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There's not a shot fired until page 602 in Clancy's lumbering new thriller, and readers up on their history will know the outcome of that shot on page 17. What comes in between is a slow-moving but, given Clancy's astonishing flair for fly-on-the-wall writing, steadily absorbing imagining of the back story behind Mehmet Ali Agca's (real-life) failed attempt on the life of Pope John II in 1981. By going back 21 years, Clancy provides a fresh adventure for a young Jack Ryan, but Ryan fans (and presumably Ben Affleck) may be surprised to learn that Ryan is, until the final scenes, only a supporting player here. The book's main heroes are the husband-and-wife team of Ed Foley, CIA station chief in Moscow, and his agent-wife, Mary Pat, and Oleg Zaitzev (code-named Rabbit), the mid-level employee in the KGB communications department who for conscience's sake decides to defect to America when he's asked to encrypt messages that reveal a plot, under the auspices of then-KGB chief Yuri Andropov, to kill the pope in response to the pontiff's secret letter threatening to resign the papacy and to return to Poland to resist Soviet domination. In real life, the pope wrote such a letter, and analysts have long speculated that the Soviets, via Bulgarian controllers, dispatched Agca to kill him. It's utterly fascinating to read Clancy's playing out of that likely scenario is there a writer in the world who brings so much verisimilitude to scenes both high (Politburo meetings) and low (details of spy craft and everyday Soviet life)? But while Clancy delivers a believable and encyclopedic version of real-life events, the suspense is minimal a disappointment when other writers (Forsyth in Day of the Jackal, for one) have shown that there can be enough tension in a fated-to-fail assassination plot to give a stroke to a yoga master.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Clancy returns to Jack Ryan's first days in the CIA, when the fate of the free world hung in the balance as Ryan discovered a heinous plot to assassinate the Pope. Clancy is so big that this new novel merits a special limited edition (ISBN 0-399-14914-7. $150).
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
More than half the book consists of characters "inner monologs" most of which run around the same little circle over and over and over. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Edward
I wouldn't buy them if I didn't want them. Always good. Especially these authors. I need to add more words so. There.Published 16 months ago by Paul Mayall
Good book, but kind of draggy in spots....seems to have lots of filler.
Not in the league of Patriot Games or Red October. Read more
I really enjoyed reading this. People read Tom Clancy for the entertaining / captivating plot. This book definitely has it. Read morePublished on Nov. 22 2010 by Paul
I recently finished Red Rabbit and was mildly disappointed. A great concept and idea for a story line. The time period is interesting and I enjoyed that portion of the story. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2004 by Christopher
I've read all of Clancy's books, while most I find it takes a while to get into the story but generally once it has picked up it was a very good read. Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2004 by Randall Duhamel
This book takes places as a young Jack Ryan and really explains more on Jack Ryan's wife Cathy. I really liked how clancy put the suspense in this book, but certain parts of this... Read morePublished on July 17 2004 by russell guerra
Half-a-star, but that option doesn't exist.
For anyone who is a fan of the character Jack Ryan, and to a degree Clancy's writing, this book will be an incredible let down. Read more
I have been a fan of Tom Clancy and Jack Ryan since I first read Red October. I am not convinced that Clancy really wrote this book by himself. Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by Joe Burton