Synopsis of the Storyline
The “Hunt for Red October” is inspired by actual events, the mutiny on the Storozhevoy and the sinking and salvage of K-129. Written in 1984, in an era that saw the fall of the Berlin Wall, it soared in popularity when President Reagan said he enjoyed it. The basic plot chronicles the story of the Soviet submarine Red October, its Captain Marko Alexandrovich Raimius and crew as they attempt to defect to the United States taking the submarine and its new technology with them. Russia sends a fleet to retrieve the submarine and two Americans figure out approximately where Red October is and where she is headed. One of these is the protagonist Jack Ryan, a CIA agent; the other is Captain Bart Mancuso of the USS Dallas. Jack Ryan concludes rightly, that Captain Raimius is trying to defect and the hunt is on. In the end, of course Ryan helps Raimius defect and scuttle a decoy. When it is time to send off the actual shell of Red October, sans technology, Ryan and Raimius are both there and Raimius offers a concluding sentiment that Red October “ was a good ship.”
I particularly enjoyed how fully Tom Clancy developed the character of Captain Marko Alexandrovich Raimius. I could truly relate to his heartbreak at the loss of his wife Natalia. His service to his country demanded their separation for long periods. The government’s failure to demand competence from politically connected doctors made that separation permanent when she died at the hands of the physician son of a Politburo member. When he decides that the technological advances of Red October’s caterpillar drive is too dangerous to be under Soviet control I could relate to the combination of icy logic and heartbreak that framed it.
Some of the subplots slowed the story down almost painfully at times. However, they did not interfere enough to dissuade me from looking for the sequel “The Cardinal of the Kremlin” and the prequel “Patriot Games.”