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Red Rabbit [Hardcover]

Tom Clancy
2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (568 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 5 2002

Long before he was President or head of the CIA, before he fought terrorist attacks on the Super Bowl or the White House, even before a submarine named Red October made its perilous way across the Atlantic, Jack Ryan was an historian, teacher, and recent ex-Marine temporarily living in England while researching a book. A series of deadly encounters with an IRA splinter group had brought him to the attention of the CIA's Deputy Director, Vice Admiral James Greeras well as his counterpart with the British SIS, Sir Basil Charlestonand when Greer asked him if he wanted to come aboard as a freelance analyst, Jack was quick to accept. The opportunity was irresistible, and he was sure he could fit it in with the rest of his work.

 

And then Jack forgot all about the rest of his work, because one of his first assignments was to help debrief a high-level Soviet defector, and the defector told an amazing tale: Top Soviet officials, including Yuri Andropov, were planning to assassinate the Pope, John Paul II.

 

Could it be true? As the days and weeks go by, Ryan must battle, first to try to confirm the plot, and then to prevent it, but this is a brave new world, and nothing he has done up to now has prepared him for the lethal game of cat-and-mouse that is the Soviet Union versus the United States. In the end, it will be not just the Pope's life but the stability of the Western world that is at stake. . . and it may already be too late for a novice CIA analyst to do anything about it.

"Clancy creates not only compelling characters but frighteningly topical situations and heart-stopping action," wrote The Washington Post about The Bear and the Dragon. "Among the handful of superstars, Clancy still reigns, and he is not likely to be dethroned any time soon." These words were never truer than about the remarkable pages of his breathtaking new novel. This is Clancy at his bestand there is none better.


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From Publishers Weekly

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.

