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28 November 2014

Tom Clancy: Executive Orders (A Jack Ryan Novel, Book 8)

Disappointing, too long and too many unbelievable plots
From time to time I revisit a book that I read and enjoyed several years ago when Amazon discounts a book to pocket-money cost. I recall this book because it was the follow up from the end of Book 7 when Jack Ryan accidentally became President when a 747 piloted by a rogue Japanese pilot crashed into Congress and killed the President, most of Congress, the Supreme Court judges and most chiefs of the military.

Jack had just been sworn in as "caretaker" Vice President after the resignation of his predecessor when a sex scandal was revealed. At the time the plane crashed Jack was just leaving the area and was quickly taken over by the Secret Service and is left with the job of establishing the US Government almost from scratch.

While he is getting on top of this gargantuan task President Ryan is faced with a host of major international problems. Iran takes over Iraq and forms the United Islamic Republic (based on Shia Islam not the current ISIS which follows Sunni Islam). India and China back up Iran in their attempts to invade Saudi Arabia and make it part of their republic. An Ebola epidemic starts in the US from a biological warfare attack, and in the background a group of extreme right-wing rednecks from rural US plan to bomb the White House. Ryan is also faced with personal danger when sleeper agents target kidnapping  his children and also assassinating the President.

Oh dear what a bundle of overlapping and unbelievable plots!!

The book is 1,350 pages of turgid text and could easily have been written in under 500 pages. I skipped through many pages - eg who wants to learn how to fire shells from a tank or reload rocket launchers. It was a very disappointing revisit to Clancy's earlier work. Politico/terrorist writers have become so much more competent since this book was written.

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