Tag Archives: tom clancy

red rabbit

Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan #2) by Tom Clancy

From Goodreads:

Long before he was President or head of the CIA, before he fought terrorist attacks on the Super Bowl or the White House, even before a submarine named Red October made its perilous way across the Atlantic, Jack Ryan was an historian, teacher, and recent ex-Marine temporarily living in England while researching a book. A series of deadly encounters with an IRA splinter group had brought him to the attention of the CIA’s Deputy Director, Vice Admiral James Greer—as well as his counterpart with the British SIS, Sir Basil Charleston—and when Greer asked him if he wanted to come aboard as a freelance analyst, Jack was quick to accept. The opportunity was irresistible, and he was sure he could fit it in with the rest of his work.

And then Jack forgot all about the rest of his work, because one of his first assignments was to help debrief a high-level Soviet defector, and the defector told an amazing tale: Top Soviet officials, including Yuri Andropov, were planning to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II.

Could it be true? As the days and weeks go by, Ryan must battle, first to try to confirm the plot, and then to prevent it, but this is a brave new world, and nothing he has done up to now has prepared him for the lethal game of cat-and-mouse that is the Soviet Union versus the United States. In the end, it will be not just the Pope’s life but the stability of the Western world that is at stake. . . and it may already be too late for a novice CIA analyst to do anything about it.

My Rating: ⭐⭐

I really struggled with this. The writing is slow and ponderous. The storyline has so much potential for excitement and intrigue with the CIA v KGB to bring across a high level defector and based around an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II. However, Clancy manages to make it dull and boring.

There is far too much boring detail, far too much to and fro on inconsequential details and far too many characters with minor roles that make it difficult to follow. The main characters are unlikeable. There is a consistent arrogance from everyone towards the culture and traditions of everyone else that gets wearisome very quickly. Ryan and his wife have a particularly condescending attitude towards British life and portray what appears to be a serious personal issue of Clancy’s towards the NHS that is jarring and doesn’t contribute to the story.

The only likeable character in the whole story is Oleg, the Russian defector with a developing conscience around the assassination of the Pope and his desire for a better life for his family.

I struggle to see why this book became a #1 bestseller. I wonder what the competition at the time was?

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

patriot games

Patriot Games (Jack Ryan #1) by Tom Clancy

From Goodreads:

It is fall. Years before the defection of a Soviet submarine will send him hurtling into confrontation with the Soviets, historian, ex-Marine and CIA analyst Jack Ryan is vacationing in London with his wife and young daughter, when a terrorist attack takes place before his eyes. Instinctively, he dives forward to break it up, and is shot. It is not until he wakes up in the hospital that he learns whose lives he has saved — the Prince and Princess of Wales and their new young son — and which enemies he has made — the Ulster Liberation Army, an ultra-left-wing splinter of the IRA.

By his impulsive act, he has gained both the gratitude of a nation and then enmity of hits most dangerous men — men who do not sit on their hate. And in the weeks and months to come, it is Jack Ryan, and his family, who will become the targets of that hate.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the second Jack Ryan novel published by Tom Clancy but it’s the first chronologically and prior to “The Hunt for Red October” which was published first. This was confusing at first as Ryan is still a teacher and only starts working with the CIA during the story.

This is quite a long book. It’s split into three connected storylines that chronicle Jack Ryan’s interaction with a fictitious extremist Irish terrorist organisation that is trying to destroy and supplant the IRA who they feel is too moderate. It initially starts in London when Ryan prevents an attack on the Royal Family. It then moves to the USA when Ryan and his family return home and the main terrorist antagonist looks for revenge.

Overall it was a very enjoyable book. There is still quite a lot of military and intelligence terminology but nothing like Red October and much more readable. He also manages not to fall into the “Oirish” trap with the Irish characters. It’s written and set in the mid 80s so the technology and politics are definitely of its time.

Like Red October this book was also made into a very successful film starring Harrison Ford.

Header image by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

the hunt for red october

The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan #1) by Tom Clancy

From Goodreads:

Here is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy’s phenomenal career. A military thriller so gripping in its action and so convincing in its accuracy that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: the greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: the chase for a top secret Russian missile sub. Lauded by the Washington Post as “breathlessly exciting.” The Hunt for Red October remains a masterpiece of military fiction by one of the world’s most popular authors, a man whose shockingly realistic scenarios continue to hold us in thrall.

Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west. The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on…

My Rating: ⭐⭐

I’m sure I’ve read a few of Tom Clancy’s books before but a long time ago. I decided to come back to them off the back of watching the TV show from Amazon. I couldn’t remember any of the story lines so not sure what it’s based on. I’ve also seen the film version of this book a couple of times so had a pretty good idea of the main characters and the storyline.

Overall I was disappointed. There is a huge amount of military jargon used in the story. Some of it is explained but there is just so much of it and so many acrynoms that I couldn’t keep track. Added to that there are an awful lot of characters, most of them minor, which makes it difficult to follow. The story skips about quite a lot which adds to this. Another reviewer described it like “bring your kid to work day” and being dragged around her Dad’s workplace meeting loads of people she didn’t know and in jobs she didn’t understand. I totally understand where she’s coming from!

What saved the book for me (apart from having loads of isolation induced time to spend reading) was the last 30%. Once the US make contact with the sub commander the story really changes. The boring, technical sub chase and evade story is finished and it becomes much more of a standard thriller type story with a military influence. This last bit of the book was enough to make me want to read more of the author and hopefully find out what makes him so popular.