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Dead or Alive

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Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the Campus, a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn't know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highl Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the Campus, a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn't know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highly effective analyst, young Ryan hungers for the action of a field agent.The Campus has now turned their sights on the Emir, the number one terrorist threat to western civilization. A reclusive figure and mastermind of vicious terrorist acts, the Emir has eluded capture by the world's law enforcement agencies. But now with the help of ex-CIA agent John Clark and pro Marine Colonel Ding Chavez the Campus is in on the hunt. The mission: to bring the Emir in dead or alive.


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Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the Campus, a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn't know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highl Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the Campus, a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn't know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highly effective analyst, young Ryan hungers for the action of a field agent.The Campus has now turned their sights on the Emir, the number one terrorist threat to western civilization. A reclusive figure and mastermind of vicious terrorist acts, the Emir has eluded capture by the world's law enforcement agencies. But now with the help of ex-CIA agent John Clark and pro Marine Colonel Ding Chavez the Campus is in on the hunt. The mission: to bring the Emir in dead or alive.

30 review for Dead or Alive

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rachel C.

    Plowed through this book in one day. I went in eager to approve, but didn't like it as much as I'd hoped. This is the first time Clancy has shared a byline on a Jack Ryan book and I'm a bit scared that the floodgates are now open for a ton of Patterson-esque cheap knockoffs. I guess it was easier to enjoy the Cold War Clancys since there was historical, and therefore psychic, distance. I found it much harder to turn my head off and become immersed in this Middle East / terrorism story. I kept com Plowed through this book in one day. I went in eager to approve, but didn't like it as much as I'd hoped. This is the first time Clancy has shared a byline on a Jack Ryan book and I'm a bit scared that the floodgates are now open for a ton of Patterson-esque cheap knockoffs. I guess it was easier to enjoy the Cold War Clancys since there was historical, and therefore psychic, distance. I found it much harder to turn my head off and become immersed in this Middle East / terrorism story. I kept comparing it to our real world situation. And it doesn't help when one of the villains is a President who combines the idiocy of Bush with the policies of Obama. I didn't think of Jack Ryan Sr. as a far-right Republican before, but it's pretty in-your-face now. (Speaking of suspension of disbelief..... How does a master spook and former President not know where his son is working for more than a year? Isn't it naturally your first question after someone tells you they got a new job? Writers, you can't portray the family as close-knit AND hide an elephant like that.) There is A LOT of ethically uncomfortable violence. The "good guys" go out on testosterone-fueled vigilante sprees, committing multiple acts of murder and torture in the name of The Cause. They shoot one guy in the kneecaps, waterboard another guy, and perform some pretty Nazi medical experiments on a third. On this point, I just disagree with Clancy. If that is the only way to effectively fight terrorists, then that price is too high. Lastly, Clancy really needs to shelve his pride and get a hatchetman of an editor. The book is totally bloated with excrutiatingly long plot rambles that don't involve any of the main characters. After a while, I starting skipping those sections in their entirety. Man, I wish Clancy would go back and take a look at his own early work - Red October was tight as a drum.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Most people think Tom Clancy lost his nut on 9/11. And it's true, he's bugfuck insane. But it actually happened earlier than that. His fiction was predicated on the cold war, and the cold war ended, so Clancy flailed around looking for some bad guys to fictionally blow up. He tried the Japanese (Debt of Honor, 1994) and environmentalists (Rainbow Six, 1998). 2001 was actually a good setup for him, because he had a new generational conflict to fictionalize. The thing is, the brain-eater got him. " Most people think Tom Clancy lost his nut on 9/11. And it's true, he's bugfuck insane. But it actually happened earlier than that. His fiction was predicated on the cold war, and the cold war ended, so Clancy flailed around looking for some bad guys to fictionally blow up. He tried the Japanese (Debt of Honor, 1994) and environmentalists (Rainbow Six, 1998). 2001 was actually a good setup for him, because he had a new generational conflict to fictionalize. The thing is, the brain-eater got him. "A week after the 9/11 attack, on The O'Reilly Factor, Clancy stated that left-wing politicians in the United States were partly responsible for September 11 due to their gutting of the CIA." (wikipedia) In his newest book, the real villain isn't the Emir, the thinly disguised bin Laden stand-in. He's presented as bad, but it almost seems like the author admires him for the strength of his convictions. The real villain is President Kealty, the spineless, liberal, mustache-twirling nitwit who won't let hard men do the hard work that keeps America free and safe. Good thing the outgoing President Ryan had founded a totally illegal nongovernmental company to do things that lily-livered politicians won't allow, like kidnap, torture, and assassinate people. It's a fairly fascist concept, and you have to get past it to read the book. Once you do, it's a serviceable spy/technothriller, with computer hacking, espionage, and shootouts. If you cut out the political grandstanding and hired an editor to clean it up and trim out a few hundred pages, it would probably be a pretty ripping yarn. As-is, it's just ok.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Peri Kinder

    "Dead or Alive” was boring. There wasn’t that hanging-on-the-edge-of-my-seat suspense that Clancy writes so well. I thought the writing was choppy, the story was bland and the characters were flat–except for the women, who always seem to have large chests. I trudged through 900 pages hoping it would get better–but it never did. Give me “Hunt for Red October” or “Clear and Present Danger” and I’ll be in espionage heaven. But this one didn’t work. Too bad. But I’m not giving up on Clancy yet, maybe "Dead or Alive” was boring. There wasn’t that hanging-on-the-edge-of-my-seat suspense that Clancy writes so well. I thought the writing was choppy, the story was bland and the characters were flat–except for the women, who always seem to have large chests. I trudged through 900 pages hoping it would get better–but it never did. Give me “Hunt for Red October” or “Clear and Present Danger” and I’ll be in espionage heaven. But this one didn’t work. Too bad. But I’m not giving up on Clancy yet, maybe next time he’ll be back better than ever

