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📚🪫 Power and Empire by Marc Cameron

Not a Book Report

I enjoy reflecting on the movies, TV, books and other media that I consume. I’m notoriously sentimental. This series documents the books that I read. These aren’t reviews or recommendations. Just a list. For me. Mostly so that I can page through what I read, where I was, and when.

Why did I read it?

I picked up a Tom Clancy book in the Stockholm Central train station a couple months ago and it made me remember how fun these can be. So I rewound in the series by about a decade and picked up at Book 10 in the run. I have been spending a lot of time wading through some complex, but interesting, challenges at the office - all good problems, but the kinds of things that leave me beat at the end of the day and ready to jump into a novel about spies and special forces for 30 minutes before I fall asleep.

What is it?

Category Value
Title Power and Empire
Author Marc Cameron
Year Published 2017
Format Kindle
Pages 592

Publisher Summary

As mounting tensions between China and the United States push the world’s two great powers to the brink of war, it falls to President Jack Ryan to identify the lethal chess master behind the scenes in this thriller in Tom Clancy’s #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Jack Ryan is dealing with an aggresive challenge from the Chinese government as the G20 Summit approaches. 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 Premier Zhao is determined to limit Ryan’s choices in the upcoming negotiations.

But there are hints that there’s even more going on. 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?

How did I read it?

Category Value
Date Started January 6, 2024
Date Finished January 21, 2024
Places Read Lisbon

Notes - No Spoilers

  • This is the first novel in the series from Marc Cameron after Mark Greaney left for his own, Grey Man series.
  • What a loss.
  • This thing was garbage. The plot made no sense. The side plots existed for no reason. The twists were either way too obvious or far too contrived. John Clark’s entire subplot lined up with a version of the character from about a dozen novels prior. John Clark’s mission itself felt like a hamfisted addition that added nothing to the story other than to stir up readers.
  • I wanted to stop. I thought about stopping. I pushed through and I regret it.
  • Beyond just the trash of this actual novel, picking up from another author does invite a very specific challenge - the voices of the characters. I found myself thinking “Dom or Ding would never say that” or “this version of Mary Pat is completely out of sync with her character.” They felt like fan fiction editions of themselves in ways that Greaney’s takes never really did compared to the originals from Tom Clancy.
  • Does it get better? Should I keep going and try to endure another in the hopes that Cameron got this out of his system? I don’t think so. I’m going to take a break for a while.
  • I enjoyed some of the Texas place settings.
  • I found a really egregious typo on page 538: “…made the place seemed…”

Published Jan 22, 2024

Austinite in Lisbon. VP of Product at Cloudflare.