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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debt of Honor Brings Realistic Action and Espionage
Debt of Honor is a book by Tom Clancy about a war between Japan and the United States that starts over a trade disagreement. The turn of events that triggers the war are creatively thought out and frighteningly realistic. The book follows Jack Ryan as the President's National Security Advisor as well as his colleagues John Clark and Ding Chavez in the CIA. The novel...
Published on December 6, 1999 by Danny Wilson

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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clancy ponders the Japanese threat
"Debt of Honor" is classic Clancy fare. The plot moves rapidly, skipping from place to place as our old friend Jack Ryan frets over a bevy of global crises. This time the threat comes from Japan, where a jingoistic industrialist plots to bring America to its knees, both economically and militarily. "Debt of Honor" is enjoyable enough to read. The action moves fast and the...
Published on January 1, 2003 by Craig Wood


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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Debt of Honor Brings Realistic Action and Espionage, December 6, 1999
By 
Danny Wilson (Denver, Colorado) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Debt of Honor is a book by Tom Clancy about a war between Japan and the United States that starts over a trade disagreement. The turn of events that triggers the war are creatively thought out and frighteningly realistic. The book follows Jack Ryan as the President's National Security Advisor as well as his colleagues John Clark and Ding Chavez in the CIA. The novel covers all aspects of the war with great detail and wit including the diplomacy, espionage, technology, politics, and military usage of a war. The book pulled me in from the rising action in the beginning to the explosive ending that leads into Executive Orders, the next book in the Ryan saga. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed any of the Jack Ryan novels or movies.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Clancy ponders the Japanese threat, January 1, 2003
By 
Craig Wood (Menlo Park, CA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
"Debt of Honor" is classic Clancy fare. The plot moves rapidly, skipping from place to place as our old friend Jack Ryan frets over a bevy of global crises. This time the threat comes from Japan, where a jingoistic industrialist plots to bring America to its knees, both economically and militarily. "Debt of Honor" is enjoyable enough to read. The action moves fast and the chapters are sliced into convenient, bite-sized portions. The book's weakness, perhaps, is that the plot--and many of the sub-plots--seem a little far-fetched. E.g., Japan's invasion of Guam and Saipan goes undiscovered by the US press for several days, until an enterprising weatherman from Idaho unearths the shocking news. But Clancy's knack for explaining the technical aspects of airplanes, submarines, aircraft carriers, et al, is as good as ever. This marriage of fact with fiction is always a highlight of a Clancy novel. "Debt of Honor" may not be for everyone, but those who enjoy this genre will likely be satisfied
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars They Said It Couldn't Happen, September 11, 2001
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Clancy has been writing the life history of Jack Ryan for many years. With each new book in the series, new aspects of Ryan are displayed, from his own internal doubts about the moral correctness of some of his actions to a dazzling display of competence in each endeavor that he attempts. Here we find Ryan involved, as a first order plot, in an economic war with Japan, waged with all the tools of modern electronic markets, where Ryan's prior experience as a Wall Street analyst is useful, believable, and comprehensible to the reader. This alone is no small feat for Clancy, as Wall Street jargon is a language all its own, and the internal workings of the markets are mainly a dark mystery to most. Of course, this being a Clancy novel, there is far more than just one main plot, and when things deteriorate to a shooting war, he does his fine job of delineating actual tactics, weapons, squad level and executive decisions to the point of making the reader feel that he is there on the front line. The characterization of Yamata, one of the main driving forces on the opposing side, is very well done, and lends a sense of inevitability to the surprising and traumatic conclusion to this book. After reading this, Executive Orders is a must read, if just to find out "Now what?" (and you won't be disappointed, as Executive Orders is as good or maybe slightly better than this one).
There are a few places where I felt Clancy could have been more concise; at times the level of detail he throws at the reader is overwhelming, and not truly necessary to developing his plot, characters, or theme. This is a typical Clancy failing (which seems to have become much worse in his latest couple of novels) -- here it is quite bearable, and it is fairly easy to recognize those sections where it is safe to do some skim reading.
Some readers of this have felt that the depicted scenario is too far out, that this could never happen in the real world. This is not a failure on the author's part, but rather the failure of too limited an imagination on the part of these readers. Events as they have occurred since this book was published in 1994 have, unfortunately, shown just how possible this kind of thing is, if not exactly right in all its details. But it is clear that America can be attacked in many more ways than the traditional military methods, from economics to bio-war to terrorists. How we can maintain our traditional freedoms while nullifying these threats is a continuing question that so far does not have any simple answer.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ryan Saves us...AGAIN!!, October 30, 2000
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Talk about your cliff-hangers...it doesn't get much better than 'Debt of Honor' my friends. I honestly can't think of ANY book I have EVER read that leaves you with such an amazing, but frustraing ending. I echo one of the reviews of that book: The last chapter alone is worth the cost of the book. But please do NOT spoil the surprise by reading it. From a subtle but increasingly hostile Japanese agressive act on everything from the military to Wall Street, Clancy has given us a nail
biter, and one of his best, too (I STILL liked 'Sum Of All Fears' the most...). Run, don't walk to the nearest book store and grab this large book and lock yourself away for a good weekend filled with a huge adrenaline rush. How it all comes about, and what America does about the Japanese threat is truly enlightening, especially the thought that since the 'Gulf War' Mother Hubbard's Cupboard has become pretty bare of Military might. Nevertheless Clancy has given us reason to rejoice in that he has given us a FANTASTIC story with probably THE BEST (and most fustrating) ending I have ever read--you simply HAVE to read it to understand what I'm talking about...and while you do, enjoy!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative and unlikely--an intriguing premise., May 30, 2004
By 
Roger J. Buffington (Huntington Beach, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
America and Japan are vital allies and trading partners and I am confident that the two countries will never again engage in armed conflict with one another. A limited form of armed conflict between Japan and the United States is the intriguing premise of this novel, one of Clancy's best. Although unlikely, there is nothing that takes place in this novel that is quite impossible. Just not real probable, but hey, that's why we have fiction.
The basic storyline is simple (no spoilers here). The trade friction between Japan and the United States comes to a head when the US enacts a trade bill which essentially targets Japanese firms which engage in sharp practices against the US. This gives a clique of power-wielding industrialists an opportunity to put Japan on a course whereby it seeks to establish military control over much of the Western Pacific area, including Saipan, which is a United States territory. Therein lies the story. Far out, but not impossible. Here, Clancy is stretching his imaginative muscles and the result is a quite good novel. As usual, Clancy's skillful speculation about, and knowledge of, military technology gives this one more authenticity than most authors would be able to manage.
This one brings back our old friends Jack Ryan, John Clark, and Ding Chavez, who are the central players on the American side. This novel features some of Clancy's best writing, and is not overlong like most of his later works. Further, the Japanese side is presented largely with respect and dignity, excepting the core bad guys who are portrayed as well, bad guys.
One of Clancy's best, and if you like his other ones, you will probably thoroughly enjoy this one.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Clancy's best since Red Storm Rising!, February 23, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
The Jack Ryan saga continues! You thought he finished his career by averting a nuclear war in "Sum of All Fears" didn't you? But President Durling convinces him to come back, and not a moment too soon. It seems trouble follows Jack wherever he goes. "Debt of Honor" is an action packed thrill ride that will grab you right from the start and keep holding onto you at the end when you expect a resolution to the conflict, but one doesn't come. "Executive Orders" certainly finished up this two-parter nicely, but that's another story.
To me, an avid fan of "Red Storm Rising", I yearned for another bonanza of military technology with things blowing up and cutting edge weapons. DOH delivered the best battle scenes since RSR, featuring the B-2 Spirit, Comanche Attack Chopper, and F-22 Raptor kicking some major butt. The light weapon used by "Klerk" and "Chekov" was also very interesting. I just wish that the Americans could have taken out the Indians and Chinese too, but maybe Clancy's saving that for another day...
I won't say if "Debt of Honor" is the best of the Clancy series because I loved every single one of his books (except perhaps for his Power Plays, Op-Centers, and Netforces). DOH is about five to three hundred pages longer than any of Clancy's other masterpieces, but that just gives him more room to add excitement and plot twists. I only wish that the relative I originally borrowed "Debt of Honor" from hadn't revealed the shocking conclusion to me before I had a chance to read it myself.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A foreshadowing of a national disaster?, June 12, 2002
By 
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Like most Americans, I sat transfixed before my TV set on September 11, 2001, completely transfixed by the unfolding disaster on our shores. Time and time again, I watched that relentless tattoo of images cross my TV screen: hijacked passenger jets flying at full speed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center; the twin towers of that magnificent structure collapsing to the ground, one right after the other, with thousands of people inside them; and a new generation of heroes -- firefighters and police officers -- working round the clock to find survivors of these horrific events.