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wayne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Worst Tom Clancy book ever. This book is the latest in the Jack Ryan series. Ryan is contemplating a return to the White House and doesn't know that Jack Jr. has enlisted in the shadow organization (the Campus) that Ryan set up before he left the White House. Clark and Chavez are summarily dumped by the CIA after the new administration decides to take a softer/electronic approach to intelligence gathering. Anybody that didn't foresee Clark and Chavez joining the Campus hasn't been paying attentio Worst Tom Clancy book ever. This book is the latest in the Jack Ryan series. Ryan is contemplating a return to the White House and doesn't know that Jack Jr. has enlisted in the shadow organization (the Campus) that Ryan set up before he left the White House. Clark and Chavez are summarily dumped by the CIA after the new administration decides to take a softer/electronic approach to intelligence gathering. Anybody that didn't foresee Clark and Chavez joining the Campus hasn't been paying attention all these years. The Campus continues to hunt down The Emir, who is the architect of 9/11 and myriad other terrorist incidents. There is virtually no character development in the book. If you didn't already read the first 12 books in the series you wouldn't know who anybody is. There is no side dialog. Very little internal musings. Everything is very tactical or strategic. Little happens outside of the main plot line. When it does it feels very out of place, like when Dom picks up a girl at a restaurant and leaves her apartment in disgust after she pulls out a vial of cocaine. Nothing is elaborated on or expounded on. The author(s) could have used the scene to make some point or round out the character, but nothing happens. Dom leaves, doesn't say anything, and it never comes up again. Jack Jr. wrestles with some weighty issues. He doesn't spend any time wondering whether it is wrong to kill someone outside of the law, he spends his time debating whether he has what it takes to do the killing. There are multiple typos throughout the book. Words missing or in the wrong order, one point where the word BY is in all caps in the middle of a sentence for no reason, and one point where the wrong name is used to describe what the character is doing. Brian is named instead of Dominick. These mistakes I chalk up to an editor who didn't earn their money. However the massive factual error on page 630 of the hardcover is inexcusable. While describing international politics in the Middle East and discussing the interrelated goals of Iran, Iraq and various terrorist organizations the author(s) state that Iran is trying to protect the Shia minority in Iraq from the Sunni majority. Every source I can find says that the Shia have a 60%-70% majority in Iraq. Unforgivable factual error. Clancy has been putting more and more political discourse in his latest books. I understand that he writes about military and associated matters, and that by default the majority of his characters are going to have a distinctive lean to the right. That's fine. He's managed up to now to not bring much politics into the story. Whether you vote Democrat or Republican doesn't matter much when you're flying an F-14 Tomcat over the North Atlantic and trying to avoid the Mig on your six. He's managed to write some very entertaining and engaging stories without discussing the validity or fairness of the estate tax. In this book almost every character is decidedly conservative/Republican. The two exceptions I can think of are Arni van Damm and Sally Ryan. Arni is at this point more of a convert to Ryan and while he might disagree with some of Ryan's politics he believes Ryan is the right man for the job and the opposition is not a valid option. Sally Ryan is portrayed as rapidly becoming a militant vegan and is ridiculed by the other characters, including her brother. What little dialog in the book that is not devoted directly to the story line is devoted to ridiculing/dismissing such topics as vegetarianism, environmentalism, and government oversight. The main theme of the book seems to be that the only option left in politics is the right because everybody on the left is too corrupt, stupid, inept, or short sighted to keep from screwing things up. It's hard to know how much to blame on Clancy's ever narrower focus on the world and how much to blame on having a co-author. This is the first Jack Ryan book to have a co-author and that might explain why I disliked it so much. I have never liked the Op-Center and other Clancy series that seem to be written by others and stamped with the Tom Clancy label. I don't like the Clive Cussler and James Patterson books that are labeled "written with". Maybe I have to make a decision not to read any more books that the author can't be bothered to write himself/herself. My comment directly to Tom Clancy would be that he can't need the money that badly. If he can't write the book on his own, maybe he shouldn't try to push it. Update 1/21/11: I just finished listening to Tom Clancy's Patriot games, not his best book, but one of my favorites. On the next to last page Ryan is talking to the Prince of Wales and gives this advice about living with terrorists: "I guess maybe it comes down to justice. If people believe in their society, they don't break its rules. The trick's making them believe. Hell, we can't always accomplish that. But you try your best, and you don't quit. Every problem has a solution if you work at it long enough... You just have to make it work for everybody, and do it well enough that they believe. It's not easy, but I think you can do it. Sooner or later, civilization always wins over barbarism." This is right after Ryan almost killed the man that attacked his family. If he can find that much faith in the justice system when its involving something so very personal how does he become the man 20 years later who is so disillusioned with his government that he has to set up a secret police that operates outside of the law?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alain Burrese

    It had been a long time since reading about the exploits of Jack Ryan, John Clark, "Ding" Chavez, and the Caruso brothers, Brian and Dominic. I've always enjoyed Tom Clancy, and have to admit, "Without Remorse" and "Rainbow Six" were probably my favorites because I really like the character John Clark. So, when "Dead Or Alive" came out, I was excited to read the newest story about Clark that also featured all of the other main characters from Clancy's novels. For whatever reason, the book got se It had been a long time since reading about the exploits of Jack Ryan, John Clark, "Ding" Chavez, and the Caruso brothers, Brian and Dominic. I've always enjoyed Tom Clancy, and have to admit, "Without Remorse" and "Rainbow Six" were probably my favorites because I really like the character John Clark. So, when "Dead Or Alive" came out, I was excited to read the newest story about Clark that also featured all of the other main characters from Clancy's novels. For whatever reason, the book got set aside, and I've finally read it so that I can get to reading the new "Locked On." So, about "Dead Or Alive." I enjoyed reading it. I liked reading about these characters again, and the story has action, suspense, surprises, and kept me wanting more. Many don't care for the newer Clancy novels co-authored with others. I'll agree they don't seem the same as the earlier works, but I still enjoy them. (I will admit that "Against All Enemies" was not up to par with Clancy's earlier stuff at all, but it was still a light fun read. Sort of like the straight to video movies.) "Dead or Alive" is better than straight to DVD, and liked it more than "Against All Enemies." The story could have been told in less than 950 pages, but I found I didn't mind the length, because I enjoyed reading the book. It definitely set things up for the next in the series, "Locked On." In this book, Jack Ryan Sr. announces that he will run for President again, but not much else. That story will continue in the next book. The majority of this story focuses on Jack Ryan Jr., Clark, Chavez, and the Caruso brothers and their new positions with the Campus team, an outside the government group set up by Jack Ryan when he was president that serves the mission of defeating terrorism by any and all means possible, laws be damned. The Campus team is after a terrorist and must stop a large scale terrorist attack. Nothing real original or mind bending there, but the story is told well with enough action and intrigue to keep you turning pages, especially if you are a fan of the Tom Clancy characters. While it might not be the same Tom Clancy of old, it is still a fun action yarn that I enjoyed, and it makes me look forward to reading the next book "Locked On."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    This is another book the drives me to mention that we REALLY need a 10 star or a half star system. I switched back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this one so often I almost needed Dramamine. Of course the problem there would have been that when the book lost that 4th star it was because it slooooowed wwwwaaaayyyyy dddooowwwnnn... Since Dramamine makes you drowsy you can see the problem. The book is well plotted as has been Clancy's record. We're following the characters of Jack Ryan, Jack Ry This is another book the drives me to mention that we REALLY need a 10 star or a half star system. I switched back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this one so often I almost needed Dramamine. Of course the problem there would have been that when the book lost that 4th star it was because it slooooowed wwwwaaaayyyyy dddooowwwnnn... Since Dramamine makes you drowsy you can see the problem. The book is well plotted as has been Clancy's record. We're following the characters of Jack Ryan, Jack Ryan Jr., J Clark, Ding Chavez and all the other people from this universe. Jack is no longer president, it's now President Kealty...who's undone as much of what Jack did as he can. Jack Jr. is now working for the Campus and his parents don't know it. Oh, you don't know what the Campus is???? Well that would be a spoiler so, you know. The book is on the whole an absorbing interesting read and I like it. The only problem, the only reason it drops from 4 stars to 3.5 is that at times the book just gets so very unnecessarily wordy. Clancy has always been good about giving us what we need to know about whatever is going on. And while I may disagree with some of his viewpoints and opinions (and I do) he's still got a pretty good grasp on geopolitics. Here there are some (as noted) unnecessarily long dialogues and monologues on mmmaaannnyyy things. For example there's a lot of information on dead drops, hand-offs and so on. There's a bit about espionage and it's history...and other stuff. I mentioned this to my daughter and she said it was like Mr. Clancy said "I did this research and you're going to hear about it." It did seem like that at times. Anyway the book has a few false starts picking up it's pace and then slowing down. When it does finally pick up it gathers speed and then barrels to the end. Had it been trimmed a bit (maybe the services of a good editor would have helped?) and kept it's pacing a bit better I would have been able to rate it a bit higher. Still it's a good book. Clancy fans will like it and I think most fans of geopolitical and techno thrillers will also find it a good read. It has a lot of action it's just spread out a bit...as the book climaxes at the end the action does pick up however. So I can recommend it. 3.5 so, 3.

