Panama Canal Coup

I just finished Command and Control, a thrilling addition to the Jack Ryan series that kept me turning pages well into the night. The legacy of Tom Clancy lives on, and this book is proof that the spirit of Jack Ryan continues to captivate readers with its intense political and military scenarios.

This time, the drama unfolds around the Panama Canal, an essential artery of global trade. The plot kicks off when President Jack Ryan is caught in the middle of a coup while visiting Panama to support his friend, President Rafael Botero, against socialist threats. What was supposed to be a routine display of democratic solidarity spirals into chaos, with Ryan and his team isolated and the Vice President scrambling to mount a response from Washington. The threat intensifies when the Camarilla, a vicious criminal group, seizes the opportunity to assassinate the leader of the free world.

The subplot involving the CIA’s Ground Branch and the Venezuelan Russian assassin adds layers of intrigue and personal vendetta, enriching the story with complex character motivations and fierce confrontations. Sabine, the assassin’s unhinged sister, is a formidable antagonist whose ruthless pursuit of the Director of National Intelligence adds a personal stake to the global crisis.

What really impressed me was the meticulous detail in describing the operations around the Panama Canal and the intricacies of police procedures and international espionage. It’s clear the author did his homework, but it never felt like a history lesson—instead, it added authenticity and tension to the narrative.

Although the novel spans a hefty 462 pages, my only gripe is that with so many characters and backstories, it sometimes felt overwhelming to keep track of everyone’s role. The depth of character development is impressive, providing insights into both heroes and villains that are as intricate as they are fascinating.

The standout line, “The place smelled like piss and dead dreams,” perfectly captures the gritty reality of the settings and the despair of conflict. It’s lines like these that elevate the narrative, providing not just a plot to follow but an atmosphere in which to be immersed.

Overall, Command and Control ticked all my boxes. It was a thrilling ride that reaffirmed why I love thrillers. It had all the elements—suspense, action, and intellect—that make the Jack Ryan series so enduring. Rating this book was easy: a solid 5 stars for keeping me engaged and eagerly turning pages. If you’re a fan of Clancy or high-stakes political thrillers, this is a must-read. And now, maybe it’s time for me to start from the beginning of the series to see how it all began for Jack Ryan!

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a comp of this title. The opinions are my own.

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