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Red Rabbit (Tom Clancy) Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

There's not a shot fired until page 602 in Clancy's lumbering new thriller, and readers up on their history will know the outcome of that shot on page 17. What comes in between is a slow-moving but, given Clancy's astonishing flair for fly-on-the-wall writing, steadily absorbing imagining of the back story behind Mehmet Ali Agca's (real-life) failed attempt on the life of Pope John II in 1981. By going back 21 years, Clancy provides a fresh adventure for a young Jack Ryan, but Ryan fans (and presumably Ben Affleck) may be surprised to learn that Ryan is, until the final scenes, only a supporting player here. The book's main heroes are the husband-and-wife team of Ed Foley, CIA station chief in Moscow, and his agent-wife, Mary Pat, and Oleg Zaitzev (code-named Rabbit), the mid-level employee in the KGB communications department who for conscience's sake decides to defect to America when he's asked to encrypt messages that reveal a plot, under the auspices of then-KGB chief Yuri Andropov, to kill the pope in response to the pontiff's secret letter threatening to resign the papacy and to return to Poland to resist Soviet domination. In real life, the pope wrote such a letter, and analysts have long speculated that the Soviets, via Bulgarian controllers, dispatched Agca to kill him. It's utterly fascinating to read Clancy's playing out of that likely scenario is there a writer in the world who brings so much verisimilitude to scenes both high (Politburo meetings) and low (details of spy craft and everyday Soviet life)? But while Clancy delivers a believable and encyclopedic version of real-life events, the suspense is minimal a disappointment when other writers (Forsyth in Day of the Jackal, for one) have shown that there can be enough tension in a fated-to-fail assassination plot to give a stroke to a yoga master.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Clancy returns to Jack Ryan's first days in the CIA, when the fate of the free world hung in the balance as Ryan discovered a heinous plot to assassinate the Pope. Clancy is so big that this new novel merits a special limited edition (ISBN 0-399-14914-7. $150).
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Jack Ryan Novel (Book 11)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425191184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425191187
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (822 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Clancy is America's, and the world's, favorite international thriller author. Starting with THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, all thirteen of his previous books have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His books, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS have been made into major motion pictures. He lived in Maryland where he was a co-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 88 people found the following review helpful By M. L. Robinson on June 8, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I heard that Clancy wrote a book that was set back in the 80's Cold War era again I was hopeful that he could regain some of his earlier writing success. Not that I was hopeful for his well-being, but more that he would start writing books that were as enjoyable as the ones he wrote early in his career (Red Storm Rising, Patriot Games, Hunt for Red October, etc.). If Red Rabbit was an attempt at reliving the early years then he failed miserably.

Red Rabbit focuses on the spy game that was so prevalent during the Cold War 80's between the Soviets and the British/Americans. Attempting to relieve political pressure from the Pope and remind Poland who's boss, the Soviets decide to assassinate the Pope. Having read previous Clancy books I assumed that this was the catalyst and that the plot would promptly fill in around it. That was my first mistake (and possibly Clancy's too). Instead of moving on with the details of the assassination and the West's attempt to prevent it, the story completely switches gears, now attempting to highlight an unremarkable character in KGB agent Oleg Zaitzev that has an attack of conscience and decides to defect with his family and some very sensitive information. On a sidenote, how can Clancy possibily expect the reader to believe in the shear coincidence of Zaitzev arbitrarily choosing a person on the subway to help with his defection because the guy looked like an American, when in fact he's actually chosen the CIA chief of station in Moscow. Lucky guess, right?

My second mistake was assuming that the story would right itself and get back on track with what seemed to be more interesting, the prevention of the assassination. Instead the pace of the books slows considerably while the focus has shifted to the defector.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jon D. Lindjord on January 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
It seems more likely to me that he outlined the basic plot and then turned it over to someone else to do the grunt work. In particular, the dialogue and characterization of some key players (very notably Ryan's wife -- who is not even remotely recognizable as the woman in the other books) is stilted and crude compared to Clancy's own writing. Clancy uses profanity in dialogue in a way that makes sense and is that is consistent with the character who is speaking. In this book, the use of profanity is stilted and capricious, almost as if the writer was not a native American English speaker. Finally, one of the hallmarks of every one of Clancy's previous book was his careful attention to technical details in a way that added depth to the storytelling. That is not at all evident in Red Rabbit.
I am a major fan of Clancy's past books, and I have no problem with him making a few extra bucks by "phoning this one in", but I think he did his readers a disservice.
If he did write this himself, it's even more disappointing.
Oh, well.
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86 of 102 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Save some time and just read this:
While sleeping the sleep of the just he looked at his wife, the eye cutter, and asked himself, "How many divisions does the Pope have?" which made him realize that little girls give the best hugs. Suddenly he recalled that the KGB had roasted a traitor alive and made a film of it so he decided to buy some Starbucks stock before it was available. Then the Pope didn't get killed.
Now read it again and again and again.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Nolan F. Bond on August 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
First of all, I have to say that I am a huge Tom Clancy fan but "Red Rabbit" REALLY put that to the test. I normally love seeing continuing characters inserted into "real" history. C. S. Forrester's Hornblower is a perfect example of how this can be done with hardly a ripple and Tom could learn a lot from him. A better plot would have been to have dropped Mr. Clark into Sophia to try and uncover the plot and then barely fail in an attempt to stop the assassination. But, then, that wouldn't have generated another script treatment for Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan. In fact, I almost could hear the AFLAC spokesduck quacking out "Affleck!" throughout the book. Maybe I'm wrong but...
Anyway, to the book. It's been a long time since I had to force myself to finish a book by an author that I liked but this read was work. Hard work. I, for one, always have found the relationship of Jack and Cathy Ryan to be wooden and stilted but there were always other exciting sub-plots running in the background that eventually drew us mercifully away. Not here. They are like Luci and Desi on Prozac. Several times I caught myself fantasizing about Cathy hitching a ride on the Popemobile and taking one or two for the Pontif. But I digress. I have long ago accepted Clancy's difficulty in showing a believable man-woman relationship just like I have given up on ever seeing John Grisham end a book well. Heavy sigh!
I've run on way too long but here's the book in a nutshell. No real drama or suspense as to the outcome. Too much of Jack and Cathy. No entertaining side issues or sub-plots. Not even any good jingoistic rhetoric. Too big to be so dull. C'mon, Tom!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "s2k4bobby" on March 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I have been a big Tom Clancy fan. Since I first read "Hunt for Red October", I have loved the multiple strong characters and story lines that he blends together to make thrilling, compelling reading.
That said, this book was BORING! The action in this book didn't start until around pg. 500 and wasn't in high gear until pg. 580. By that time, I just wanted to finish. Since I normally read paperbacks, I was even more disappointed by a book that I'd paid so much for.
This book was a lot like "Star Wars 2". You already knew the start (of the "Jack and his friends" saga) and had seen the journey to its conclusion at the White House. Now Mr. Clancy has tried to fill in the blanks about his CIA characters that I really didn't care about. Trying to fit a story around details that have been told many times before doesn't make for easy writing. Mr. Clancy wasn't any more successful that George Lucas.
The only thing positive I can say about this novel is that in carrying it around, I improved my muscle tone.
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