I've wanted to read a Tom Clancy novel for a long time. Since this is his first, one of his shortest, and since I have seen the enjoyable movie based on it, I thought I'd give this novel a try.
At first, the book was pretty exciting. It got off to a quick start, taking us aboard the Red October as it's about to head to sea.
Then the boredom slowly began to build up. Page after page, Clancy shows what is happening elsewhere as the crew of Red October defect. We learn what is happening in every U.S. government office, on every U.S. ship and submarine, on and on and on. Every twenty pages or so, the story returns to the Red October for a couple pages. Eventually, it seems like you go for 50 pages without reading about what's happening on the Red October.
What's more, his descriptiveness gets to you after a while. It's nice to learn in-depth details about certain relevant things, but when he goes into the history of a Russian official's letter opener (how he first received it and what he was doing in his life at the time), it just gets to be too much and too unimportant.
I now realize this is Clancy's style -- to paint a full picture in order to see everyone's point of view and to be completely thorough. But in the process, the plot is lost. The book loses its momentum and becomes completely boring. By page 272, I withdrew my bookmark and closed the book, escorting it to my pile of books to trade.
If I was someone with only a few books to read, I might have bore (pun intended) this out to the end, but I have too many books and too little time. Not even John Updike is this detailed and longwinded. Rent the movie instead!