Red Rabbit was by far the weakest of all of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books. Part of it was that even though it was a prequel, it really didn’t sound likRed Rabbit was by far the weakest of all of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan books. Part of it was that even though it was a prequel, it really didn’t sound like Jack Ryan at all. Mostly it was the plot. Clancy thrillers always have a certain over-the-top quality to them. That’s what makes them fun. But they are always grounded in a certain level of realism. Unfortunately, Red Rabbit’s plot felt so contrived and disjointed that I had a difficult time believe that Clancy actually wrote it. Maybe it was an old draft that someone convinced him to publish anyway. Maybe every writer is destined to write at least one regrettable book in their career. If that’s the case, Red Rabbit is the one. If you have never read Tom Clancy before, whatever you do, don’t start with this one....more
Two wealthy men concoct a plan to achieve something never done before – to scale the highest peak on each of the seven continents. These two middle-agTwo wealthy men concoct a plan to achieve something never done before – to scale the highest peak on each of the seven continents. These two middle-aged men are not experienced climbers. Undaunted, they leave their families and careers behind and embark on a quest to accomplish the unthinkable. But McKinley, Kilimanjaro and Everest don’t give up their summits easily and even surviving the journey might be in question before the end.
It is obvious right from the start that Dick Bass and Frank Wells were far out of their element when they decided – almost on a whim – to attempt to scale the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. However, Bass (a wealthy entrepreneur) and Wells (head of a major motion picture studio) will not be denied. Seven Summits is really a testament to how with enough money, you can buy a record and stroke two men’s egos at the same time. That may sound unfairly harsh, but if you read Seven Summits and you are familiar with high-altitude climbing, you quickly realize just how many people’s lives were put in danger by these two men and their frightening level of inexperience.
In addition, the writing in Seven Summits leaves a lot to be desired. The whole text is ‘we did this, then I did that, then this happened…’ We never really get a lot at the men themselves and if they actually were changed by the pursuit. Either they weren’t and these were just checks on a list or they were and the writing completely missed all of it. From the reader’s point of view, it does matter – the story doesn’t have a soul.
Seven Summits is really a “look at me” book where the extraordinary journey fails to elicit any emotional response. It isn’t all bad. The book is peppered with interesting pieces of information and observations of high-altitude climbing. There are even a few funny moments. Unfortunately, there isn’t much more than an encyclopedia description of their efforts to hold the book together. There are many far better mountaineering stories to be found on the shelves. Seven Summits left me disappointed. ...more