I'm half-way through this one. I disagree with the previous poster on his capability of writing about relationships. In fact, this was a discussion I had with my spouse just last night. His writing is very good, but it needs more characterization. Clancy is good at letting you know exactly what is in the mind of each character. Even the bad guys. In this, they're just a bunch of people talking. There is very little actual emotion, so it's hard to read any relationship at all.
That said, I still think this is a great book... so far. His writing is nothing at all like Tom Clancy, but he still has a story to tell. This one is more about the culture of the people of Russia and their mistreatment by their government. Clancy is a lot more technical where politics is very black and white. This one is more about the underdogs and how it affects them.
In any case, it's a fast read. Much like Cardinal of the Kremlin in that respect. I really do recommend this book, so far. I saw a reviewer who also remarked that Clancy fans will like Frederick Forsythe, so if you've not read him, he may be worth a try. I've never read him either.
I'm like you. I've been a Clancy fan since the 80s. Gracious a light went out the day he died! I actually cried my eyes out. What a great author.