  7. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is a tough book to rate. It was a strange book to read, too. At times, it read like really, really good fanfic. It's been a while since Clancy came out with a Ryan/Clark/Chavez book and maybe that's the reason. Anyway, I'll keep this spoiler free and just say that the book had a really good ending when the action stopped, but Clancy couldn't stop himself from indulging in a little bit of fantasy/wish fulfillment at the end which was both unnecessary and unfulfilling. Both Jack Ryans are bac This is a tough book to rate. It was a strange book to read, too. At times, it read like really, really good fanfic. It's been a while since Clancy came out with a Ryan/Clark/Chavez book and maybe that's the reason. Anyway, I'll keep this spoiler free and just say that the book had a really good ending when the action stopped, but Clancy couldn't stop himself from indulging in a little bit of fantasy/wish fulfillment at the end which was both unnecessary and unfulfilling. Both Jack Ryans are back. with Senior mulling a run for the presidency (see note 1 at end) and Junior following in Dad's legacy working at the Campus. Clark and Chavez are back too, rotated back from their tour at Rainbow Six and recruited to join the Campus (see note 2). Dominic and Brian Caruso are back too - you might remember them from Teeth of the Tiger. Even Mary Pat Foley is back! Dead or Alive tracks the Campus and the CIA's pursuit of "The Emir" - Clancy's fictionalized version of Osama Bin Laden who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks (see note 3). At its best, the book is vintage Clancy: expertly managing several plots at once and eventually bringing them all together. The plots are reasonable, the action is good and the writing is crisp. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and had a tough time putting it down. The reason that I say that it seems like really good fanfic is because the first 2/3 of the book is really only for diehard Clancy fans who want to see the band get back together one last time. It would be an exaggeration to say this book is basically "see Clark ride on planes, see Mary Pat pick up her dry cleaning, see Jack Junior read some memos" but it has that feel at times. If you love the characters it's enjoyable, but if not, it might drag a bit. OK, now for my notes: Note1: I'm a little confused about Ryan's eligibility to run for office. I thought he served a little bit of Durling's term in Debt of Honor, then had a full term of his own in Executive Orders. Wouldn't running for president and serving a full term put him over 2 terms in total? I'm honestly not sure, and it isn't addressed. Note2: Shouldn't Clark be getting a little old by now? He's still running around, leading his team into battle and shooting up badguys. I know he keeps himself in great shape, and I'm glad that Clancy lets Ding lead the charge sometimes. Just wondering. Note3: Also a little confused about the chronology of 9/11. I guess the Japanese plane crashing into the Capitol happened in the 90s, but in Clancy World, were we still unprepared for someone to try using planes as weapons again?

  8. 5 out of 5

    Corey

    I feel like it's been forever since I've read a good Tom Clancy novel! And I was kind of skeptical and hesitant when starting Dead or Alive, for 2 reasons, 1, awhile back I had started reading the previous book The Teeth Of The Tiger, and Dead or Alive picks up right after that one, and I had a really hard time getting into Teeth Of The Tiger, and the second reason is this is the first of Clancy's books where it is co-written, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be the same, but after jumping in I feel like it's been forever since I've read a good Tom Clancy novel! And I was kind of skeptical and hesitant when starting Dead or Alive, for 2 reasons, 1, awhile back I had started reading the previous book The Teeth Of The Tiger, and Dead or Alive picks up right after that one, and I had a really hard time getting into Teeth Of The Tiger, and the second reason is this is the first of Clancy's books where it is co-written, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be the same, but after jumping into it and I'm glad I did, I didn't really see a difference, I'm glad I gave it a shot! Jack Ryan Jr., son of Jack Ryan Sr. former CIA Analyst and former President of the United States, is following in his fathers footsteps, has become an analyst for The Campus, a highly top-secret intelligence organization founded by Jack Ryan Sr. when he was still President. But what Ryan doesn't know, is that his son is a member of The Campus. The Campus has been assigned to bring a Middle East Terrorist Mastermind known as The Emir, (a character heavily based on Osama Bin Laden), to justice. The Emir is responsible in the Series for the 9/11 attacks, and has devised a plan to attack a US Nuclear Waste Storage Facility and bring the Country's economy to a screeching halt. Jack Ryan Jr. is teaming up with John Clark, Ding Chavez, and Brian and Dominic Caruso to bring The Emir in dead or alive. At the same time, Jack Ryan Sr. is fed up with the way his successor Ed Kealty is running the country, running it into the ground, and Ryan once again announces his candidacy for President of the United States. A great entertaining tale from beginning to end, loved the Caruso Brothers, great newcomers, and plenty of action and suspense to keep me entertained!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Pessolano

    Those of us who read Tom Clancy had to wait almost a decade for this book, and it is co-written. "Dead or Alive" brings back the men of Rainbow Six, Jack Ryan, and Mary Pat Foley. It seems that Ding and John Clark are being mustered out of the service but find themselves employed by "The Campus". The Campus is a secret agency posing as a financial institute that runs covert operations but has no direct connection to the American Government. The Campus was set up by Jack Ryan before he left the Pr Those of us who read Tom Clancy had to wait almost a decade for this book, and it is co-written. "Dead or Alive" brings back the men of Rainbow Six, Jack Ryan, and Mary Pat Foley. It seems that Ding and John Clark are being mustered out of the service but find themselves employed by "The Campus". The Campus is a secret agency posing as a financial institute that runs covert operations but has no direct connection to the American Government. The Campus was set up by Jack Ryan before he left the Presidency. A terrorist group led by the "Emir" is scheduled to coordinate several actions that are going to bring the United States to its knees. The Emir has been responsible for many terrorist actions and has foiled all attempts to bring him to justice. The men of Rainbow Six are determined, not only to capture the Emir, but also to stop the horrific attacks from taking place. This proves to be a daunting task as clues are few and are hidden in coded messages. A measured portion of brain and brawn will be necessary to bring the terrorists to justice. Joh Clark and his men ae not held down by government regulations when interrogating prisoners, and trust me they will use all means to get the answers they need. "Dead or Alive" is very reminiscent of Clancy's other books, although this has more depth and revelence. It is a book that takes on the problems being faced today in a world filled with uncertainty. This book is full of action and intrigue. The action moves quickly from country to country and city to city. The intrigue is supplied by the use of computers, cell phones, and coded messages.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Miles

