Tom Clancy’s Mirror Image Brings Together a Tricky Plot
The second book in the Op-Center series, Mirror Image, is yet another blockbuster for Clancy fans. This time, Russia takes the leading role as the ending of the Cold War makes way for brand new threats. Russia has a new president who aims to bring democracy to the country but is dealing with strong adversity from all sides—right-wing nationalists, Czarists, the mafia, and other nefarious forces, some allegedly hoping to revert the country back to the old Soviet Empire.
A Race Against the Clock
From the outset, Mirror Image is like a race. The first few chapters rapidly jump from one geographical location to the next all over the world and from morning to night to afternoon just as quickly. One minute you’re in a historic museum St. Petersburg, Russia and the next you’re in bustling New York City streets in America. You soon find yourself back in Russia, but this time in the frozen wilderness of Siberia. Some readers could end up feeling a bit jet-lagged, but they’ll soon get the rhythm of the novel and enjoy the context these jumps give the story as it unfolds. The pace intensifies as the US National Crisis Management Center (Op-Center) steps in to prevent disaster in Russia. The center’s task is made infinitely more challenging by their Russian counterpart, the ROC, was created with a similar function but contrasting objectives.
Action, Action, and More Action
As is often the case in Clancy novels, the plot begins with an explosion. A bomb is detonated in New York with the goal of keeping America out of Eastern Europe but instead results in the Op-Center (the American version) zoning in on Russia. The Russian mafia makes an appearance when a shipment of drug money on the Trans-Siberian Railroad becomes the focus of both countries’ investigations. The plot thickens when the discovery is made that the money was going to pay off high-ranking officials.
The plot of the book revolves around greed, both for power and money. Consequently, the characters are willing to go to all kinds of extremes, which leads to a lot of action. In true Clancy style, the narrative is well researched and keeps the reader enthralled every step of the way.
Layers of Adventure
Mirror Image is yet another multi-layered but concise story, expertly crafted by Tom Clancy, Jeff Rovin, and Steve Pieczenik. The characters are well developed and some particularly stand out, like the ROC chief, General Sergei Orlov, and the intrepid British spy, Peggy James. The subplot featuring James is one of the best parts of the book. Another great part is when an American general shares a Russian folk story with a Russian general, which just goes to show how history has lessons for everyone. The only downside to the character development is that there are so many roles, it’s a bit tough to figure out which ones to focus on. But despite this, it’s still a fun and adventurous book and worth a read to Clancy fans.