Power and Empire by Marc Cameron

Power and Empire by Marc CameronPower and Empire by Marc Cameron
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons on November 28th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Politics
Pages: 582
Format: Ebook

A newly belligerent Chinese government leaves US President Jack Ryan with only a few desperate options in this continuation of the #1 New York Times bestselling Tom Clancy series.

Jack Ryan is dealing with an aggresive challenge from the Chinese government. Pawns are being moved around a global chessboard: an attack on an oil platform in Africa, a terrorist strike on an American destroyer and a storm tossed American spy ship that may fall into Chinese hands. It seems that President Zhao is determined to limit Ryan's choices in the upcoming G20 negotiations. But there are hints that there's even more going on behind the scene. A routine traffic stop in rural Texas leads to a shocking discovery--a link to a Chinese spy who may have intelligence that lays bare an unexpected revelation. John Clark and the members of the Campus are in close pursuit, but can they get the information in time?

Ever since the passing of the great Tom Clancy, there have been a steady stream of ‘co-written’ books by a number of other authors, some with major readerships of their own, and some lesser-knowns. They can be a bit hit and miss, and while I particularly enjoy the work of Mark Greaney in this series, I am always open to trying new blood. Power and Empire is set in the Jack Ryan universe, although most of the action centres around his son Jack Jr, and the operators of The Campus.

I find it challenging to describe the plot, without revealing too many spoilers, but I really felt there were too many moving pieces in this book. The Campus operators are investigating some generic bad guys for basically unspecified Bad-Guy-ness, when they are drawn into a combination child smuggling ring, Chinese Triad, and Mexican drug cartel angle. There is a hell of a lot of head-hopping between the various actions going on around the world, from Chinese politics to games of brinkmanship in the South China Sea, all of which seem to have no connection with each other.

I suppose this is almost more of a political mystery story than a true action thriller as some of the other book in this series have been. There are glimpses of Lee Child-like actions here, as it was trying to tell this very small human story while the rest of the action, and the world events go on around it. Which I wouldn’t necessarily have a problem with, but I think the author allowed himself to get too carried away with the sub-plots. When the proverbial excrement hits the fan, I want all my pieces in the right place. Something I also noticed is that the main characters seem to do an awful lot of communication over radio. It sounds kind of silly, but I felt this was a metaphor for just how disconnected everything felt from each other. After this many books in the series, the characters are very well-developed in the mind of the reader, and I just felt like there was not that same voice that I knew and loved.

Overall, I would say that Power and Empire, as a first outing for the author in this universe, is a competent enough book. I think that it was a story that could have any set of generic good guys to go with the strange mix of bad guys and it would have been the same story though. Definitely not my favourite Clancy-verse book, but still a decent read, if you are prepared to follow the rabbit warren of plots.

On a side note, I must say the one thing that I had to laugh at was a reference to someone researching guns on the Hickok45 Youtube channel. I fricking love that channel so much.

Rating Report
Overall: three-stars

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