Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
So far the pages for each chapter has been about four pages, and not even four complete pages. Chapter Twelve: Tuesday, 5:15 AM, The White House has eleven pages. That means we finally get to do a proper Chapter By Chapter article! YAY! Don’t get used to it. This early out I can’t say this is the only time it will happen but I’m not expecting every installment to be this lucky.
This is a meeting over the bombing covered in the previous chapters. I’m hoping we’ll finally learn what the National Crisis Management Center (NCMC for short, aka “Op-Center”) is. But at least we have a full chapter to hope for it, so let’s get to it.
Okay, we still don’t have a lot of information as to what Op-Center does beyond what we can gather from the name. Instead, the story takes place in the White House situation room, as Hood joins the heads of other bureaus in coming up with a plan. Ultimately that decision is with the President, and he put Op-Center front and center, their first international crisis.
There is some interesting ways to show character personalities here. First the narration tells us about what Hood thinks of the others, but while name-dropping other characters I’m betting we meet when we finally reach Op-Center, we get the psychiatrist telling him about body language, which a few paragraphs later the author uses to further define how each character is handling the meeting and the information being given out. We still get an exposition dump when necessary but I like when a writer finds other ways to define a character without one.
Clancy is also known for his attention to detail when it comes to military operations, and we see it here. We get a good look into the security measures going in, a run down of the costs of potential loss of troops in each of the three situations, and a notation that (unlike what Hollywood likes to tell us) it’s not the military spoiling to fight but the politicians, looking to benefiting their party and themselves politically. A solder knows war and the price, and most generals know war first-hand. There’s also a discussion of other world events and how they connect to this one, dialog you’d expect to see in an actual conversation. And the author knows when to not make it too boring for the reader, just enough that regardless of real-world accuracy you believe it while reading the story. Granted, I can’t speak to the accuracy because I’m not in politics.
This was a good chapter, and I hope there are more like it. Next time however we’re back to multiple short chapters so join me for that.