Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Of Terrorists, teachers and the American Dream

What do you get when you mix terrorism, a vacation in Europe and Tom Clancy? You get the 1987 novel Patriot Games!

Plot
Patriot Games was a thriller about a former marine turned history teacher who has worked the CIA unofficially a few times. On a trip to London, he stops an attack upon the Prince of Wales and his wife by Irish terrorists. When he finally recovers from his injuries from his heroics, he believes this is the end of the excitement, but it is only the beginning.

Themes
            Tom Clancy’s story is still thrilling even today. Granted, the problems at the time in Ireland, which caused Clancy to pick an Irish antagonist group, is not as prevalent today. However, the theme of terrorism is prevalent. Through the decades since this novel was published, terrorism has moved from Ireland to the Middle East. Even with the cultural changes, the same fear can still be felt in parts of the world where terrorists are active. If one ignores the ethnicity and the mentions of the Soviet Union, this tale of terrorism could fit in the present age. I mean, isn’t it still a fear that the Prince of Wales could be killed? Of course he is much older now, but the idea of someone that important to a culture being threatened by terrorism is frightening.
I can actually picture Prince Harry and Kate Middleton in the role of the prince of the story, which is quite terrifying. If someone threatened them in the same way, I don’t know what the world would be like and how much the people of Europe would work to get the culprit (let alone what they would do to them). I wish there was a time this story would not be prevalent.

Writing Style
            I must regretfully say this is the first book I have read by Tom Clancy. I have read lots of books, but never a Clancy novel. It was thrilling as I expected it would be and quite enjoyable (as I hoped it would be).
When I read a novel published in the 1900s or earlier (like my favorite: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), it is much slower to read that say one which was published in the early 2000s. This is because of the difference in vocabulary. This novel is in the middle. It only took me a month to read (which is slow for me, but had other books I was required to read).

Author Comparison
The author I would compare Clancy to would be Dan Brown, because they both are quite popular thriller writers, though Clancy has definitely written a lot more novels than Brown (my library where I volunteer has resorted to part of a rolling cart so the novel bookshelves don’t overflow).

Negatives
            The one problem I had reading this novel was there were so many characters. At times for me it is hard to remember who is who, but that might not be as confusing for other people. Oh, another thing is the cover. Look at it. Imagine yourself pulling the trigger of that gun. How would you do that? I mean you have the trigger, but handle which you grip while you pull the trigger is on the wrong side of the trigger (should be in back of it). Other than that, it is a good novel.

Conclusion
            This was an enjoyable novel. Perhaps one day, I’ll read another book by Clancy. I actually wrote this review a little while ago, but I still think the book is cool. When I read this, I was thinking “this should be movie”. I just realized the day of me posting and typing this I found a movie adaptation. I’ll review and watch it soon!

Quote / Picture of Author
“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
--Tom Clancy

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