by Mike Maden
“‘It’s me, Jack. Lay still. An ambulance will be here soon.’ He could hardly hear his own voice, hos own ears still ringing from the blast.
Moore’s dimming eyes pleaded with Jack. She tugged on his shirtsleeve with the bloody fingers of her one unbroken hand. He leaned in close, his ear next to her mouth. He saw her eyes fluttering, and the whites suddenly showing. But with her last ragged breath she managed to whisper a single word: ‘Sammler.'”
Ratings & Reviews
Book Grade: A
I have totally enjoyed Jack Ryan novels over the years, but must admit that I have not followed religiously. With a surge in popularity among my students, though, in part due to the Amazon Prime show, I felt I needed to catch up a bit. I am so glad that I did. This story has multiple plot lines with intense action scenes, and is a fast paced, well-thought-out book. Jack Ryan, Jr. is determined, intelligent, and wholly likeable. His father, President Ryan, is a patriot through and through, with insight and instinct that he uses to serve the country. Both men are tenacious in their quest for answers, but are loyal to their cause and those around them. This is especially evident when Jack teams up with Gavin, a stereotypical tech genius who roots for Jack throughout.
While there is a bit of political jargon, and there is an assumption of some familiarity with weapons, submarines, and military strategy, by and large, this book was totally approachable and spelled out key specifics without detracting from the plot. I loved the global flair that this book has, too – Jack Ryan Jr. does a bit of globe trotting in this installment, and Maden’s details, historical insight, and thoroughness moves this beyond a standard action-hero book. The whole story felt entirely modern with global politics playing a part in the story, but I appreciated that I didn’t have to do a whole bunch of catching on the series (or global events) to enjoy this book.
This book lives up to the Jack Ryan legacy and is inventive and thought provoking. I so appreciated reading an intelligent action book that goes beyond a few slapstick punches and instead incorporates intellectually stimulating details with a thrillingly fast paced techno-thriller plot. The twists, turns, and unexpected resolution were a total bonus in a solid story.
Movie Rating: PG-13
Firing Point is a true action thriller – there is cyber warfare, political strategy, and physical brawling – but it stays away from anything too intense. Yes, there are some combat scenes that are pretty graphic with vivid descriptions of sabotage and death which bump it to this rating. All of it was in keeping with the story, though, and I didn’t feel like there were any gratuitous fight scenes or distracting descriptions.
Yes, there is some language, but by and large, it is pretty tame considering the level of intensity in some of the scenes. This book will be more appealing to – and is more appropriate for older YA readers as it is technically an adult-crossover book, but by-and-large it is on the same level as most action thriller movies or tv shows without any saucy behavior or scandal.
Would I Buy This for My Library: Yes
Firing Point is a rapid-fire contemporary techno-thriller. I have a number of students who are big fans of political suspense books, and the fact that Jack Ryan is popular on tv again makes it almost certain that this will be regularly checked out. While this is book 29 in the Jack Ryan Universe series, it does not need to be preceded by other books in the series. This thought-provoking, contemporary read is a great fit for YA readers looking for some action, strategy, and political thrills.
After completing one mission, Jack Ryan, Jr. decides to take a bit of a break in Spain. Yet his vacation is interrupted when he runs into an old friend as he is leaving a cafe; within moments she is killed by an explosion that rocks the place where Jack just sat. As his friend is dying, she whispers one last word to him: “Sammler.” Jack becomes determined to uncover who killed his friend and why, but in the process, finds himself entangled in a global game of cat and mouse that leads to an ever-growing body count.
While Jack Ryan, Jr. is risking his life trying to unearth who is behind the horrific killings, his father, President Ryan, is dealing with a series of at-sea explosions that are sinking cargo ships carrying millions of dollars of materials across the sea. As the threats hit closer to home when one of Ryan’s longtime friends has his ocean liner fleet targeted, the president becomes determined to get to the bottom of who is behind the attacks and stop them before World War III erupts.
Both Ryans are determined to solve their parallel mysteries, never realizing how interconnected (or dangerous) their enemies are. With plenty of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, Firing Point is a total page turner for longtime and new Jack Ryan fans.
Book Talk Questions:
- Who or what is Sammler?
- A number of people have mysterious deaths in the first half of the book. What do they all share in common?
- What is TRIBULATION and what is it supposed to do?
- Explain what the tiger sharks are really doing and why they work so well.
- What news does President Ryan hear from the Secretary of the Treasury? What does Ryan propose as a solution?
- Why does Jack go to Tennessee? Who helps him there? How is it resolved?
A Perfect Read for Fans Of…
- The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
- Shadow of the Dragon by Marc Cameron
- Drone by Mike Maden