    Weighing in at well over 700 pages, Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy and aided by Grant Blackwood is a monumental publication. Although in no rush to finish the book, it took me three days to finish and, my overall reaction to reading my first Tom Clancy thriller was one of efficaciousness. It’s not very often that a book can afford to spend in excess of 200 pages creating a thorough and enviable foundation but Dead or Alive successfully achieves this, all the while creating countless scenarios and on Weighing in at well over 700 pages, Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy and aided by Grant Blackwood is a monumental publication. Although in no rush to finish the book, it took me three days to finish and, my overall reaction to reading my first Tom Clancy thriller was one of efficaciousness. It’s not very often that a book can afford to spend in excess of 200 pages creating a thorough and enviable foundation but Dead or Alive successfully achieves this, all the while creating countless scenarios and once again re-introducing us to characters of old. Although Dead or Alive may appear rather sedentary in the beginning I found, as a newcomer to Clancy novels, the care and effort taken to ease me in as a reader invaluable. As you would expect; countless scenarios mean a huge array of characters, some more colourful and enigmatic than others, Clancy weaves a magical web and although I wasn’t sure he could tie them all together he does so effortlessly and with an assured imagination. Dead or Alive is an intellectually stimulating read and I found myself, on numerous occasions, sitting back, taking stock and digesting every minute detail Clancy and Blackwood offered -Perhaps more importantly I found the novel and subject matter believable – some may argue it borders on being a little far-fetched, I would have to disagree! With the threat of terrorism an ever growing factor in the 21st Century, Dead or Alive made me think about the infinite possibilities and how we all hope there are guys like Jack Ryan and John Clark out there to help serve and protect! Full review on my blog:- http://www.milorambles.com/2010/12/23...

  11. 5 out of 5

    William Breakstone

    BOOK REVIEW “Dead or Alive” by Tom Clancy Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, January 12, 2011 Tom Clancy’s latest novel, “Dead or Alive,” is a 950-page monster, his 14th in a series that began with his classic “Hunt for Red October,” published way back in 1984. I’ve read 13 of these books, all but “Teeth of the Tiger,” and enjoyed them all. My last Clancy read was in 2000, thus it was a pleasure to return to most of the old characters, with a few new ones tossed in. Dead or Alive is a complicated, many-l BOOK REVIEW “Dead or Alive” by Tom Clancy Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, January 12, 2011 Tom Clancy’s latest novel, “Dead or Alive,” is a 950-page monster, his 14th in a series that began with his classic “Hunt for Red October,” published way back in 1984. I’ve read 13 of these books, all but “Teeth of the Tiger,” and enjoyed them all. My last Clancy read was in 2000, thus it was a pleasure to return to most of the old characters, with a few new ones tossed in. Dead or Alive is a complicated, many-layered tale of terrorism and the intelligence efforts to thwart a plot that if successful would send the United States back to the dark ages. The terrorists are led by The Emir, a Saudi Arabian by birth, and a direct duplicate of our own Osama bin Laden. He has formulated plans to strike at six international targets, the final masterstroke being a nuclear attack on a facility near the West Coast. Working to solve this complicated terrorist puzzle are the personnel of “The Campus,” a compilation of clandestine intelligence assets organized by former President Jack Ryan, to which his former spooks John Clark and Domingo Chavez have recently been recruited. Also on board is Ryan’s son, Jack, Jr, who has inherited all of his father’s intuition and skills in the intelligence community. Despite its massive size, Dead or Alive is a fast and thrilling read, though perhaps not for those squeamish at heart. There is violence galore, chases, counterplots, and tales of tragedy and courage. And, there will no doubt be a sequel, which will be more political in nature. Now that is something to look forward to.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dodol Surodol

    A long read, Dead or Alive is. I don't know if it's the "with" authorship or Clancy having changed -- lost his edge, if you will -- since '90s, but I find myself longing for the days of Patriot Games and The Cardinal of the Kremlin. The actions are still good, the I.T. stuff believable (which is better than most books), and all-star setup having me excited. The authors are very in-your-face now with their right leaning. Either you're right or you're incompetent. The good guys even deem torture ne A long read, Dead or Alive is. I don't know if it's the "with" authorship or Clancy having changed -- lost his edge, if you will -- since '90s, but I find myself longing for the days of Patriot Games and The Cardinal of the Kremlin. The actions are still good, the I.T. stuff believable (which is better than most books), and all-star setup having me excited. The authors are very in-your-face now with their right leaning. Either you're right or you're incompetent. The good guys even deem torture necessary, which is painful to read. I see other reviews have covered pretty much what I would like to say, many better than I would ever, so I'll just add one item that bugs: being an Indonesian, I find the Indonesian names unnatural. Perhaps someone gave the authors these names in written forms and they made typo errors copying the names (Agong, Purnoma). Some of the names are of the Indonesian Chinese (Pranata, Salim) or Christian (Pasaribu) flavor, making it unlikely for Muslims to adopt them, even as pseudonyms. Makes you wonder how good a job the authors did with other non-Western names. All things considered, still a nice read. Especially when you're recovering from an operation and have not much else to do. So, 3/5.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Mac

    I have to agree with several of the other reviewers--this was not a bad book but not up to the classic Clancy standards. The book focuses on The Campus, introduced in an earlier book. Several old characters like John Clark, Ding Chavez, the Foleys and others reappear. It was nice to see them again and nice that Clancy gave Jack Ryan, Jr. some personality. It was sorely lacking in the last book. Better than the average book of this genre lately. Don't be fooled by the size of the book (my copy ha I have to agree with several of the other reviewers--this was not a bad book but not up to the classic Clancy standards. The book focuses on The Campus, introduced in an earlier book. Several old characters like John Clark, Ding Chavez, the Foleys and others reappear. It was nice to see them again and nice that Clancy gave Jack Ryan, Jr. some personality. It was sorely lacking in the last book. Better than the average book of this genre lately. Don't be fooled by the size of the book (my copy had 950 pages)--it is a pretty fast read. There were some big dangling plot lines so it was definitely left open for another book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    B.J. Richardson

