The Sum of All Fears – Impressions

I just finished reading The Sum of All Fears, by Tom Clancy. I’ve been reading a few of those, recently; I guess I’ve been on a spy thriller kick for a while, and ever since 24 ended I’ve had to turn elsewhere for my fix.

I read The Hunt For Red October first, then Patriot Games (which actually comes before Red October, in terms of series continuity), then The Cardinal of the Kremlin, and now The Sum of All Fears. I skipped Clear and Present Danger because a) I’ve read it before, and b) I don’t own a copy at the moment. I had to try to remember what the plot of that one was, for the sake of continuity, but there were enough clues scattered throughout Sum to remind me, luckily.

Of the four sequential Clancy novels I’ve just read, Sum is by far the largest and the most politically ambitious. Each of the novels has delivered great intrigue and action, but Sum does a fantastic job of tying a series of decisions, personalities, and accidents together into a plausible and very scary climax. He doesn’t pull his punches, either (which is one of the similarities I’ve noticed between Clancy and 24, outside of 24’s really disappointing final few episodes).

At over 900 pages, it’s not a quick read, but it’s a worthwhile one if you’re a fan of the genre.

But now that I’m finished, I have choose whether to continue with the series–Debt of Honor is on my shelf–or take a break and read something else for a while. Feel free to help me out:

What novel should I read next?

  • Emma - Jane Austen (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (42%, 5 Votes)
  • The Day It Rained Forever - Ray Bradbury (25%, 3 Votes)
  • Debt of Honor - Tom Clancy (33%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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6 thoughts on “The Sum of All Fears – Impressions”

  1. The Sum of all Fears is my favourite Tom Clancy after Patriot Games to be honest. I found it well paced and a good read overall, especially since I've noticed a decline in Tom Clancy's work in the last few novels. Glad to hear you enjoyed the book and I think you should continue reading his series, at least until you hit this decade's books, too much blind patriotism for my taste.

  2. To be fair, there's a lot of patriotism (and more than a touch of old-school perspective on gender roles) in the early ones, too. I don't mind it that much. It's part of the flavour of his writing, I think.

  3. Like I said on Twitter, I'd advise against reading any of his fiction that came out after the fall of the Soviet Union. It's not nearly as good, and frankly just disappointing. Have no opinion on the other options though.

  4. Don't read anything after The Bear and The Dragon. He goes seriously off the deep end with his right-wing fanatacism.

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