A little more than thirty years ago Tom Clancy was a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history. Years before, he had been an English major at Baltimore's Loyola College and had always dreamed of writing a novel. His first effort, The Hunt for Red October--the first of the phenomenally successful Jack Ryan novels--sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto the New York Times bestseller list after President Reagan pronounced it "the perfect yarn." From that day forward, Clancy established himself as an undisputed master at blending exceptional realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. He passed away in October 2013.
Clancy evolves from storyteller to novelist in his latest techno-thriller, as gadgets take second place to politics and personalities. In the late 1990s the world is cautiously emerging from the Cold War; even the Arab-Israeli conflict is being resolved, thanks to the cleverness of Clancy's hero Jack Ryan. But as confrontation yields to cooperation, what becomes of displaced terrorists? Palestinians without a cause and East Germans without a country seek to rekindle U.S.-U.S.S.R. animosity. A small nuclear device is exploded at the Super Bowl; in Berlin American and Russian troops are tricked into firing on each other; residual suspicions carry the action from there. After the solution of the Middle East crisis serves as an exciting preliminary to the main plot, the novel's middle parts seem a recycling of situations and characters from Red October and Cardinal of the Kremlin. But in the last third of the book Clancy integrates story lines, taking readers on a nonstop roller-coaster ride to a nail-biting finish. Fundamentally, Clancy is writing about a vital and elusive quality: grace under pressure. Whether terrorists or statesmen, Clancy's characters face a common challenge--situations that break down pretensions of rank, power and ideology. Their responses, carefully and empathetically constructed, make this book compelling instead of merely ingenious. (Aug.)
Praise for The Sum of All Fears
"A whiz-bang page-turner!"--The New York Times Book Review "The Sum of All Fears delivers!"--People "A nonstop roller coaster ride to a nail-biting climax...ingenious."--Publishers Weekly "Tom Clancy at his best...This is a book not to be missed."--Dallas Morning News Praise for Tom Clancy "He constantly taps the current world situation for its imminent dangers and spins them into an engrossing tale."--The New York Times Book Review "A brilliant describer of events."--The Washington Post "No one can equal his talent for making military electronics and engineering intelligible and exciting...He remains the best!"--Houston Chronicle