    Tom Clancy was one of those authors I devoured as a kid. I remember reading Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Red Storm Rising, and many others in my junior high years. Later in High school and college, I would read Bear and the Dragon, Rainbow Six, etc. I don't know when I stopped but I saw his name come up as an audible suggestion and decided to use my most recent credit to pick back up where I left off. This was a really fun jaunt back into the world populated with people I grew to know an Tom Clancy was one of those authors I devoured as a kid. I remember reading Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Red Storm Rising, and many others in my junior high years. Later in High school and college, I would read Bear and the Dragon, Rainbow Six, etc. I don't know when I stopped but I saw his name come up as an audible suggestion and decided to use my most recent credit to pick back up where I left off. This was a really fun jaunt back into the world populated with people I grew to know and love in my childhood. Like me, a lot of these guys are now getting quite a bit older and for the most part a lot of the action in this book focuses in on their kids. Clancy has apparently been writing in a new batch of heroes. Jack Ryan has a son of the same name, as well as a pair of nephews who are four of the six major good guys in this one. They join John Clark (who is apparently ageless outside a few random complaints usually as a plane is landing) and Domingo Chavez (of Rainbow Six fame, also married to Clark's daughter. Apparently Clancy has fewer family trees than a West Virginia town) While I thoroughly enjoyed the action, the writing, and the universe that Clancy has created, I didn't realize how political he can get. Even Executive Orders didn't seem as political to me as the many side comments I've seen in this most recent read (er... listen). I am sure it was. I guess I either wasn't as discerning as a younger reader, the author has grown more extreme with age, or I simply didn't notice as much because I agreed with the sentiment when I was younger and more foolish. Either way, I don't feel it detracted with the enjoyable experience of listening to Lou Diamond Philips read Dead or Alive.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Polley

    This book felt like such a slog! It's an odd set up book as it is set in our world at the present day but key things are different. The President is a fictional person, the number one wanted terroist in the world is called the 'Emir' and he has stuck into America. I regularly got confused between the characters in this book and where they were - not because the book was difficult - just because I couldn't be bothered to go back and check. The biggest problem with this book is that it is a real s This book felt like such a slog! It's an odd set up book as it is set in our world at the present day but key things are different. The President is a fictional person, the number one wanted terroist in the world is called the 'Emir' and he has stuck into America. I regularly got confused between the characters in this book and where they were - not because the book was difficult - just because I couldn't be bothered to go back and check. The biggest problem with this book is that it is a real struggle to relate to any of the characters and the action scenes are written in a confusing way. The terrorist plot also feels overly complicated and there doesn't seem to be any reason why the key players would be on the ground in the US. Another problem with this book is that it feels so outdated already because of how much has changed in the world since it was published. It wasn't all bad as I managed to complete it and it was over 700 pages but I certainly wouldn't want to read any others in the series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    President Kealty wants to purge the CIA of its operatives (like John Clark and Ding Chavez) while prosecuting elite soldiers for murder. Ex-President Jack Ryan considers running against him as a result. Meanwhile, Jack Jr. is becoming an good operative in his own right as they all look for The Emir, a terrorist leader with nefarious plans. For fans of the Jack Ryan series – as I am – this is another good book, and every Clancy book that can be read for the first time is a treasure now that the au President Kealty wants to purge the CIA of its operatives (like John Clark and Ding Chavez) while prosecuting elite soldiers for murder. Ex-President Jack Ryan considers running against him as a result. Meanwhile, Jack Jr. is becoming an good operative in his own right as they all look for The Emir, a terrorist leader with nefarious plans. For fans of the Jack Ryan series – as I am – this is another good book, and every Clancy book that can be read for the first time is a treasure now that the author is gone. And, as with all of the previous books in the series, I will likely read this one again later.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    The Campus is a clandestine group set by past President Jack Ryan and the members find themselves tracking down an Islamic Radical terrorist group that is implementing attacks would wide and around the US. The Current President is a Trumpish character who is making chances and policies that are encouraging the terrorists to continue their attacks. Jack Ryan is being to again enter the race for president in the next election. At 950 pages there is plenty of room for action in this one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    92 chapters and almost 21 hours of hearing every single character -- mostly top-ranking government officials and Special Ops -- calling terrorists and enemy combatants "the bad guys." I just can't take this book seriously.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stan Usher

    One of the best Clancy books I have read, and that is saying something! Superb plot, and even though this was written in 2010, the parallels between the sitting president in the book and Trump now are scarily accurate!

