The Road to Omaha

Essay by BigPappaWHigh School, 10th gradeA+, May 2004

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In "The Road To Gandolfo", we met General Mackenzie Hawkins and his unwilling sidekick, the kicking-and-screaming Sam Devereaux, attorney at law. The result was a satirical farce of rapid-fire action and broad humor, featuring an intricate plot to kidnap the Pope. In "The Road To Omaha" Hawkins and Devereaux return, with a new supporting cast and a new Hawkins plan: lay before the U.S. Supreme Court an old treaty and an airtight legal argument, and demand that much of the state of Nebraska (including the land around Omaha, site of the U.S. Strategic Air Command) be returned to its rightful owners, namely an obscure Indian tribe called the Wopotomis.

It is almost an axiom in both literature and film that sequels rarely live up to their predecessors, and this book is no exception. Where the concept of a funny espionage/intrigue novel was fresh and inspired in "Gandolfo", in "Omaha" it appears a trifle forced.

The satire is less biting, and the humor devolves at times into a madcap, slapstick silliness reminiscent of the Keystone Cops. Reading the sequel, the reader too often gets an impression of the author struggling mightily to outdo the previous work in sheer hilarity, and in the process trampling subtlety and suspense completely out of some of the scenes.

That said, however, this is still a good book, and anyone who enjoyed "Gandolfo" will almost certainly get some fun out of "Omaha" as well. There is still plenty of wit and humor here, and Ludlum is a master at keeping the reader hooked into the story, turning the pages in anticipation and trying to get in just one more chapter before bedtime. The main characters grab you, and if some of the peripheral roles are mere cardboard cutouts, its a flaw thats...