Thursday, March 29, 2018

Tom Clancy Power and Empire: Spy, Thriller ... or Horror Story?

Book Review: Tom Clancy Power and Empire by Marc Cameron
Version: Library borrow

I'm not sure how to describe Tom Clancy novels. Spy? Thriller? Whatever they are, I really enjoy them, and Tom Clancy Power and Empire is among them. Different authors have picked up writing the series, and this book is authored by Marc Cameron, who does the series justice.

Each book works with the same basic set of characters. Principal among them are Jack Ryan, the president, and Jack Ryan, Jr., his son. Then there the team members of The Campus and members of Jack Ryan's administration. Thus, there is continuity and familiarity and common themes throughout the series. It's like a continuing series. And that can be fun.

There are Jack Ryan stories and there are Jack Ryan, Jr., stories, by the way, each which focus mostly on that main character, although either may also appear in any story. In this case, Power and Empire focuses on President Jack Ryan.

Here is how describes the book:
A newly belligerent Chinese government leaves US President Jack Ryan with only a few desperate options in this continuation of the #1 New York Times bestselling Tom Clancy series. Jack Ryan is dealing with an aggressive challenge from the Chinese government. Pawns are being moved around a global chessboard: an attack on an oil platform in Africa, a terrorist strike on an American destroyer and a storm tossed American spy ship that may fall into Chinese hands. It seems that President Zhao is determined to limit Ryan's choices in the upcoming G20 negotiations. But there are hints that there's even more going on behind the scene. A routine traffic stop in rural Texas leads to a shocking discovery--a link to a Chinese spy who may have intelligence that lays bare an unexpected revelation. John Clark and the members of the Campus are in close pursuit, but can they get the information in time?

However, this book also delves deeply into a darker corner of the world, perhaps more deeply than hinted in the description above: child slavery and prostitution. This book spends considerable space to Jack Ryan, Jr. and The Campus team hunting down the kingpins of an international child slavery  and prostitution ring, and it gets quite graphic in its details. Character John Clark is obsessive in his pursuit and manic in his drive to take revenge on the culprits. So in this sense, this book is less about spies and national security and more about private posses seeking justice. Thus, is it even thriller or horror story?

I wasn't prepared for the darker part of the story. It was startling. So before you pick up this book, be aware! I'm not saying don't read it -- I'm saying, know what you're getting into. This is the seamy side of life.

Tom Clancy set up a terrific series for other authors to follow in his footsteps. It is well thought out, and every book I have read has followed current news cycles for the details of each new story. So each book is realistic and believable. Tom Clancy Power and Empire is very much so. I enjoyed it. If you can get through the dark, seamy part, as I did, I think you will, too.

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