  20. 4 out of 5

    William

    Never judge Tom Clancy against the yardstick of literature, but do take his measure by the other books he has written. Reading his stuff should be a guilty pleasure, done for the fun of it. Sadly, reading his latest book “Dead or Alive” was more of a guilty chore. The book weighs in at a hefty 900+ pages. There is lots of white space around the words. The story's pace never makes it out of second gear. The action jogs along at a sedate pace, not at the red-hot speed of a ripping page-turner. It r Never judge Tom Clancy against the yardstick of literature, but do take his measure by the other books he has written. Reading his stuff should be a guilty pleasure, done for the fun of it. Sadly, reading his latest book “Dead or Alive” was more of a guilty chore. The book weighs in at a hefty 900+ pages. There is lots of white space around the words. The story's pace never makes it out of second gear. The action jogs along at a sedate pace, not at the red-hot speed of a ripping page-turner. It really doesn't hold the reader's attention. Glance up at the clock and you will notice that a 100 pages slipped by your eyeballs, but none of it was memorable. Take for granted the far-fetched plot line—no action/adventure story would be fun to read without one. Clancy's narrative focus shifts back to terrorism, as “Dead or Alive” picks up today where “Teeth of the Tiger” ends. Central bad guy is “The Emir,” a stand-in for Osama bin Laden. Clancy begins his tale with a Ranger patrol checking out a cave on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, hopefully acting on good intelligence that he might be there. The raid turns up some useful intelligence to start the story, but the Rangers are nearly defeated by local Taliban converging on the area. But this is just a pause before hitting play. Like all Clancy stories, this one has to be a “shaggy dog.” Other plot lines are thrown down, hopefully to intersect and intertwine later in the book. A business jet is blown up after delivering a mysterious passenger. A Russian landing craft is chartered by expensive, discreet foreigners. A hooker is seducing a key technocrat at the Dept. of Energy. Couriers are carrying encrypted CD-ROMs hither and yon. The United States is clueless to all this, burdened by an idiot president at the helm. The bad guys are winning, and the good guys barely know it. Clancy's confidence in government is so dim by this time that his fictional characters have to rely on “The Campus”, rather than the CIA, FBI, NSA or the military to find and defeat The Emir. With a financial trading firm as a front-cover to provide self-financing, The Campus sits between the NSA and CIA with near-total access to all incoming intelligence. Unburdened by the restrictions of bureaucracy and politics, young Jack Ryan Jr. and associated Clancy characters (major and minor) do the sleuthing and the shooting needed to stop The Emir's subtle, multi-threaded plot. It takes about 300 pages before all this is laid down. In most Clancy thrillers, the slow start should give way to a faster pace as all the pieces begin their rush to fall into place. The failure of the story to ignite at this point can leave the reader a bit chilled. In the next 300 pages, we see familiar characters coming back to do their bit. Jack Ryan Sr. contemplates running for president again. John Clark and Ding Chavez muster out of Rainbow to work at the Campus. Mary Pat Foley is no longer at the CIA, now pulling her weight at the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). By now our characters have to be zipping around the nation and the world, chasing down leads, disrupting terrorist cells and coming back with useful intel. But the story moves slower than the action. There is no tension. Computer analysis plays a big role in decrypting terrorist communications, but the clues are spoon fed into the plot, cyber ex machina, just in time for the next action to take place. By the time the reader gets to the last third of the book, all these plot lines should be galloping at full speed towards an exciting collision point. But Clancy never gave the reader enough details of all the myriad plot lines to savor the inevitable, exciting plot crash. The climax proves to be a fizzle. The bad guys get what they deserve, but just desserts are served cold. Of the three themes common in Clancy tales—Presidency, Weapons and Killing—it is killing that takes the spotlight. Small unit actions are few, covert gunfights many. Weapons are limited to the specialized small arms of the trade. As for Presidency, we only see enough to know that the Ted Kennedy stand-in Kealty is running the show, like a good capricious liberal. Clancy likes to use the Presidency theme to vent some of his political anger. Men of action are hampered by men of inaction. And yes, a major character dies. I won't tell you which one. I feel obligated to write this review, having written a non-fiction analysis of Clancy's previous works (The Jack Ryan Agenda). Critics often pan Clancy's works As nothing more than bad comic books, but they forget how much fun comic books are to read. I have to give it a thumbs down because “Dead or Alive” disappoints. Clancy has written better before, so the drop-off in his writing makes this book a bit difficult to pick up and too easy to put down. Wait for the paperback and read it if you must, diehard fan. The hardcover is not worth the price, and the time spent reading will seem little better than watching television.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I'm going to rate this as a guilty pleasure 4 stars I can't help but compare this to David Weber's "A Mighty Fortress", which I reviewed recently. * Both books are the latest entry in a series of indeterminate length. * Both books are ... let's say "plus sized"; Clancy's coming in at over 900 pages. * Both authors are "Franchises". Maybe I should explain what I mean by that. Besides writing their own books, both writers have enlisted other writers to write books in their "universe". A great way to ea I'm going to rate this as a guilty pleasure 4 stars I can't help but compare this to David Weber's "A Mighty Fortress", which I reviewed recently. * Both books are the latest entry in a series of indeterminate length. * Both books are ... let's say "plus sized"; Clancy's coming in at over 900 pages. * Both authors are "Franchises". Maybe I should explain what I mean by that. Besides writing their own books, both writers have enlisted other writers to write books in their "universe". A great way to earn money without doing actual work! Clancy has tried this formula more than a few times with "universes" specifically created for franchise -- universes Clancy, himself, has never written a book for. I picked one of these up once, and put it down after about 15 pages. However, "Dead or Alive" is set in the "Ryanverse". As far as I know, Clancy has written all the other books in this series; but this book is co-authored with Grant Blackwood. I have read a few of the early books in the Ryanverse, and enjoyed them. Now the contrast with Weber's latest: * I thoroughly enjoyed Dead or Alive. * Characters are even more pasteboard; non-heroes have pretty much no redeeming virtues other than effectiveness and efficiency. And fortunately not as much as our heroes. * Reasonable number of characters to keep in mind. If you can't keep all the bad guys straight, it isn't going to matter. Most of them are inter-changeable and they're not going to show up in the next book, anyway. (Unlike Weber's antagonists, who sometimes end up as good guys after seeing the light in subsequent novels). * Clancy dialog feels better -- important characters get to have a few "throw away" conversation fragments. Like normal people do. * I didn't feel this was a MPU (Minimum Publishable Unit) kind of book. Main characters grow. It's a solid sub-plot completed. And it sets the stage for the next episode. Spoiler alert ... I couldn't help but think of this as a movie while I was reading it. Jack Ryan Sr. is, and always will be Harrison Ford. And he's not ageless. Jack Ryan Sr. does not have a first-hand staring role in this episode. He's a married, 55-65 year old, ex-President of the United States. He doesn't do spy fieldwork. He doesn't flirt/have sex with "babes". In fact, he's mostly in the background in this entry. But, don't forget, he retired after only one full term! I'd say this novel does the groundwork and sets the stage for some flashy politics with him more center stage in the next book. I'm looking forward to it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I had not picked up a Tom Clancy book in almost 10 years. I was a tremendous fan of his books through the late 80's and into the 90's. So let's start with what is good: Tom Clancy, as always, DOES HIS RESEARCH. He is a master at getting into the nitty-gritty technical details that it really makes you believe that he is writing from well inside some super-secret-squirrel compartment dug well inside the catacombs of government. His understanding of the military and tactics is also impressive and c I had not picked up a Tom Clancy book in almost 10 years. I was a tremendous fan of his books through the late 80's and into the 90's. So let's start with what is good: Tom Clancy, as always, DOES HIS RESEARCH. He is a master at getting into the nitty-gritty technical details that it really makes you believe that he is writing from well inside some super-secret-squirrel compartment dug well inside the catacombs of government. His understanding of the military and tactics is also impressive and convincing, though every now and then those of us with years of experience do catch a few mistakes and some of his dialogue is down-right silly. (though I do understand that if he made his characters speak more authentically the way they are suppose to--with all the acronyms and slang--then the common reader would be lost) He also has a very good talent for keeping his books relevant to the times as if they could be happening right now. He has been the standard for the techno-thriller for so long now. So what is not as good: Clancy simply has never been at his best in the War on Terror. His classic work was back in the Cold War. Even "Patriot Games" was boring compared to some of his much more exciting "Hunt For Red October," and "Red Storm Rising." While his books are not "boring" per se, they just don't seem to have the same storytelling grace. The other thing that has always bored me in nearly ALL his books is his characters' unrealistic "lecturing" dialogue. There are always scenes where one character or another is "lecturing" another with usually some very high-level, pedantic political science or international relations topic of political realism that it's completely out of character and not appropriate for the context of the setting. All the favorite characters are still there. There is current events relevance that is a trademark of Clancy. He has admitted from the beginning with "Red October" that he has lifted inspiration simply by reading the news of the day. He is still the master of the long, techno-thriller, with tremendous build-up and a page-turning, stay-up-too-late-so-you-can-finish ending. Unfortunately, he can always trim probably a couple hundred pages from the book and his dialogue is God-awful that I get bored anymore and find my attention span wandering when his characters get into some long winded lecture. The action definitely pushes the narrative (and one of the reasons his books get changed so much when they are made into films--no actor would or screenplay writer could work his dialogue in the movies)

