- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 22 hours and 1 minute
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Random House Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: January 25, 2011
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004KSUCM4
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Patriot Games Audiobook – Unabridged
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Jack Ryan is visiting London on vacation with his eye surgeon wife Catherine and 4-year-old daughter Sally when they find themselves close to a terrorist attack by the Ulster Liberation Army on a Rolls Royce driving through St James Park. After the terrorists have blown up the front of the car with a grenade they start moving in firing machine guns, intent on capturing the people in the back of the car. In seconds, Ryan tackles one of the attackers and kills another but is seriously injured. He didn't realise until later that the occupants of the car are the Prince and Princess of Wales and their infant son.
This fantasy opening makes Ryan and his family close friends to the Royal Family and the Queen gives him an honorary Knighthood for his bravery. While the captured Irish terrorist Sean Miller is given life imprisonment, with the help of the ULA he escapes when being moved to a high-security prison. Miller vows that he will eliminate Ryan and capture the Prince.
The rest of the book details Ryan's determination to find Miller and defeat the ULA and to do this he reluctantly accepts an invitation to work at the CIA. Miller pops up again in the US, targeting Catherine and Jack. Later on, he continues his vendetta against Ryan and the Prince with a stunning bloody gunfight at the end.
I enjoyed going back to the start of the Jack Ryan saga and to read Clancy when he was at the top of his form. Some aspects of the book are dated (for example, terrorism was considered to always have political motives) and technology is fairly primitive. My main reservation is that Clancy's writing style is pretty ponderous and detailed. In those days, we expected blockbuster novels to be 800 pages but now we would expect this kind of story to be a compelling 400-500 page-turner.
My other reservation is Clancy's inclusion of real people in the plot in fictitious situations, especially the Royal Family. He also has poor understanding of Royal protocols - calling the Duke of Edinburgh "My Lord" and the Prince "Your Highness".
Many of you will have seen the movie of the book starring Harrison Ford and Anne Archer. I suggest that you read the book because the finale when Ryan finally catches up with Miller is very different and shows Clancy's forethought in making Ryan the kind of character he becomes in later books.
As pointed out by several reviewers the conversion to an e-book has not been done well with no breaks between different sections of the action making some parts difficult to follow.
Unfortunately, I think that I expected too much from his older book and Patriot Games ended up not captivating me very much. Maybe I was expecting something more thrilling and a better elaborated plot, but it really, really, felt like watching cliché action movies with several moments of tedious nothingness. I mean, literally, during more than half of the book, absolutely NOTHING happens. And it really saddened me, because the first, say, 20 pages of the book were absolutely awesome, with a lot of action. It was naive of me to think that this rhythm was going to be kept through the more than 500 pages of the book. Of course, Patriot Games does have its share of frenetic action, but the interval between them is so long that the investigation parts didn't really hold my interest for too long. After a while, I started to think that the good parts of the book were actually the romantic scenes between Jack and Cathy.
There are tons of characters in the book and I find it amazing that pretty much all of them have a military background. Okay, Jack was once a Mariner, it should be kinda obvious that most of his contacts had a common background. But if you look carefully, there is not a single character in the book (besides the women) who doesn't have a military background, and the "coincidences" really bothered me.
The same goes for the multiple-view narrative. Clancy wanted to show both sides of the coin, but in the end, the villains were essentially evil people while all the other characters were support-good guys who praised Jack Ryan for his brave efforts in every single page. It was either this or Jack stating that "no, I'm nothing. You're the one who's awesome".
I still want to give a second chance for other Tom Clancy's books. Maybe it's just the fact that this is one of the first books he ever wrote. I want to believe that his writing skills improved as time went by.
You do have to get past the Bromance Clancy has with the military and anyone with a badge which can get a little annoying at times, but that's just the way he is.
This book tells the story of how Jack Ryan came to work for the CIA after stopping a terrorist attack on The Prince and Princess of Wales in England.