3'' (Nick Poole's backstory)
* ''Operation: Broken Ground''
* ''Operation: Morning Star''
* ''Operation: Crystal Ball''
* ''Operation: Blackwall''
* ''Operation: Stormfront''
* ''Operation: Dandelion''
* ''Operation: Saddlebag''
* Novel: ''A Gentleman's Game''
* ''Operation: Red Panda''
* Novel: ''Private Wars''
* Novel: ''The Last Run''

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!Tropes used in this work:

* ActionGirl: Tara
* ActionMom: Massive spoiler: [[spoiler:Tara in ''Private Wars'' and ''The Last Run''.]]
* AnyoneCanDie: [[spoiler:Ed Kittering, Brian Butler, Tom Wallace.]]
* ArmourPiercingQuestion: In ''Private Wars'', Crocker offers Tara an "officially unofficial" assignment that will allow her to return to SIS. When she tells Valerie([[spoiler:Tom's mother, and Tamsin's grandmother]]), Valerie gently asks, given the nature of Tara's job(which she doesn't know about precisely, but does understand is highly dangerous) if Tara can guarantee she'll come back. When she realizes she can't say that, Tara breaks down in tears.
* ArtShift / DependingOnTheArtist: With ten different artists across the series, this was inevitable, so this trope can occasionally hit quite hard. Tara herself is depicted as everything from rather "girl next door", to attractive, to supermodel-gorgeous ([[FridgeLogic even wearing]] [[{{Stripperiffic}} crop tops into the office]]), but Tom Wallace seems to be the most commonly affected.
* BetrayalByInaction: [[spoiler: What Tara thinks Crocker did to her during the events of ''A Gentlemen's Game'', even though he gave her advance warning to go on the run when she was about to be arrested and turned over to the Saudi Arabians for execution. He later manages to convince her(truthfully) that he did everything he possibly could to help her, and that if he'd refused to do as told afterwards, C merely would have sent the order herself and removed Crocker from the equation, thus guaranteeing his being unable to assist her anymore.]]
* BritainIsOnlyLondon: Quite averted. Various installations all over the UK are depicted and Nick Poole has a history in UsefulNotes/NorthernIreland.
* BrokenAce: Tara is beautiful, witty, and ''very'' good at her (''extremely'' difficult) job. She's also plagued with self-loathing (particularly after being ordered or [[IDidWhatIHadToDo feeling compelled]] to commit [[ShootTheDog horrible-but-necessary acts]]) and has absolutely no life outside the job until [[spoiler: her daughter Tamsin is born.]]
* BrokenBird: Happens to Tara several times. The first is at the beginning of Operation: Stormfront, when her [[spoiler: ex-lover Ed Kittering dies]]. Happens a second time at the end of Operation: Saddlebag, when Crocker reprimands her for screwing up a mission, which drives her to a severe (even for her) drinking binge. The third is at the end of ''A Gentlemen's Game'' and into Operation: Red Panda, after she sees [[spoiler: her lover Tom Wallace murdered in front of her.]]
* ButICantBePregnant / SurprisePregnancy: [[spoiler: Tara after the events of ''A Gentlemen's Game'', when she finds out she's pregnant with her deceased lover Tom Wallace's child. She was on Depo-Provera, but apparently something went wrong.]]
* ColdSniper: Subverted - Tara is sent to murder a Russian mobster with a sniper rifle. She does the job cleanly and without hesitation, but afterward [[DrowningMySorrows drinks heavily]] and engages in other forms of self-abuse.
* DeadGuyJunior / MeaningfulName: [[spoiler: Tara's daughter Tamsin. Tamsin is a shortened form of Thomasina, the feminine version of Thomas, which was her father's name.]]
* DeadpanSnarker: Comes with the job when you cope with regularly risking your life and liberty [[TitleDrop for Queen and country.]]
* DirtyBusiness: All of the Minders are called on to do terrible things; none of them feel good about it. Much of the series shows Tara's resulting self-abuse and struggle with the psychological aftermath. (Ironically, stone-cold killers are the ''last'' thing Crocker wants for agents.)
