International tenseness at its most tensest! But not much more.
The Zhukov Briefing is a military
thriller snorefest involving the Russians, the British, the Americans, the Norwegians, ships, submarines, helicopters, spies, alcohol, small towns and island sheniganary.
A super secret Russian submarine suffers from a torpedo explosion – I guess – while underway, and must ground itself on a nearby Norwegian island so it can be rescued by friendly forces. In the meantime, plans are underway to spy on the submarine… or send a bunch of British guys over there to make nuisances of themselves, the objective really isn’t that clear.
And then a whole lot of sitting around happens – sitting in cafes… sitting on boats… sitting on submarines… sitting in front of sonar / radar screens for added tension… And then there’s some kidnapping and ‘interrogation’ – most of which happens off screen (or off page I guess). There were a few named – and therefore important, I guess – Russians, who were mostly rememberable, although largely indistinguishable. The British on the other hand… they were generic as they come, apart from the Chinese woman who seemed to be there fore everybody to flirt with, and apparently she had a brother? That’s how much I cared.
I guess for all of the Tom Clancys of the world there are always going to be pale imitators who try – and fail – to reach the lofty heights. Honestly, this felt like a much less interesting Hunt for the Red October, where nothing actually happens after the opening few chapters. The only connection I felt with the real world was a mention of the Nixon / Watergate scandal.
One part of the title was thankfully accurate, in that the book was mercifully brief.
I received a review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
2 stars… largely because it somehow isn’t the absolute worst book I’ve read this week.