I wasn't really sure what I was going to make of this book, holding it loosely much as one would something about which there was a big suspicion of plI wasn't really sure what I was going to make of this book, holding it loosely much as one would something about which there was a big suspicion of plague itself. Perhaps it is a prejudice of mine not female authors using female narrators and undertaking historical fiction don't usually emphasize the things that captivate me as a male reader. In this case, anyway, I was very much wrong.
Brooks' narrator is a hardy soul worthy of emulation by even the most macho man. Faced with societal cataclysm that hits home in the most painful ways, she cries and moves on to see what practical things are within her reach to alleviate the suffering of others. The word I search for and don't find in so many books is TEXTURE, the ability of very few authors to convey what it really FEELS like to inhabit the world of the book. Brooks can do this with smells, and sights, sounds, and tactile experiences. Even in the most gruesome situation, she knows when to lighten up just enough so as not to overload the reader's attention. On top of that, her plot twists just when the reader is gulping for relief are skillful to say the least....more
Clancy can get lost and loose the reader amid navy jargon and submarine fascination in particular, but the humanness of Jack Ryan keeps attention andClancy can get lost and loose the reader amid navy jargon and submarine fascination in particular, but the humanness of Jack Ryan keeps attention and plot moving apace. He is bold when he has to be, even in totally alien circumstances, and yet he fears both flying and boats. He tells the truth to presidents and other powers of the Washington Establishment, and yet he sneaks cigarettes to avoid the wrath of his wife.
This long after it was written in the mid-80's, reading it is also an experience in time travel. The reader is reminded how real the Soviet threat was as a contemporary menace before the end of the Cold War as a foregone conclusion. Current threats seem more of a nuisance by comparison, and, correspondingly, current leads seem like bickering gradeschoolers compared to the grownups whom Clancy allows us to see navigating security issues of real substance.
A piece of unintended dramatic irony was also gifted to the twenty-first century reader when a Soviet agent marvels that a computer is available to the American consumer for a mere $2000, this content downloaded out of thin air for free on a more powerful device that costs one tenth as much. ...more
Definitely a good beginning. The characters are interesting, if not that deep. The author's voice is engaging, and her ability to speak to young readeDefinitely a good beginning. The characters are interesting, if not that deep. The author's voice is engaging, and her ability to speak to young readers primarily without talking down to them has made this book an enduring favorite even among adults. She writes a protagonist who is easy to root for without being so squeaky clean in his reactions that he seems unrealistic.
I definitely want to read the next one, as I understand that the characters develop a lot in later books. I don't understand what the fuss is about in the Christian community, as I see much of God's love and wisdom in the Headmaster's knowledge of everything that goes on on campus and his determination to use even the situation that seems the most grim for the teaching of his pupils....more