Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Larry Bond's Red Dragon Rising: Shadows of War

I liked Red Storm Rising, Bond's first novel from the 1980's co-authored with Tom Clancy about a war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact.  It had great, believable action (verisimilitude, to use Clancy's term) and characters you could care about.  Red Dragon Rising - not so much.

When you get your name in the book's title that's probably a good thing and demonstrates the success Bond has had since his first book.  I know I've read a lot of them including the first of the First Team series.  But when the ending of a book screams "Sequel!" because of all the loose ends and unresolved plot lines you know you've just finished reading a commercial venture and not a novel.  Another bad sign is when your speed reading kicks in (and you don't really know how to speed read).

So anyway, in the not too distant future climate change throws the world's economies a nasty curve ball with mixed blessings.  England, on one hand, becomes a sunny vacation spot.  But poor China turns into a desert, loses the ability to grow rice to feed its populace, and resorts to military exertions to get what it no longer can grow (or drill for).

Throw in a wayward climatologist in the wrong place at the wrong time, an orphaned girl, a CIA operator (female, tough but nice looking - of course), and a budding military genius named Zeus and you get...  the first in a series.

Maybe I'm being too harsh because I liked Red Storm Rising too much.  It's not like I'll never buy another of Bond's books again.  But perhaps I was just hoping for a little bit more.

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