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Utter rubbish, and this from a Clancy fan!
on 27 June 2005
I think most people who have read Tom Clancy before will agree that although the writing style isn't anything special the storylines are huge and complex, the attention to detail of warfare is second to none, and the characters who are found in many of Clancy's books (notably John Clark or in this case Jack Ryan) are interesting.
Well, perhaps Tom Clancy has had an off-day or is toying with the idea of writing children's books.. either way this book is rubbish (and I'm trying to be as polite as possible), and I've never said that of any book I've reviewed on Amazon.
The story itself is a combination of fact (the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II), a conspiracy theory (that it was orchestrated by the KGB) and fiction (enter Jack Ryan... who I always think of as Harrison Ford due to his film roles). For those familiar with Ryan from other books, Red Rabbit is set in the early 80s, Ryan has an honourary knighthood (for saving the royal family in Patriot Games) but is not yet President (Executive Orders and thereafter).
So what do I dislike about this book so much:
- Weak storyline - as Clancy books go, there really isn't much to get excited about in this one. Once I got about a third of the way through I was convinced there would be another thread of the storyline to grip the reader but no, there was nothing.
- Where's the weapons and action? - A Clancy book without detailed description of weaponry, warfare and operational tactics just isn't a Tom Clancy book.
- Terrible writing style - I'm not sure why I've picked up on this but the style Clancy has adopted for this book is a bit like "Jack went up the hill. It was raining. Tomorrow would be an important day. "Hello, I'm Jack - do you want to be my friend?" etc. I know the writing style isn't the strongest aspect of Clancy's books but this is truly dire.
- Brit bashing - now, I don't normally take offence at this but there's a bit too much of it in this book... there's one point (and this takes nothing away from the storyline) where Clancy spends pages explaining how in British hospitals surgeons will pause halfway through an operation and pop out to the pub for a couple of pints before returning and completing the op. Obviously this would not be allowed in America, and Ryan and his wife are rightly outraged. Oh for god's sake... next he'll say us Brits don't clean out teeth, all have Mad Cow Disease and can't spell properly.
No, this book fails on all counts, it really is truly terrible. Oddly I will probably read the next Clancy book that comes out on the hope that this is the only lemon he produces, but you never know. I also think he should give up on the Jack Ryan character, as the John Clark one is far stronger, but that's just my opinion.