This book is just bad. I am not afraid to be that forthright.
First, let's establish common grounds. Tom Clancy did not write Power Plays : Politika - or any of the Power Plays stories. I knew this fact going into it. Some people who did not realize this - will be disappointed. Clearly, this book is not his writing style. The plot, however, is. Unfortunately, these Clancy-type thrillers involving terrorist and terrorist organizations are becoming old news.
Secondly, I was not biased - in a negative way - when I read this novel. Perhaps, I had a feeling deep down that it was going to be a pleasant surprise, unlike what other reviews had mentioned. I was willing to give it a shot.
Well, the verdict? I was wrong. This book is bad as it is said to be. Whoever wrote it - the book doesn't actually say - must be thankful that Tom Clancy's name is on the cover causing it to become another The New York Times bestseller.
Now, let's discuss the plot of Power Plays : Politika - or the lack of. The first chapter starts out with hope - but all hope soon ends.
[Spoiler Alert] We see the death of Boris Yeltson - then President of Russia. One might expect the following chapters to include the struggle for power in Russia - and will democracy survive? Well, this does not really happen. In fact, this book focuses on nothing specific. After the first chapter, it jumps around relentlessly and keeps introducing new characters who do not really play any pivotal roles. After a while, the book slows down and focuses on an American businessman - one Roger Gordian. Gordian is not very well written - or even realistic! How many businessmen have their own personal army that go around avenging their own personal vendettas? Now back to the story.... Midway through the book - the first exciting event happens. Yes, another terrorist attack. A bomb goes off during a New Year's Eve in - gasp! - New York's Times Square five minutes before the year 2000. As usual, the book slows down yet some more and continues to drag on - still centering around Gordian and his lackeys. However, now we also begin to find out about who these terrorists are. The U.S. government on the other hand, are not given that luxury. Of course - in an act of no creativity whatsoever - the evidence points to the helpless Russians - who naturally claim innocence. Who thought the cold war was over? Raise your hand. [End Spoiler Alert]
Although the novel ends with some rather fairly well-written action scenes - it is not memorable since the characters and the rest of the story lacked any kind of substance - and besides, at this point you are not really paying much attention by then. Why? Because you will be busy counting down pages to the finish. Now, I don't want to be too negative - too late I suppose - so let me restate this: The ending was not entirely horrible. It is just that the first 300 pages before that sets up the ending is. And remember - the paperback version is only around 400 pages.
In review, the characters of Power Plays : Politika were shallow, the plot was weak - at best the book had "flashes of decency" in the beginning and in the end.
If you have not been introduced to Tom Clancy's other works, you will therefore have lower expectations. However, it seems to me that the people who do like his other books have trouble accepting this one. I will not be reading any more of this series.