Monday, October 11, 2010

100 Days of Fantasy: Day 62

This is an ongoing series looking at books that have influenced me as a fantasy author.

The Hunt for Red October
by Tom Clancy

The Hunt for Red OctoberI was a relative latecomer to the Tom Clancy military thriller boom. I didn't catch on until the move versions of The Hunt for Red October was near release in 1990. I had heard about Clancy and his few novels up to that point, but I hadn't bitten yet. Then when I saw the trailers for the film on television, I was intrigued enough to give the novel a try.

The tale of a Soviet submarine captain who decides to defect while taking the submarine with him, and a former CIA agent who figures this out and spearheads a U.S. response in bringing in the submarine captain are just great literature, and thrilling writing. The plot twists and turns a little here and there, but it's solid for the most part, and the characters are well thought out.

I was hooked.

I won't say The Hunt for Red October was Clancy's best novel. Actually, I don't think he hit his full stride for at least three or four more novels. I read most of Clancy's works through about the late 1990s, enjoying some more than others but liking them all, but then I began to lose interest. Clancy seemed to go into stranger and stranger land as his main character, Jack Ryan, became president of the United State's. Clancy's fictional world seem to move more and more away from the real one, and I guess for me at that point his tales no longer held the same resonance. Sad. Because I liked Clancy's writing a lot, so much so he's the only modern military thriller writer whom I've followed religiously for any amount of time, though that might not be surprising considering Clancy pretty much single-handedly brought the genre into prominence (though I'm not suggesting he created it).

As a writer studying Clancy's works, one of the things he does quite well is making his characters likable, at least the one's the reader is supposed to like. Clancy's heroes are men with honor who at least attempt to do the right thing more times than not, who set aside politics and often personal lives to deal with the dark side of the world's politics.

Great reading. I truly wish the author could have kept my interest. Perhaps I should give him a try once more.

Up next: The First Book of Swords

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I read this one and Red Storm Rising. both were good but didn't make me read anything further by him.