Duty and Honor, Grant Blackwood, Tom Clancy, authors; Scott brick, narrator
Usually, I eagerly await a Clancy novel to listen to on my long drives up and down the east coast. This book, however, was disappointing. From the get-go, I could not really figure out what it was about or what purpose the author had in mind for his book. The plot was thin and not very plausible.
When it began, Jack Ryan, the President’s son was on a forced sabbatical from his work for a clandestine part of the government called The Campus. He was attacked on his way home from a grocery store in a questionable neighborhood. At first, he thought the man simply wanted to rob him, but soon, as the man continued to accost him, he realized he might be more intent on killing him than robbing him. After a brief battle, the man was injured and wandered out into traffic, right into the path of a truck. Above, on an embankment, there is a witness, but this witness turns and leaves doing nothing to aid either of them. He disappears into the night. When revisiting the site of the “mugging”, he finds a hotel key and secretly pockets it. Shortly after, he is spotted on the scene by a detective who tells him of another recent death in the area. He connects the dots and begins to understand that this was not simply a robbery attempt, but rather a planned attempt on his life. Now he had to figure out why someone wanted him dead. Using technology available to him, he discovers the hotel’s location and stakes out the room hoping the witness/accomplice will return to collect the dead assailant’s things. He must question him to find out why his life is in danger. After this encounter, he discovers a young journalist who is following the same man as he is because he believes the man was involved in the “staged” disappearance of the son of a well known government official. They strike up a partnership. The book becomes a cloak and dagger adventure, complete with brainwashing and destruction. The men are led down blind alleys and dead-ends, as the casualties and dead bodies pile up. Murder and mayhem follow their efforts from country to country, but often, it is difficult to understand how they got from point A to point B.
Jack and his journalist friend seemed to uncover a corrupt and brutal plot created by a man who was once highly respected, but is now very disillusioned with the way of the world. He wants to take matters into his own hands to wipe out Islamic extremism. He conjures up a scheme to coerce companies to support him and when they pay him, he places the money into a dummy company to fund his effort. This company has apparently been investigated by Jack Ryan for the Hendley Associates, a front for The Campus. The man’s tactics and henchman are ruthless.
It was not a satisfying mystery for me as it seemed to go in circles without ever resolving anything satisfactorily. The plot did not roll out smoothly and the reason for Jack Ryan’s involvement seemed far-fetched and implausible. It was not until the very end that the dots even appeared to connect and explain why Jack Ryan was involved. It was only the excellent narration of the book by Scott Brick that kept me reading it.