Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boring, Bloated Ballast in the Bilge before the Final Bit, 4 Aug 2004
This review is from: The Bear and the Dragon (6 CDs) (Audio CD)
Five Novels Stitched Into One -- Only One Is Interesting
The Bear and The Dragon combines five novels -- one about a murder mystery in Moscow, one about espionage in Bejing, one about Chinese-American trade diplomacy, another about economic development in Siberia, and a final one about major power conflicts. Of the five, only the last bears any resemblance to a Tom Clancy novel of the calibre of The Hunt for Red October, but that final novel in the book still manages to fall short of the former standard of this author. The book is incredibly bloated, boring (until the last 256 pages), annoyingly repetitive, predictable, and full of gratuitous sexual and racist references.
If you feel you must read this book, begin on page 773. You won't miss anything you need to know before then, if you do. That's the point at which the Clancy-like novel begins with the usual gee-whiz technology and action. That last novel is fair-to-middling for a Clancy effort.
As to the bloat in this book, Clancy did not need to write the other four novels to write his usual one (the last one in this book). He simply padded the book to make this more like War and Peace. Well, it's not War and Peace. Clancy doesn't begin to show the skill to work in that direction. The story is simply so improbable on its face that it's hard to imagine anyone finding it interesting. He likes to develop everything around a theme of the evil Chinese leaders. He demonizes Chinese leaders in the PRC more than most people darken Hitler today. As to repetition, you will get references to the sex habits of fictional and former Chinese leaders many dozens of times more than you will care to read them. The word, "p__e" (unpleasantly referring to the results of a stomach upset), must appear more than 200 times in this book, as an example. As for bloat, there must be 150 uninteresting pages in this book about Ryan sneaking a cigarette when his wife isn't around and not liking being president. As for predictability, every single person and technology you read about in the book shows up in the later action in one of the two ways you would most have expected.
I was very disappointed. I found it hard to imagine that I stuck it out to the end. I suspect that most people will not.
If you do decide to read this book and decide you dislike it, like me, ask yourself why you did not pay attention to the warnings from people who have read the book. That may help you to understand why you act impulsively against your own best interest.
If you do read the book and like it, I suggest you consider why others may not have. Then, you will be better able to use reviews in the future to distinguish the books that you will like in the future that most other people do not.
Find a better book to read!
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