Ever have a friend start telling you a story and say "hey, let me give you a little background" ... and 30 minutes later they're still going in circles giving you background that really has nothing to do with nothing? If so, you can relate with my reaction to this book. At any number of points, I wanted to scream "JUST GET TO THE POINT!"
I'm a pretty sophisticated reader, but this book is painful. The author will spend ten minutes discussing every little detail in scenes that are effectively 20 or 30 seconds of action. I expect this in the first half of any book as the plot is being setup ... but I swear that this author (at least in this book) actually gets MORE detailed as the book unfolds. The plot is great ... the characters are interesting ... the author clearly has talent ... but I'm just not spending any more credits on this author/series.
This is one of those rare stories that could have been 3 or 4 books rather than one. Many of the supporting plot lines was so interesting I would have loved to see the sub-stories elevated. I don't say these things as criticism, but rather as a compliment. Clancy did a masterful job (as usual) with facts, locations, and keeping things realistic ... but he really shows development in his action sequences in this book. His characters are never going to Jason Bourne, mind you ... but all the same, this book exceeds his already great work in the action department. I highly recommend.
I've read all the "Espionage" and "Action Thrillers" greats ... Clancy, Berenson, Thor, Flynn, etc .... and if this looks like YOUR reading list, you'll LOVE this book and author. The book is more "grounded" than some, lacking Hollywood antics, and instead focusing on a great, plausible story and realistic dialogue. This is the best book in the genre I've read to date. Can't wait for the next installment.
This quality and intelligence of this book isn't (in my opinion) captured in the reviews. I passed over this title MANY times, and only came back after I'd run out of material from some of my favorite authors (Flynn, Thor, etc.) Ten minutes into the book, I was transfixed. I typically use audiobooks for travel and running ... and I found myself going on longer and longer runs just to finish this book. Don't get me wrong ... there are a few quirky scenes ... the author doesn't have a good flow in the earlier action sequences (first book I believe) ... but all in all this is a TOP SHELF book and comes with my highest recommendations.
I judge books and movies by a fairly high standard. Being a working adult/father/full time graduate student, I don't have time for dumb stories, bad cliches, or glaring plot issues. This book had none of those problems. The story is fairly believable (for a spy thriller) and the writing is quite intelligent. The narrator does a great job with the story and kept me engaged for the duration. I highly recommend.
This book will appeal to a broad audience; the climber that's interested in FACTUAL material about their sport, the athlete that's looking for motivation, the historian that wants insight into the legacy of mountaineering in the high peaks of the world, and the "average Joe" that wonders why any individual would ever want to put themselves at risk for such a seemingly selfish undertaking.
Ed touches on these topics along with many others in the book. The individuals of the text are introduced with such detail that you will laugh (and sometimes cry) as their lives (and some deaths) are related. As I listened to the final chapter, I was truly sad the "ride" was over. Do note, however, that the book at times seems to turn and twist back on itself (chronologically). That said, the organization makes complete sense as the book closes ... you realize that the book was written exactly as it should have been.
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