-->'''Doctor Callard:''' You sent her to Kosovo to shoot a man in '''cold blood.''' You wouldn't want her in the Section if that '''didn't''' bother her.
* DoubleSubversion: In ''The Last Run'', [[spoiler: an Iranian SIS contact from nearly thirty years ago suddenly requests extraction. When it turns out to be a member of the Ayatollah Khameini's family, SIS and the CIA fall all over themselves to arrange it, with the CIA demanding that Tara be sent even though she's requested to be taken out of the field. She agrees, but it turns out that the head of VEVAK(Iranian intelligence) is blackmailing the contact and formulated a plan to use him to capture Chace, thereby gaining access(through torture) to all the sensitive information she knows. In the end, however, it turns out this was a smokescreen, as it is the VEVAK chief himself who wants to defect, and thought that his best chance was by joining forces with SIS's best agent.]]
* DownerEnding: A few times, things...don't end well. [[spoiler: ''A Gentleman's Game'' ends with Tom Wallace dead. ''Private Wars'' ends with the chessmaster of recent atrocities as President of Uzbekistan while Tara has to sacrifice more of her own soul to shoot the vengeful husband of the woman who'd been raped, tortured, and murdered at that President's behest to preserve stability in the region. In front of his own son. Only that Tara's daughter is waiting back home for her gives this a glint of light.]]
* EarnYourHappyEnding: In ''The Last Run'', Tara puts in a request to transfer from her position as Minder One to Mission Planning, believing that she's getting too old and too well-known to keep operating effectively, and with her daughter about to start school, wants to be there for her. She agrees to take one last mission, but it turns out to be a setup that gets her shot and nearly killed. Through a combination of circumstance, luck, and inter-agency cooperation, she manages to not only get home safely, but with a prize([[spoiler: the head of counterintelligence for the Iranian intelligence service, who had decided to defect) that gives the retiring and politically wounded Crocker enough leverage to name her his replacement as D-Ops, giving Tara the stability in life she wanted.]]
* EthicalSlut: Tara has sex with numerous partners, with little emotional connection; she hooks up with one guy just because he sits down next to her at a bar. The only men she has serious relationships are [[spoiler: Kittering and Wallace]], and those both end badly.[[spoiler: She breaks up with Kittering because he falls in love with her and she's afraid of falling in love with him, then several years later she and Wallace fall in love, but he's killed during a mission they're on. And she finds out soon afterward that she's pregnant.]]
* {{Expy}}: The series as a whole has a lot in common with ''TheSandbaggers'', but tends to slot characters into the same ''roles'' instead - most of the actual characters have significantly different life experiences. (That is, ''most''. Paul Crocker and Tom Wallace are obviously modeled on Neil Burnside and Willie Caine, respectively.) Chace is a Expy of [[ComicBook/{{Whiteout}} Lily Sharpe]], so much so that Rucka once jokingly suggested she ''was'' Lily (there's even a MythologyGag in the series to that effect), though he later disavowed this claim.
* FeelingTheirAge: Though she's only 33 or 34 at the time, normal aging and her many injuries have caused this to happen to Tara at the start of ''The Last Run''. For the first time ever, she fails part of the physical refresher course that all Minders have to take periodically, and she notices that her reflexes have begun to slow as well. She tenders her resignation from the post of Minder and requests a transfer to Mission Planning, pointing out that because of her length of service, she's effectively been compromised as an agent.
-->'''Tara:''' Nine years in the field, Paul. For Christ's sake, if there's an intelligence agency anywhere in the world that doesn't know who I am at this point, it's because they're not bloody trying.
* FiringOneHanded: And completely impractical, as shown with Russian gangsters.
-->'''Tom:''' It's ''Hollywood'' what does it, you ask me.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: William Leacock in ''A Gentlemen's Game''. Started out a harmless British kid, ended up as a bloodthirsty jihadi who murders his best friend, a girl he's fallen in love with, and [[spoiler: Tom Wallace]].
* FunWithAcronyms: A ''hurricane'' of acronyms, most of them straight from ''Series/TheSandbaggers'', like D-Ops. You have to pay ''real good'' attention to understand what most of them mean, too.
