Clancy seems to have a finger on the international pulse between Washington, the clandestine services and our enemies abroad. I have to remind myself that this is fiction and it of course is, but either Clancy's imagination is just incredibly fertile or he has sources in key place that give him classified insights into the goings on around the world. I suspect its both. Regardless, he continues to give us a rocking good story with favorite old characters and new ones within the context of a plausible story line minus a few superhuman demonstrations....but after all it is fiction.
Lou Diamond Phillips is the perfect reader and never misses the tone or the story and it's characters. He does "Russian", "English", and a variety other voices like.... a really accomplished actor.
I don't believe this is, as one reviewer suggested, an almost perfect novel. When edits so scour an ending as if the publisher just said "enough already", the reader is left with an unfinished and undigested meal. It does however imitate other "great" contemporary literary talent whose affinity for abrupt and blunt endings, is an art form
Meyer is a gifted writer with perceptibly detailed research and character development. Yet, the hackneyed themes of America's (and the human race's) inglorious past, as if it is the only one we have, despairing lives, as if hope, possibility and redemption are literary evils, Nietzschean tragedy, as if futility and the willful directionless of the strong willed are the only ones who "inherit the earth" become so predictable as to be laughable, were the stories not so depressing.
It's almost seems as if Meyer writes for a narrow audience of peers whose validation he will, I have no doubt, receive. I, for one, find these kinds of novels...a waste of talent and thus my time. As always, Will Patton is excellent, as are his fellow readers.
Few books have the interest holding capacity to warn future generations about that which has happened in the past as something that could again happen in the future without sounding apocryphal, banal and gloomy. As horrifying as Hitler's insidious reign was, more horrifying was the ease at which he was able to gain ascendancy within arguably one of the most literate and sophisticated cultures of Western Civilization:1920-1930 Germany. After reading this book, it put the tired political slogan "it's the economy stupid" in new light. Granted we do vote our pocketbooks, but we must never forget that is exactly what the German's of the 1930's did as well. When the primary desire of elections reflect purely economic security and stability, we then could fall into the same trap as the Germans a few generations ago. We could sacrifice all our liberty for a piece of bread. The indictment against the culture then was that they were willing to forego in an almost absentmindedness the learning, philosophy, culture and freedom earn by previous generations, for a short-lived and eventual economic mirage of stability and industry. The warning to us is that we must love liberty, freedom and be willing to pay the price for those precious virtues for ourselves and others or we risk becoming civilized, prosperous slaves, ultimately becoming inhumanly insensitive and numb to those deemed less desirable. What essentially is so poignant and frightening about Shires book is not about how evil the the Third Reich was--as true as that was-- but how "normal" the Germans that Hitler led were and in that normality could descend into cultural madness.
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