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.
At this point I should be talking about how the story is progressing although this is usually around the time when I start running out of new ways to open the review. In this case it’s been the same intro for a while now, how the stuff at Op-Center is usually annoying and taking time away from the more interesting story in Korea, plus how things are going slow as they try to introduce characters for the series with annoying padding that does nothing to advance the plot. If you cut out all the stuff from the US this would be a faster and more interesting book. The chapter count makes it look worse than it is until you look at the actual page count for most of the chapters, but reading it doesn’t make it any better.
- Chapter 53: Wednesday, 2 AM, Yanguu Village: 4 pages
- Chapter 54: Tuesday, 12:30 PM, Op-Center: 7 pages
- Chapter 55: Wednesday, 2:35 AM, the Diamond Mountains: 3 pages
Fourteen pages, slightly over a normal chapter but the sooner we’re done the better and there’s still too much to go.
Well, I was right. It wasn’t Cho. His face hidden in the darkness, the man was wearing Cho’s…it says clothing but then wouldn’t he have Cho’s keys on him or did he leave them with Cho’s body? Or maybe Cho put them in his underpants, who knows? This is the attack by Eyepatch’s guys but girl-Kim ends up saving Hwan…just not before the conspirator stabs him. Girl-Kim loads the dead body as Hwan manages to tell her they’ll want to check his fingerprints and find out who he is. I’m assuming they’ll come back for Cho’s body later, before Hwan becomes the third body here. Even before he passes out he realizes this guy is probably South Korean and not one of girl-Kim’s people. Was the plan to kill him and make the others think it was another Northern attack? I though they were supposed to be Hwan up to convince HIM that the North really is up to something? This was a good scene. Too bad we’re going to have to wait to follow up on it.
Okay, the next chapter was better than I thought because it actually moved the plot. The doctor’s figured out what’s wrong with Paul’s son and they caught it early enough to treat, but the success is still in doubt. Afterwards Paul, Ann, Liz, and Lowell meet over the phone with Gregory, who won’t be dissuaded from talking to the North Korean general and good for him. As long as he’s not part of the conspiracy this might go well, but we know one of Eyepatch’s plants have informed him of what’s about to happen. The surprising part is Paul decides to stand by Gregory’s decision, trusting him not to commit political suicide for himself and Op-Center (but still looking into damage control if it goes wrong) because he trusts him and stands by his people. This is why Paul is one of the only decent characters. Meanwhile Ann was wondering a few minutes earlier if she should leave but he tells her to stay–which makes her happy–so she’ll be there when Gregory calls–which makes her sad–and about Alexander’s condition–which makes her sadder. What…a…bitch! Then Paul gets an update from the other likable character at Op-Center as Matt figures out they’ve been had. How? We’ll have to wait and see. this was much better than I was expecting.
So now we have four Kims in our cast. “Kim” must be more plentiful that “Pat” in Korea or they just didn’t know any other Korean names. This Kim is Kim Ki-Soo and luckily the book usually refers to him as Ki-Soo. I guess even they were being distracted by all the Kims. This book just establishes that he’s here to oversee the Diamond Mountain missile base, why it’s here, and how it works, but the guy in charge is curious about all this. Maybe he’ll end up being another blockade in stopping the conspiracy without even knowing it?
As it turns out these three chapters were pretty decent. Even the Op-Center portion finally pushed the main story along as well as the subplot with Alexander’s condition. By having them interact with Gregory and hitting a revelation about their false images they finally matter to the main story. Although is every Op-Center chapter going to end on a cliffhanger now? It makes it feel further like a separate book. Maybe that’s the source of the author confusion in my research. Clancy is writing about the US stuff and Jeff Rovin the Korean stuff, or vice versa. The former would make more sense as Clancy sets-up his new series and Rovin handles the main plot. I don’t know for sure, but we have three more chapters next week and I’m somewhat more interested in seeing what happens next. It only took 2/3rds of the book for me to finally get interested in the book.
I’m not sure that’s a good thing.