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Sum of All Fears, The - Tom Clancy
Dec 19, 2002 10:49 PM 1593 Views
(Updated Dec 19, 2002 10:49 PM)

Readability:

Story:

I'm a huge Clancy fan, but this outing falls short. The first four-hundred pages are little more than character introductions masquerading as scenes; little if anything happens outside of the opening scene. Some of the conclusions drawn by Ryan, especially concerning the Israeli-Palestinian situation, don't make any sense to me. And then there are the endless looks into the innermost thoughts of backstabbing, power-hungry politicians, which I found very wearisome. And the technical explanations of the nuclear bomb - I actually took some physics in college, and yet still I felt like I was reading a textbook that was well beyond my comprehension.


The book does pick up nicely between pages 500 - 700 though, and becomes your typical fast-paced, seat of your pants Clancy work.


Then comes the ending. I suppose the problem was that I really didn't care for any of the characters (Ryan included) by that point, and my main thought was ''It'll be surprising if these idiots don't end up destroying the world''. The very end, where the terrorists get their due, suffered from what could best be described as a fairy-tail idealism; Clancy seems to forget that if a nuclear bomb were detonated in the US, a country would certainly need to be invaded in retaliation. It's confusing as to whether the terrorism was state-sponsored or not - Clancy wastes so much time giving us physics lessons that he's not got enough pages left to properly wrap up key plot points. He seems to lose sight of their importance by the end, focusing instead on, well...all the characters basking in the warmth of their own overwhelming personal morality.


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