Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of The Hunt for Red October.
What did you think of the reading this week? The beginning of the book was not what I was expecting. I think I thought it was going to be more action-packed, right from the beginning, but there was a lot of technical submarine talk that I wasn't prepared for. And, there were more plot lines than I was expecting. I had to make sure to read all of the section headings, so I knew exactly where the action for that little section was taking place! What did you think of the first couple of chapters?
As soon as I started reading about the submarines, I had to look up what the inside of a submarine looks like. I just couldn't picture how everything would fit in that kind of tight space. If you're curious about the inside of a submarine, check out the video below and then read this article. Is the inside of the submarine what you imagined?
In the first chapter, we learn that the Soviet submarine, captained by Marko Ramius, is up to something. It appears that this will be a normal mission, but in the first couple of pages, Ramius kills his political officer and covers up the murder. Then, he turns the submarine in a different direction than their orders decreed they should go. We don't know for sure what's happening, but it does seem reasonable that they are doing what Jack Ryan believes--defecting to the United States.
What do you think of Jack Ryan? It's interesting that he's thrust into a position of trust and power after working as a stockbroker and history professor. He is definitely someone that everyone listens to. Do you think he's similar to any other characters that you've seen in other books? Did you like reading about him, and did you find yourself rooting for him and hoping that all of his theories would end up being correct?
What were your first impressions of Ramius? He mentions that he's fed up with the Soviet system because his wife died after receiving improper care from a Soviet doctor. The doctor was not punished for his actions because he was the son of a high ranking Soviet Party member. Does that seem like sufficient motivation to kill a person on the submarine and change the mission for the submarine? Do you think Ramius is a good man, even though he has already done some horrible things?
There were a lot of extra characters throughout this first section. There was Tyler, the man who was able to look at pictures of the Red October and figure out its schematics, the President, who seemed to be a little like Reagan, and Jones, the guy who first hears the Red October. Did any of these men stand out to you? Did you get confused with all of the extra military officials who were introduced in every section?
At the end of this first section, the Soviets are having trouble with their radiation badges. Is this all part of Ramius's plan to get the submarine where it wasn't expected to be? Maybe having these messed up badges will make the submarine come up to the surface sooner than expected.
What other parts in this section stood out to you? Are you excited to read the next section?
Thanks for following along this week! I can't wait to hear your first impressions in the comments section. And, make sure to check back next week as we talk about chapters 8-13.