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on 7 February 2003
I'm an American who has been living in the UK, going on for five years now. Usually, I'll read a Clancy book with great gusto. I love his earlier books. His Republican views never really bothered me before .......... before this one. I am just incredibly ashamed by this book. Forget the plot (boring), forget the characters (no new insights), and try to forget the conservative Republican jargon. This book's sole purpose is to rant and rave about the USA, Reagan, the CIA, the US health system, coffee, the DOW, food and to criticise anything non-American. From the way he goes on and on about the UK (NHS, coffee, food, the peeling paint and decay of the buildings, lazy workers who I assume rather be at home with their families instead with work colleagues, etc) and Russia I wasn't quite sure which country was worse off. They are both depicted as second world nations ... barely even that. Did anyone else notice that the good guys all have some form of Catholic backgrounds? It made me cringe every time Clancy had his American characters correctly predict the fall of the USSR or the futures in stocks. Oh how about when the CIA leaders were singing the praises for Martin Luther King? Yeah, right! The stereotypes of the British have been mentioned by many of the previous reviewers so no need to dwell on it again. My God, I have never read such arrogance, such righteousness, and sole ownership of high ethics. No wonder many non-Americans are annoyed by us. I wonder if Clancy understands the annoyance he has caused by his extremely bias tome?
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on 25 November 2003
I am a big Clancy fan, but this is very disappointing. For starters, it is all a bit anticlimatic. You pretty much know how things are going to turn out for all the main protagonists with 20 pages of 'meeting' them. There is little action, and most of the book is portrayed in Jack's office or his home - film rights unlikely I think. And the end seems rushed, as though he had to get it to the publishers on time.
In addition, annoyingly Jack is portrayed as some sort of prophet. The collapse of communism, the collapse of the Japanese economy, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, how his wife would be a laser surgery pioneer, are all predicted by Jack in the space of a few days. Indeed it is apparently thanks to a letter from Jack that London is littered with Starbucks.
In addition this book is written in a patronising tone. It also seems far less balanced than previous books. There is a huge amount of America is great - nothing compares in this book. Perhaps this is what was required when Clancy wrote it?
Overall though I would not recommend this.
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on 24 December 2003
As a Tom Clancy fan, on the strength of his previous books I bought this one straight 'off the shelf'.
But this book was disappointing. It was strongly nationalistic, sickeningly pro-american (to be expected but this was too much - possibly done in response to recent american developments?), anti-communist, patronising, and in parts racist, whilst not providing much in the way of redeeming features such as excitement or suspense.
On the upside, it was interesting to read a theoretical "how this could have happened" story, but this was constructed more like a biased documentary than a spy thriller; the lack of real action or plot twists ensured that my most common thought was "So what?"
If you're not a Jack Ryan fan, don't bother. If you are a fan, you'll probably want to read it simply so you don't miss anything, but don't expect too much.
Personally, I'm going to use this book to prop up my broken sofa.
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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.
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on 25 July 2005
This book is truly awful. As previous reviewers have said the story is fiction based around historical facts (so, like Titanic you already know the ending). I was expecting more, but no!
Also large bits of the book can be summaried as:-
Everything American is great, everything Russian is awful, everything British is somewhere between the two (but closer to rubbish). OK, Ryan and Clancy are American, so maybe that's forgivable especially given the political situation at the time.
However, what isn't forgivable at all is the terrible editing. There are lots of repeated facts and text...I don't know how many times I was informed that Jack's wife is a surgeon....maybe my attention span is much better than Clancy's average reader?
Don't bother with this book, you'll regret it.
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on 13 May 2004
I am a big Clancy fan but Red Rabbit was more like 'Dead Rabbit'. After enduring 920ish pages of 'The USA is great and the rest of the world are mere primitive life forms', I have to say I will not be buying Clancy again! I know it took more than 8 months for me to finish (yes, I was silly to continue!), but I thought in usual Clancy style, he would pull the 'rabbit out of the hat' and provide a storming finsh as usual. Unfortunately, I think the rabbit had to go and be sick with all the American jingoism and did not return!
While the plot was reasonable, I am afraid 'Sir' Jack Ryan, the immortal ex-marine, ex-city trader turned multi-millionaire, who saved a member of the British royal family, and is now a brilliant CIA agent that can do no wrong has just stepped out of the real world. The ending is obvious and has been hurriedly shoe-horned into the last 40 pages. The story could have been well written in 300-400 pages. Tom Clancy, if you think that all British people are the way you portay them in this book, then you need some stronger Starbucks coffee, or think about retirement! Readers, please spend your hard earned money on something else - my copy has gone to the charity shop for free!
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on 6 January 2004
This is by far and away the worst attempt that clancy has ever made at a novel. Some of the net force books which he did not actually write were better than this. I have in my entire life read thousnads of books and this is one of only three books that i have not finished (the other two were 15 years ago in high school and i think i could have written a better book back then).
There is not much else to say i bought this book to read while traveling and it damn nead spoiled my trip, however if you have not read The Cardinal of the Kremlin buy that its a keeper.
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on 6 September 2002
A new Jack Ryan novel is always an event, and Tom Clancy is one of those authors I buy in hardback as soon as his new book is published. But no more. It does not help that much of this book is set in England and the errors abound. Land Rover makes saloon cars, would you believe, bitter has twice as much alcohol as American beer and York is the biggest city in the north. Clancy became successful with books that start slow, building a complex and believable world full of intricate and fascinating detail before exploding into the climax of the story. Do not look for that in Red Rabbit. The book is set in the eighties toward the end of the cold war. The plot is hackneyed, the characters are cardboard, even good old Jack is boring...
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on 31 December 2003
This book isn't worth even one star, but it seems zero is not permitted!
I used to enjoy Clancy's stuff (and still like the earliest books) but having read a few of his recent tomes I come to the conclusion his stuff is now crap - no other word for it! It's patronising rubbish, implausible characters (women who are obviously sex goddesses and good in the kitchen to boot - and men who'd do anything for America and apple pie!) and not very good prose either.
1000 words isn't enough space to contain all the criticism of this book so just save your time and money and go and read something else.
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And I was so looking forward to this....
This was a major let down. I have enjoyed all the Clancey books to date and he sits on the top rung of these types of thriller writers.

So what was wrong. Well it was dull and totally lacked tension. Set back in the 80's with a young Ryan, you knew where it was going and it took you nowhere unexpected.
I never thought I would say this about a Tom Clancey novel, but....Avoid
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