My main commentary is on the last (System of the World) part of this amazing eight part epic. Can't say enough about how much fun it was.
This installment of the Ryanverse has us following Mr. Clark and Diego Chavez as they set up the international, counter-terrorism, uber-special ops team known as Rainbow Six. This story was published in 1998, but seems to presage the apparent security state as we know it today. Mr. Clark & Co. get into lots of jams, take out lots of bad guys, and save the day many times, like they are supposed to.
I always liked the Clark stories, and the Clark parts of the Ryan stories, much more than Jack Ryan, and Rainbow Six does not disappoint. Mr. Clark always seemed more of team player, having built up high functioning groups of men focused on doing bad things to bad people. While Ryan appears to be a bit of a cowboy, trying to go it alone, eschewing teamwork. While this is probably overly simplistic, it's the impression that's carried for me.
I have always enjoyed Tom Clancy, just in moderation. At 35+ hours, Rainbow Six could be more moderation than some will think is prudent. ;)
As always, on to the next Ryanverse chapter.
Coming in at over 50 hours, this picks up where Debt of Honor left off. Jack Ryan is the unelected President without a government to govern. And of course there are plots against him. Because? Well, because he's Jack Ryan of course.
This is classic Clancy, rich on the militaristic details that fans have come to love and expect. And the typical depth of characterization to go along with it. You'll love it if that's what you're expecting. Like Vince Flynn, Clancy likes to rail against "liberal" politics of nearly any stripe; any form of adult supervision; or anyone who may question the unfettered executive with unlimited resources. It gets a bit tiresome. While that's not my cup of tea, it's a good yarn nonetheless.
I'm thinking this could have been tightened up a bit and not lost anything. I had left the Ryanverse behind many years ago, having returned recently with a later story. I found I missed Mr. Clark and Diego Chavez. While they do not appear in this installment, I know they'll be around again.
This is as good as it gets for Jack Ryan. Or does it? On to the next chapter to find out.
Cornelius Ryan is one of the best writers on WWII ever. His ability to bring disparate material together cohesively to paint a clear picture of otherwise chaotic events is heroic. He mixes the great (figures of history) with the small (folks in the towns and villages) to fantastic effect. You often feel that you were there yourself. The excitement, and impending doom, of the times is clearly carried through.
It is easy to understand that the outcome wasn't always certain, when the mistakes are made clear in the cold light of history.
Simon's dulcet tones brought the historical figures to life.
There were many. The greatest were descriptions of how the civilians in and around Berlin survived, and the Allied liberations of the camps.
I would (and will) read anything by Cornelius Ryan.
I would recommend to readers (listeners) who enjoy the legal procedural in the Grisham style. Hotshot young (or early middle-age) lawyer type in a small but skilled firm is faced with a huge case that all the legal beagles think they can't handle, and who happens to fly the same helicopter type as the President. And who is a former Marine. There are twists and turns all the way through, but they feel like we've been here before. The most interesting aspect was the discussion of helicopters, how they work, their manufacture, and the deconstruction of a crash.
Joe's performance was able and did not get in the way of the material. The pomposity of the antagonist lawyer was great, bringing to mind some of the biggest stuffed shirts of all time.
Overall this is a very good, but not great, story. It felt like it was trying for the tension of a Clancy or Flynn, but sort of missed the mark. The resolution felt too Hollywood, and the repercussions not fully followed through. Often times the epilogue is the most interesting and impactful.
The story is told as vignettes of characters during the zombie apocalypse breakout in Seattle. Each is well drawn and interesting, especially when one of the most sympathetic is the local pot dealer. Go Lester!
I am most definitely continuing onto part 2. This is too good to not, as well as the team was left facing certain doom, or at least a butt-load of deaders.
Lester and Angela were my favorite, followed by Kate. Gotta love good swordplay. They were played well, with the females not all coming across falsetto as some readers do. I found them believable.
Almost one sitting. I would have listened to another 6 to 8 hours without a problem.
This might be a bit of a spoiler, so read on at your peril! I'm a bit disappointed in that two of the interesting female characters, that we spent much of the story developing and investing in, were killed off. Now I understand that we need to have emotional investment and have the peril be real, but really. That seemed a bit excessive for both, when I'd have been happy with one or the other. Well, not happy, but at least not feeling cheated. This is why I gave the Story only 3 stars. Otherwise a worthy entry in the Zom canon.
This had me at the sample. Of course I've already recommended it, and it's not even finished yet. I've been through a number of zom and vamp stories, and this one is a good one. A great new perspective with an approachable heroine, or zomb-oine as it were.
Angel Crawford, of course. Allison's hit the right mix of southern sound with smart aleck that works. Also, her dumbass cops are funny too.
This is just good fun. My only wish is it were longer.
I made it through all eight parts of this most intriguing tale. Stephenson creates characters that seem to jump through the mists of time to be real and alive.
Where to start. All the characters were intriguing. The main - Half-Cocked Jack, Drs. Waterhouse, Leibnitz and Newton, Lady Eliza, and Enoch the Red. Plus the minors of Jack's brother Bob and Jack's sons, Father Ed, Fraze, Dapper, Princess Caroline, Roger Comstock, Hook, Wren, and the rest of the lot.
Simon Prebble has as gifted a voice as Jim Dale. Each character was fully realized, different, and distinctive. Even the ladies. I'd recommend this for him alone if the story were half as good as it is. They were all great.
This is an epic tale of the birth of modernism of the baroque period. It is fiction, Stephenson refers to it as science-fiction due to it centering around Isaac Newton and many other contemporaries of the Royal Society; I'd go a bit further with historical science fiction. It's a great long yarn told with names of dead white guys with big wigs you heard in school, but didn't know anything about them. All eight parts of the tale probably total over 75 hours, but what a ride.
Suarez delivers a riveting "page turner" that's just fun to listen to. Definitely come back again to it.
Gurner, having listened to him in Suarez two previous books, has a good grasp of the style. He has the sound needed for these very contemporary technological tales. The right mix of confidence and smarm.
Listening with a native Irish speaker made this sublime.
The lead Gerry Fagin as the skilled, flawed and broken thug is compelling. Trying to do the right thing to stop the voices and followers in his head. I could see Liam Neeson doing him justice.
Stewart Neville has a convincing and harrowing tale of redemption and damnation all wrapped up into one. Ireland is a beautiful and haunted place that came alive for me in this tale. No one gets out undamaged.
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