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Review-a-Day
Esquire
Wednesday, September 11th, 2002


 

Red Rabbit

by Tom Clancy

Clancy Time

A review by Adrienne Miller

What can I say? People love Tom Clancy. But I would like to state, for the public record, I just want to get it out there, that even the most foamingly rabid Clancy fan will surely be disappointed with Red Rabbit, a hulking, roiling boulder of a book — slow-paced, banal, jingoistic, rant-filled, over-long and unbelievably poorly written.

But is it at least fun? Well...not really. The story itself is, or could be, fascinating: It's 1981 and the Pope threatens to resign ("abdicate"?) if Poland continues its communist regime. Enter Yuri Andropov, presently of the big bad KGB, and his plot to assassinate the Pope. While the book's press materials identify this as a Jack Ryan novel (Harrison Ford: okay; Ben Affleck: bah!), Ryan is really only a peripheral character here — he's stationed in London, and is pretty much out of the picture until the book's end — and one whose only real function, as far as I can tell, is to give Clancy an excuse to fume about the evils of socialized medicine. Don't get Clancy started about socialized medicine.

The Pope-assassination investigation is led by a husband-and-wife CIA agent team, along with the code-named Rabbit, all of whom are stationed in Moscow. The only truly interesting thing in Red Rabbit is Clancy's description of Politburo intrigue. The rest of it: You won't believe it, because there's nothing to believe.

Adrienne Miller is Esquire's literary editor.


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