From Library Journal

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Least impressive of the series Sept. 1 2002
Format:Hardcover
It is gratifying (and, to me, somewhat surprising) that virtually all the reviewers here have made the same points, because they are very much on target. This is the most disappointing of the Clancy series. I'm not saying "worst" only because Clancy is technically good enough so that anything he writes himself (but not the excreble stuff written by others for which he sells his name) is at least readable.
But Red Rabbit will be a major, major let down for Clancy's legions of fans. Whether or not you liked the somewhat racist and hyper-sexual "Bear and Dragon", you'll find that in this book Jack Ryan is quite different than anyone you've seen before. He is whining, foul-mouthed, not particularly security conscious (400 pages are devoted to covering up an ultra-top-secret defection, and then Ryan blithely gossips about it to a bunch of junior CIA guys??), and endlessly repetitive. Because this novel had to fit in between Patriot Games and Red October, and yet hadn't been referenced in any of the other books, the result is a relatively unimportant (in the Clancy universe) episode, which has the effect of marking time in the lives of the usual characters.
Much as I love the series (even with Clancy's politics-on-his-sleeve, plug-his-friends, black-and-white jingoism) I'm afraid that something went far astray here. Maybe he has run out of steam with Jack, or he's written himself into a corner, or he just did this for the money. But the result is something that should be avoided by all new readers and most casual readers. The die hard fans will, of course, need to read this one for completeness' sake, but anyone else will unquestionably wonder what all the fuss is about.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Clancy's worst ever Aug. 30 2002
Format:Hardcover
I couldn't have been more disappointed with this disaster. Clancy is my favorite fiction writer, and I loved his books up through Executive Orders. But this one was a total loser.
Jamming a story in between Patriot Games and Red October was a lousy idea to start with. We already knew Ryan's history, and by definition there couldn't be anything substantive in the book.
Besides that, we all knew the Pope had been shot. There were virtually no interesting subplots, just lots of sleepy dialogue that didn't go anywhere. There were more false starts in this book than in any previous novel. Not a single interesting plot twist or thing-gone-wrong.
Jack Ryan is such a terrific character - can't we find out what happens to him NEXT? Did we have to go back in time with a poorly conceived, disappointly executed, flat-out BORING story?
If you're a real Clancy fan, be prepared for disappointment. No questions this is his worst book ever.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Clancy almost back to form Aug. 7 2002
Format:Hardcover
This new title in Clancy's "Jack Ryan" series takes the liberty of going back in time, placing Patriot Games first in the series. This seems to come between Patriot Games and Hunt for Red October. It also sets the stage for Cardinal of the Kremlin and Clear and Present Danger. Clancy brings back Judge Moore and Ryan DDO nemesis Bob Ritter as well as Admiral Greer. Cutter makes no appearances here. CASSIUS from the later books also gets introduced.
This book gets away from the trap that Clancy had fallen into - these long-winded dialogues and descent into puerile humor that characterized Bear and the Dragon. This is not to say that Red Rabbit doesn't drag - it does. but it also gets to the troika that actually defeated Communism: the Gipper and the Iron Lady in the West - and Lech Walesa's Solidarity in the East - a topic that had been lacking previously in Clancy stories.
I'll leave this here with the following compliment. I bought "Red Rabbit" at 2PM yesterday. Couldn't put it down for any more than an hour or two and it is now complete at 3:30 in the following morning. 4 stars!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had the great misfortune of spending the last 2 weeks trying to pile thru this polemic tome. To say that it is a disaster would be a generous description of what is possibly one of the worse novels I have ever read. What I find amazing is the positive reviews on here are such that it is obvious:
a. They have not read the book, or
b. They are plants from the publisher.
Clancy has written some fine books. Hunt for Red October is a classic and Red Storm Rising shows the great work you can accomplish with hard work and decent research. This book is a sad joke when it comes to research. Tom can't keep the timeline straight. He interjects future events (a certain world series, the rise of starbucks and the Falklands war) all into the WRONG YEAR. Characters are wildly inconsistent in rank and spelling. His politics are well known, but raging on about the NHS and accussing British doctors of being uncaring negligent drunks is beyond the pale. Also, Tom, we know Caroline is an eye surgeon and that she doesn't drink before surgery "ever". We know. We know. QUIT TELLING US 50 FREAKING THOUSAND TIMES. Although to get to the 100,000 level you have to cite Tom's references to Ryan being in the Marines, jesuit upbringing, etc. If the character he is is a product of the marines, then it's no wonder recruitment is falling. Who would want to be a simpering wuss like Ryan?
The unbelivable dialogue is another factor in ensuring the utter garbage status of this pile. Tom, no one says "pal" and "guy" at the end of every sentence. That is unless they live on Brokeback Mountain. Also, no one talks about their breakfast every day with people they work with unless they really have socialization problems.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Red Rabbit
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
Published on Aug. 28 2011 by Brian Grier
3.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining & captivating book
I really enjoyed reading this. People read Tom Clancy for the entertaining / captivating plot. This book definitely has it. Read more
Published on Nov. 22 2010 by Paul
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's The Pace & Climax ?
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 more
Published on Oct. 27 2004 by Christopher
1.0 out of 5 stars Page Filler
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 more
Published on Sept. 26 2004 by Randall Duhamel
3.0 out of 5 stars Early Clany writing is apparent
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 more
Published on July 18 2004 by russell guerra
2.0 out of 5 stars Slow and boring
I read this book only because I have read all of Clancy's other fiction books. This book was disappointing. Read more
Published on July 14 2004 by Evan M.
1.0 out of 5 stars Worse With Each Page Turned
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
Published on July 3 2004 by Melani
2.0 out of 5 stars Major disappointment
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 more
Published on June 28 2004 by Joe Burton
1.0 out of 5 stars Clancy keeps getting worse
When I heard that Clancy wrote a book that was set back in the 80's Cold War era again I was more than a little hopeful that he could regain some of his earlier writing success. Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by M. L. Robinson
1.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Clancy, Get Thee To An Editor!
A generous review: take this book as a long character exposition piece, with a middling storyline around it. Read more
Published on June 7 2004 by Moraga Amazoner
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