* GratuitousFrench: For one issue (#25), Tara and her mother talk almost ''entirely'' in French.
* IfYouEverDoAnythingToHurtHer: Tara to her mother's fiancé. In the aforementioned GratuitousFrench.
* ImprovisedWeapon: The Minders often have to make do without knives or firearms, so they've fought with everything from collapsible batons to items from an airport gift shop.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Happens to several characters, unfortunately.
** ColdBloodedTorture: Zahidov's specialty in ''Private Wars''; tellingly, Tara is the only person shown to be capable of angering him while he's doing so. The [[spoiler: Iranians also try this on Tara in ''The Last Run'']]
** TortureAlwaysWorks / TortureIsIneffective: Tara thinks this to herself [[spoiler: during her experience in ''Private Wars''.]] Torture ''will'' always extract information, though eventually the person being tortured will begin to invent things to stop the pain, at which point it fails. Crocker and C assume this when [[spoiler: Tara is captured in ''The Last Run'',]] though it isn't seen as a blight on her character or strength of will. It's simply taken as a given that ''everyone'' will eventually break and tell their captors everything they know, because the human body and mind can only take so much. Tara even lampshades it when she thinks that while people ''survive'' torture, no one ever ''endures'' it.
** TorturePorn: The level of detail in what Zahidov does to his victims in ''Private Wars'' easily crosses into this.
* TheLadette: Tara can curse, drink, and smoke with the best of them. [[spoiler: She quits the latter two cold turkey the day she finds out she's pregnant, though she's begun smoking again out of Tamsin's presence by ''Private Wars'', and will have a drink occasionally, though not to the nearly-alcoholic levels she used to.]]
* MarriedToTheJob: [[spoiler: Tara before she has Tamsin.]] She has no long-term love interests, and only rarely sees her mother or her one close friend. Her only non-self-destructive(drinking, smoking, meaningless sex) outlet is painting. Several of the other Minders are hit with this as well; Ed Kittering is a motorcycle fanatic, Tom Wallace buys and restores classic Triumph automobiles, and Nick Poole is a self-taught gourmet chef who maintains an herb and vegetable garden in his backyard.
* MissionControl: The MCO is alternately known as the Main CommunicationsOfficer and the MissionControl Officer. A RunningGag is that the acronym stands for both arbitrarily.
* MurphysBullet
* MythologyGag: To Rucka's previous mystery comic, ''ComicBook/{{Whiteout}}''; while waiting to perform an assassination, Tara thinks to herself that "The last time I was this cold, I was at the South Pole."
* NearRapeExperience: Happens to Tara twice. When she's briefly captured during Operation:Stormfront , the thugs in the truck intend to rape her, though they barely even touch her before she kills them and escapes. Then in ''Private Wars'', she is captured during an exfiltration gone wrong, tortured, and literally seconds away from being raped before she's rescued by a CIA agent. This second experience has lasting psychological effects; between the pain of her interrogation and the knowledge of what was about to be done, she becomes very withdrawn, loses all interest in sex, and only allows Valerie and Tamsin to even touch her for months afterwards.
* NewspaperDating: Used repeatedly.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: In ''A Gentlemen's Game'', Tara is tasked with assassinating the ideological head of a terrorist organization. She does so, but the collateral damage is a minor Saudi Arabian prince. While they were performing midday prayers. The uproar that ensues from this is enough to cause Her Majesty's Government to decide to hand her over to the Saudis for execution in exchange for the Saudi's allowing a terrorist training camp to be destroyed by Coalition forces.]]
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: [[spoiler: Sir Frances Barclay]], who takes over as C during Operation: Dandelion. Although he's been with SIS for years, he is very much a politician, considers the Minders to be thugs, and he and Crocker genuinely hate each other because they worked together during an operation gone bad years prior.