  23. 5 out of 5

    steven

    My first-ever Tom Clancy novel. I found a terrifying distopia with an unsettling ending, and nary a hero to be found. Set in a world where an ex-spy was made President of the U.S. for five years, stepped down, and now wants to be reelected. The current administration cuts funding for field agents, but that's OK, because the former President had a plan: set up an ultra-secret spy organization, privately funded and accountable to no one, and trust them with the security of the nation. On top of *tha My first-ever Tom Clancy novel. I found a terrifying distopia with an unsettling ending, and nary a hero to be found. Set in a world where an ex-spy was made President of the U.S. for five years, stepped down, and now wants to be reelected. The current administration cuts funding for field agents, but that's OK, because the former President had a plan: set up an ultra-secret spy organization, privately funded and accountable to no one, and trust them with the security of the nation. On top of *that* mess, this former President also signed a hundred blank pardons to be used if one of these ultra-spies gets caught doing something untoward on American soil. Scared yet? These are the *good guys*. The bad guys are, of course, Islamic extremist terrorists who are, in turns, good at infiltration, ruthless in covering their tracks, and above all else, lucky. Their ruthlessness is actually their undoing. By leaving a large trail of bodies in their wake, they attract more attention than if they had just paid the money and moved on. Their insistence on "dead men tell no tales" provides a majority of the leads for the protagonists to follow. I initially wanted to like this book; after all, I like superheroes, and what are those but vigilantes striking a blow for freedom outside the bounds of the law? But while I can appreciate what soldiers must do in battlefield conditions, I cannot condone willful murder or torture. Even if I was OK with the actions of the protagonists, they're so inconsistent as to be nearly laughable. The former President frequently says, "don't publicly criticize a sitting President," but then does just that when it is politically advantageous. The ultra-secret spies claim to be watching for signs of mental instability, but let someone who's brother was just killed out into the field the next day. We are told that torture only gives unreliable results, that it's not worth the lousy intel it provides, but guess what comprises the last chapter? I can only assume that this story was a rich and varied satire of action hero clichés. Any other conclusion would just be depressing.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    Nobody does intelligence/spy thrillers as well as Tom Clancy. I am not sure why he has a collaborator on this book, but you cannot tell, it reads just like his other Jack Ryan novels. Unlike other spy fiction that focuses solely on the agents in the field, Clancy covers the entire intelligence community, agents, analysts and the political structure of various agencies and how they interact, or fail to interact, with each other. The scenarios are more realistic, sometimes the intelligence is there Nobody does intelligence/spy thrillers as well as Tom Clancy. I am not sure why he has a collaborator on this book, but you cannot tell, it reads just like his other Jack Ryan novels. Unlike other spy fiction that focuses solely on the agents in the field, Clancy covers the entire intelligence community, agents, analysts and the political structure of various agencies and how they interact, or fail to interact, with each other. The scenarios are more realistic, sometimes the intelligence is there, sometimes they miss, sometimes they are too late, and sometimes people die. While it may not be totally accurate, there is no suspension of disbelief that is sometimes involved with Hollywood-esque portrayals (primarily 007) thrillers. All the familiar faces that have survived so far, are here: John Clark and Domingo Chavez, Jack Ryan, Ed and Mary Pat Foley. There are also the new up an coming generation, Jack Jr., Brian and Dom Caruso who are all working for the super secret Campus. Clancy is also not afraid, as is Hollywood, to portray the bad guys as who they are. Over the years, as the Cold War closed and radical Islamic terrorism took over as the new enemy of the United States, Clancy has kept pace. The bad guys are terrorists, not some disgruntled GRU or ex-KGB agent trying to relive the glory days. Or some evil capitalist hogging all the oil. His plots are deep and wide ranging, and best of all are plausible. Over the years he has been prescient too. Many times themes in his books have come to pass. Not in a Nostradamus prediction type of way, but the themes of where the country is headed in certain circumstances; if the bad guys are left unchecked, or if you have an ignoramus as president. (I wish Jack Ryan were our president). In the overall Ryan Universe, I place this book near the top, just under Rainbow Six and Hunt for Red October, my personal favorites. I enjoyed the audio version of this book, read by Lou Diamond Phillips. So far, the most enjoyable audiobook I have read heard.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Topher

    I have fond memories of clancy books - I seem to remember really enjoying a lot of his books, and given the size of his books, well, let's face it - we get our money's worth. On the other hand, I just barely remember reading the last few of his books. I remember enjoying Rainbow Six (late 90s), and I think I remember enjoying up through the Bear and the Dragon (early 2000s) - though the idea of a war with Japan and the events that fell out of that seemed ludicrous at the time, and even sillier no I have fond memories of clancy books - I seem to remember really enjoying a lot of his books, and given the size of his books, well, let's face it - we get our money's worth. On the other hand, I just barely remember reading the last few of his books. I remember enjoying Rainbow Six (late 90s), and I think I remember enjoying up through the Bear and the Dragon (early 2000s) - though the idea of a war with Japan and the events that fell out of that seemed ludicrous at the time, and even sillier now. So...I picked up Dead or Alive. At nearly 1000 pages, it the perfect airplane book for me, as it'll last through an entire day of travel. And, I discovered that either my tastes have changed or Clancy's have. Let me be clear. This book is a steaming pile of dog crap. The book is badly in need of an editor (at a guess, about 300 pages or so of this could have been removed entirely without any loss to the story due to an incredible amount of repetition) and other things should have been clarified. I've read all of Clancy's works, but let's face it, he's not the type of author you pick up on a snowy night by the fire and say "Hey, I want to re-read Executive Orders. I wonder how it'll end?". With a 7 year gap since the last book, and several hundred books and hundreds of thousands of pages (and a graduate degree for that matter) of reading since, I could have used a 1 or 2 sentence backstory on some of the peripheral characters - people in important enough roles that you knew they were in the last work. But, frankly, I don't remember everyone I talked to 7 years ago - let alone characters that were peripheral in a novel from that time frame. The book would similarly be aided by a fact checker. The most egregious error placed las vegas four hours behind north carolina. I really have to hope that this was actually a ghostwriter, and that Mr Clancy was stuck somewhere without phone or internet access the entire time he could have reviewed it before publishing it under his name. What a stinker.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Russell Brooks

