Tom Clancy Line of Sight, Mike Madden, author; Scott Brick, narrator
Like most Clancy books, this one is exciting, but it is also very confusing and too detailed with extraneous information. There are so many tangential themes and so many unfamiliar sounding names and places that the listener will struggle with, that a print book would be a better choice to prevent the inevitable confusion even though the narrator is one of the best.
When the book begins, Jack Ryan saves someone who is being brutally attacked by an MS13 gang member. Although the two incidents seem unrelated, eventually a link is revealed. Several other violent incidents take place which seem to be related to unrest in the Eastern European world. The story moves to the White House where Jack is having dinner with his parents before he leaves for Europe to do work for Hendley Associates. His mom asks him to do her a favor. She once operated on a child in Sarajevo with a severe eye injury, and she had lost touch with the family. She was hoping he could find her so she could see how she made out in life.
From all appearances, it seems that a Chechen Russian is involved in a plot to create havoc in the world by disrupting the already precarious relationship that exists among the Serbs, the Croats and the Bosnians. Several horrific incidents take place which seem to be pointing a finger at the Serbs, but the reader is forced to question the veracity of that theory. Who would be interested in falsely accusing one country of violence against another and why would anyone want to disturb the fragile peace existing there? Yet, the tension in that region is rising and is obvious from the way the characters interact with each other as the date of a peace conference draws near.
It seems that there is a group of fanatic Muslims who want to gain world control, and they will stop at nothing in order to create their caliphate. The men involved believe that once the world is controlled by Islam, there will be peace. The fact that there will be terrible loss of life, upheaval and violence in that pursuit seems not to concern them. They are driven by ideology and fanaticism.
At the same time, that all of these violent events are taking place throughout the Middle East and Europe, there is a Bulgarian who is plotting the demise of Jack Ryan. Vasilev wants revenge for having once been defeated by him. He thinks he is using a Bulgarian accomplice to accomplish his goal, but the Bulgarian is also using him to accomplish his own goal of world domination. Actually, everyone seemed to be using everyone else. No one could be trusted.
There was no shortage of villains. When the novel ends, although the threads are knitted together, they often required the reader to suspend disbelief. Jack Ryan seemed to think with his heart and his desire rather than his brain, often making foolish errors in judgment which could endanger the entire world. This belied his position in life as the son of the President and an employee of a secret security organization to protect America. His naïveté seems contrived and stretched the reader’s credulity.