* OhCrap: Multiple examples throughout the series, though a particularly notable one is Crocker's reviewing Tara's medical exam(which was delivered so late it came after he'd already sent her out on another assignment) and realizing from the blood work that [[spoiler: she's almost two months pregnant.]][[note]] A normal 'non-pregnant' reading of HCG would be less than 5 parts per million; Tara's result at the time her blood was taken would probably have been around 50 parts per million.[[/note]]
* PostNineElevenTerrorismMovie, RealLifeWritesThePlot: The series started just a few months before the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Operation: Crystal Ball takes a few pages to show the cast's immediate reaction to the event, and the consequences immediately start turning up in the plot. The first arc also features a rocket attack on the MI-6 headquarters, which really happened in September 2000 when Rucka was writing the story.
* PregnantBadass: [[spoiler: Tara during the events of Operation: Red Panda, though she doesn't know it at the time, and she doesn't take it very well once she ''does'' find out, thinking that Crocker knew before sending her on the assignment(which he didn't).]]
* RageBreakingPoint: Tara hits this during Operation: Red Panda when she, Nick, and a BBC journalist are about to be executed by Muslim extremists. When the men attempt to kill the innocent writer, Tara snaps out of her fatalistic depression([[spoiler: caused by Tom's death]]), and takes advantage of her hands being bound in front of her to grab one man's sword and kill two of them with it before picking up a dropped AK-47 and taking out the other three. And during the entire sequence, she's ranting about [[spoiler: Tom's death]].
* {{Retirony}}: [[spoiler:Tom Wallace]] goes to teach and then [[spoiler:bites it]] in ''A Gentleman's Game''.
* ShownTheirWork
* SomeoneToRememberHimBy: [[spoiler: After what is implied to be years of beating around the bush, Tara and Tom Wallace finally begin a relationship during ''A Gentlemen's Game''. However, shortly afterwards, Tom is killed during a mission, and what Tara initially thinks is a stress-induced disruption of her menstrual cycle turns out to be pregnancy.]]
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''TheSandbaggers''. [[WordOfGod Rucka]] is not shy about acknowledging that he borrowed the structure of SIS and many of the [[{{Expy}} character elements]], though there are significant divergences - The Sandbaggers dealt largely with the realpolitik of the UsefulNotes/ColdWar while Queen and Country mostly deals with the complexity of intelligence operations in a post-9/11 world, Rucka's D-Ops is happily married with kids, and most significantly, ''The Sandbaggers'' set their D-Ops as the protagonist, while Queen and Country primarily follows the character arc of one of the field agents.
* SpyFiction: Definitely, ''extremely'' in the Stale Beer category.
* StrayShotsStrikeNothing: Averted. Tara Chace is ambushed by two goons with guns while unarmed. She rushes one, makes it within hand-to-hand range before he can hit her, and takes him down. After which she discovers that one of his shots hit the other one.
* TheSpymaster: Paul Crocker, of course. Also Angela Cheng, the CIA Station Chief in London. Paul once jokes that at least a quarter of the staff at Security Services (MI-5) headquarters is on the CIA payroll. Given Angela's level of knowledge regarding what the Special Section is up to, this may not be entirely a joke.
* StraightGay: Nick Poole. He's also a talented chef.
* TakeThisJobAndShoveIt: [[spoiler: After she finds out she's pregnant in ''Private Wars'', Tara requests a year's leave to have the baby. Crocker not only denies her, but insinuates she should either have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption. She ignores his repeated denials and keeps asking, but after he refuses her a fourth time, she quits on the spot. It's left ambiguous whether he was really being a hard-ass or if he was trying to force her to quit, but the end result is the same.]]
* ThereAreNoTherapists: Averted, there is one (nicknamed "the Madwoman of the Second Floor") but due to the nature of their work, there's little she can do to help agents besides patch them up so they can return to the field and get demolished again...
* {{Tuckerization}}: Tara Felicity Chace the SIS agent was named for Tara Felicity Chace the teenage friend of Greg Rucka, who introduced him to spy movies. He notes wryly in the Definitive Edition that going over to her house and watching them was how they both (cluelessly) dealt with being [[HormoneAddledTeenager Hormone Addled Teenagers]].
* WeaponOfChoice: Subverted; since they are part of the foreign intelligence branch, Minders are only officially allowed to carry guns while on duty ''outside'' the UK.
* WeWillNotUsePhotoshopInTheFuture: Averted - a blackmail video is sent for analysis to confirm it was not faked.
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