Next up: “Patriot Games” by Tom Clancy
Another Clancy-book-turned-into-a-movie, although I didn’t see the movie of this one. It’s chronologically before “The Hunt for Red October” and is also about Jack Ryan.
The book starts off with a bang, and a kidnapping/assassination attempt. CIA analyst Jack Ryan and his family are on vacation on London when Ryan witnesses an attack on the Prince and Princess of Wales, and their newborn son. Ryan leaps into action to do what he can to stop it, succeeded but becoming injured in the act. This also puts him on the radar of the perpetrators– the Ulster Liberation Army, a splinter group of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Ryan and his family become targets in an international terrorist plot. When the royal family visits Ryan’s in the USA, the ULA takes the opportunity to strike at two of their targets.
This is a highly improbable book. One guy, however much training he’d received as a US Marine, probably would not be able to stop a group of 5+ heavily armed terrorists. And the final showdown? It’s like the cheesiest of cheesy action-movie sequences. In general, I felt like the reactions and interactions of the people in the book were really implausible and awkward– most specifically Ryan’s interaction with the Prince in his hospital room, and the terrorists’ interactions with everyone in the big showdown. Ryan’s friend Robby is African American, so of course the terrorists make racist comments. Basically they were exaggerated caricatures of villains. And Ryan is essentially a gun-slinging Golden Boy hero cowboy; a flatter and more absurd representation than in “The Hunt for Red October”.
The pacing of the book is really all over the place, starting out fast with a lot of action and then waffling around for pretty much the rest of it until the end– 200 pages of nothing much happening. It got to be a bit of a slog. I was hoping for an adventure like in “Red October” but this book fell flat.
Racist speech. Violence.