Jack Ryan. The early CIA days . . .
When young Jack Ryan joins the CIA as an analyst he is thrust into a world of political intrigue and conspiracy. Stationed in England, he quickly finds himself debriefing a Soviet defector with an extraordinary story to tell: senior Russian officials are plotting to assassinate Pope John Paul II. The CIA novice must forget his inexperience and rely on all his wits to firstly discover the details of the plot – and then prevent its execution. For it is not just the Pope’s life that is at stake, but also the stability of the Western World.
Red Rabbit is the thrilling eighth novel featuring Jack Ryan, following The Sum of All Fears and Debt of Honour. Published after Executive Orders, the novel charts Jack Ryan’s earliest mission for the CIA, and is the stunning prequel to The Hunt For Red October.
This was written many years after Patriot Games and The Hunt For Red October, though it fits between those two books in the timeline of Jack Ryan. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite match up to those earlier books.
The plot is reasonable, being based around a real event that took place in 1981, and the writing is accessible, if more simplistic than is the norm for an author who often writes in a very easy to access way. Somehow, though, there is something lacking from the book, it’s almost as if the book was written by someone other than Tom Clancy, someone who is familiar with the Jack Ryan universe, but whose writing style is more basic.
Having read a number of the reviews on Amazon for this book I think I have identified one of the things that is lacking from this book; the strongest aspect of Tom Clancy’s has always been his descriptions of combat and weapons, neither of which feature in this particular story.
I read this book because it’s part of the series, and I will re-read it the next time I go through the Jack Ryan series, simply because it is a part of the series, but if it was a standalone novel, I wouldn’t be bothering.