    I tried. I really tried to get through this story. But there were too many problems with the way that it was written and put together that I decided that it wasn't worth struggling to like a story that just wasn't moving along. After 509 pages, I'm lost and don't see the point of continuing. I just had to accept that if I'm struggling with the story, then I'm not enjoying it. To be fair, there were a few good things about it. The detailed military tactical info and a good description of the CIA's I tried. I really tried to get through this story. But there were too many problems with the way that it was written and put together that I decided that it wasn't worth struggling to like a story that just wasn't moving along. After 509 pages, I'm lost and don't see the point of continuing. I just had to accept that if I'm struggling with the story, then I'm not enjoying it. To be fair, there were a few good things about it. The detailed military tactical info and a good description of the CIA's counter-terrorism center illustrated that the author had a strong understanding of the subject matter. Even if he wasn't accurate, it was very convincing. I also enjoyed the part about the hostage rescue operation. What I enjoyed the least was that there were too many characters. There were only a few that I remember, and after 500 pages, I couldn't care less about them, because they weren't interesting. There were also several instances where the story dragged. Many sequences, in my opinion, could've been reduced or cut out completely from the story in order to maintain the pacing. There were times I felt the story was going somewhere, only to be disappointed in the following chapter. There were a set of scenes in the beginning, which were relevant to the story, centering around one character, that just discontinued and was left unresolved for most of the first half of the book. This is certainly one of the subplots of the story. It would've been nice had its development continued. On a side note, The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) do not ride horses nor wear red jackets with brimmed hats during an investigation. The horses, the red jackets and brimmed hats are only for ceremonial purposes. I don't know if that was a joke between the characters or not, but I got the impression that it wasn't. It pains me to give this book such a poor review, because I expected more from Clancy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    If I were asked to provide a quote for a cover blurb, I think "not quite as crap as the last one" would just about cover it. Still crap though. A boring paint by the numbers plot, and while I've long thought that Clancy's fame for excellent research was unjustified the moment he went beyond the US borders or military topics, this one is particularly bad. An example: One character flies from Moscow-Domodedovo to Berlin-Tempelhof in a KLM Boeing 747. That sentence alone contains five mistakes: 1. Tem If I were asked to provide a quote for a cover blurb, I think "not quite as crap as the last one" would just about cover it. Still crap though. A boring paint by the numbers plot, and while I've long thought that Clancy's fame for excellent research was unjustified the moment he went beyond the US borders or military topics, this one is particularly bad. An example: One character flies from Moscow-Domodedovo to Berlin-Tempelhof in a KLM Boeing 747. That sentence alone contains five mistakes: 1. Tempelhof airport was already closed at the time the book is supposed to take place (probably - the timeline doesn't make a whole lot of sense either) 2: Its runways were too short for a loaded 747 3: No airline would use a 747 on a short European route 4: KLM is a Dutch airline that has its hub in Amsterdam and never flew between Russia and Germany 5: Domodedovo was never the airport KLM used in Moscow. All of that information could have been found by spending five minutes on Google, but that would mean caring about delivering a good book, which Clancy or his...let's call him collaborator instead of ghostwriter obviously didn't at that point. Another funny issue is that Ryan sinks his own presidential campaign when he announces that he's running. He calls the Iraq War "ill-conceived" in his announcement, but the only way the timeline can work out is if Ryan himself had started it when he was still in office. Electing a guy who started a stupid war is one thing, but electing a guy who started a stupid war and then goes on record saying that it was stupid? I don't think so. To end on a positive note: At least they noticed that they had accidentally introduced the same idiotic character twice in the previous book (view spoiler)[and killed one of them off. (hide spoiler)]

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a monster book, coming in at 800 or so pages. I read it in about three days, but I'm also a fast reader. Clancy has his modus operandi down pat - macho guys who drink Sam Adams and kill the bad guys, military and tech jargon, fascinating plot points that converge in ways you sort of expect but are still excited by in the pay off. The man knows how to give a big pay off, I'll give him that. His politics are no where near mine. One character executes terrorists in cold blood and gets away w This is a monster book, coming in at 800 or so pages. I read it in about three days, but I'm also a fast reader. Clancy has his modus operandi down pat - macho guys who drink Sam Adams and kill the bad guys, military and tech jargon, fascinating plot points that converge in ways you sort of expect but are still excited by in the pay off. The man knows how to give a big pay off, I'll give him that. His politics are no where near mine. One character executes terrorists in cold blood and gets away with it, with the act itself being presented in black and white morality while the opposition is a bunch of power hungry liberals looking to get ahead. Yet if you read between the preaching you'll see a man who is a pragmatist in foreign affairs and I actually can side with him on that. Some of it is done with a sledgehammer (Jack Ryan Sr.'s speech announcing his re-entry into presidential politics is a big one) but others are more subtle (conversations between grunts on whether all Muslims are terrorists) and much more effective. His attention to detail is amazing, though I can assume it is a bit off if compared to the real world situation. Also he has a pretty mean streak when it comes to women and while there is at least one major female character she comes more off as a mouth piece for why the CIA sucks than a strong lead in her own right. Literally most of the female characters in the book are prostitutes. I was told this was a "romance novel for men" and that may be overall true, but I certainly enjoyed it. Overall synopsis - love the story, the writing is utilitarian, disagree with most of the political viewpoints, but still GREATLY enjoyed the book. Seeing Clancy's characters come together was a treat.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    My dad informed me there was a new Jack Ryan book and then passed it along to me. I remember a summer, which seems not long ago but was in fact a decade now, where I devoured pretty much every Clancy book that had been written up to that point - up to Rainbow Six, I believe. Even at the time there was something of a guilty pleasure element to it and that's only worse now. Clancy is what he is and isn't what he isn't, and being as the man is from Maryland he always manages to get me with a little My dad informed me there was a new Jack Ryan book and then passed it along to me. I remember a summer, which seems not long ago but was in fact a decade now, where I devoured pretty much every Clancy book that had been written up to that point - up to Rainbow Six, I believe. Even at the time there was something of a guilty pleasure element to it and that's only worse now. Clancy is what he is and isn't what he isn't, and being as the man is from Maryland he always manages to get me with a little touch of Baltimore. Why is it exciting to see Attman's in print? Why not? As for the book itself: 9/11 took the Clancyverse off of its parallel track, and it lost something in that transition. Somehow, simultaneously, we have smashed together the events of Clancy books going all the way back to Red October, including an economic war with Japan that included the entirety of a presidential administration and Congress being wiped out by a pilot crashing a plane into the Capitol building, and yet also includes real-world occurrences such as America being bogged down due to invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. The name Putin comes up once or twice. I don't see how Putin exists in the same world that has The Bear and the Dragon in its past. That said... well, whatever. What else was I expecting?

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Sallwasser

    I don't think I'm a big Tom Clancy fan. The book was just OK. I haven't read the earlier big hits, though, so I can't compare. There were some VERY minor points that really, really irritated me for some reason. They are: Jack Ryan's daughter showed up for one scene, apparently just so the other characters could make fun of her for being a vegetarian and trying to care about the environment. Oh, and they really "got her" with: "I bet you don't want to fix the ozone layer, because you like tanning I don't think I'm a big Tom Clancy fan. The book was just OK. I haven't read the earlier big hits, though, so I can't compare. There were some VERY minor points that really, really irritated me for some reason. They are: Jack Ryan's daughter showed up for one scene, apparently just so the other characters could make fun of her for being a vegetarian and trying to care about the environment. Oh, and they really "got her" with: "I bet you don't want to fix the ozone layer, because you like tanning too much!" Those silly, misguided vegetarians and environmentalists! Drive Hummers and eat meat, like a real 'Murican! Second, the scenes that took place in Hampton Roads referred to "the 64" and "the 264." We don't refer to our highways as "the ##" around here - I'm pretty sure that's a California thing. The bridge tunnels cross the Chesapeake Bay, not the "Hampton Roads Bay." If you're going to throw in that many minute details about a location, get 'em right. I told you they were minor. I guess I was a little bored with the plot for those things to stand out so much. Oh! And if I had been more emotionally invested in the book, the last few little bit would have been pretty disturbing. It came off like some kind of messed up torture-porn.

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