Tom Clancy is one of my favorite authors. When he died last month I was bummed – especially after losing another one of my favorite authors, Michael Crichton, a few years ago. As for my other favorites, well, Cormac McCarthy is certainly getting up there in years, and somehow I feel Winter will come to George R.R. Martin before he’s able to finish the A Song of Ice & Fire series [Game of Thrones for you less literary folks]. Anyway, Clancy’s death reminded me that although I’ve read a handful of his books there are a great many I haven’t. Hilariously enough I happened to buy pretty much his entire library from our local used book store for about 5¢ each. So they’ve always been here sitting, waiting. What better time to honor the man who was a master of the international military/political thriller than to read his sophomore novel: Red Storm Rising. I struggled with Clancy’s material when I was younger – it’s pretty dense. Full of military technobabble, and adult politics and whathaveyou, but I usually got the gist of it. Red October and Patriot Games were accessible enough for a middle/high schooler. Debt Of Honor really challenged me though. Being much older now, I definitely was able to enjoy this book a lot more.
After the success of The Hunt For Red October, Clancy continued writing incredibly intriguing Naval and Air Force warfare stories. For as fantastic as Red October was [is], Red Storm Rising kicks everything his first book did into high gear. It’s nearly 1/3 longer (725 pages) but flies by at a breakneck pace.
As the title hints, Red Storm Rising, involves those pesky Russians. This time they’re starting a war for oil. Seems like a page right out of current affairs, but the book was originally published in 1986. As the Russians begin spreading their war machine across the northern Atlantic, the submarine and naval warfare kicks into high gear. Not to mention the sorties of bombing raids and fighter planes. Plus the ground war as the Soviets push through Germany. All in all the dance of tactics and action is a lot of fun. Clancy makes the terminology and the tactics easy enough for someone unfamiliar with the military to grasp and follow. The story has many theaters of action but they all blend together well. It’s also worth nothing the military technology Clancy writes about was state-of-the-art back in the 1980’s. It still translates well to the present day as not a whole lot has changed, just improved.
If you’re a Clancy fan, this is a good no-brainer read. I gave it 4 out of 5 on Goodreads. Cardinal of the Kremlin will be my next Clancy book…might as well go in order…
I’m not there yet though. I just started Luka & the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie. It’s a sequel to Rushdie’s earlier work Haroun & the Sea of Stories – which is one of my all time favorite books. My 5th graders have thoroughly enjoyed it as a read-aloud for the last 3 years. I highly recommend it. It’s more of a kid’s book – full of figurative language and cleverness. Luka is a relatively short book so I’ll let you know how that is soon enough!