As I watched events unfold on that fateful day, I kept getting this nagging feeling that this story all seemed too familiar. Where had I heard it before? Was it a movie I had seen? A book I had read?

Then I remembered. Tom Clancy's novel, "Debt of Honor." At the time of its publication in 1994, it was the latest in the continuing saga of Jack Ryan, that fictional Central Intelligence Agency operative in several of Clancy's previous novels.

By the time I read "Debt of Honor" in 1994, I had found myself growing tired of Clancy's books. Each one seemed infinitely longer than its predecessor, filled with more complex twists and turns of plot; laced with more of Clancy's tiresome personal political philosophy; and filled with plots and subplots that seemed progressively more far-fetched.

When I finished "Debt of Honor," I thought Clancy had really out-done himself by creating a plot that was so unrealistic that it bordered on the ludicrous. In his usual highly charged, "grab 'em by the throat and don't let 'em go 'til the last page" fashion, Clancy took me on quite a journey. In retrospect, it was a journey I should have paid more attention to!

For me, "Debt of Honor" was vintage Clancy: lots of interesting "techno-war" stuff, but not much else. Despite being unrealistic to the point of absurdity, the plot is indeed well crafted and quite exciting. It's pretty easy to get caught up in the chain of events that Clancy creates, even though you, the reader, will probably have a pretty fair idea of where the book is headed by the halfway point...

...Or will you?

One of the major reasons for the tremendous popularity of Tom Clancy's novels over the years has been their almost uncanny ability to foreshadow future events, as well as future trends in military technology and geopolitical thinking. One of Clancy's greatest strengths as a writer of fiction is the meticulous research he does before ever setting pen to paper (or, in modern parlance, before cranking up the ol' word processor and "inputting data.") Even with their frequently fantastic plots and subplots, Clancy's novels always have a realistic "feel" to them. I suppose that's why I continue reading them, even though their plots are wearing thin and seem to reach further and further into the realm of impossibility, thereby rendering the impossible distinctly possible.

"Rendering the impossible distinctly possible" is exactly what happened with "Debt of Honor;" for this seemingly incredible plot foreshadowed last September's terrorist attacks in a truly chilling fashion.

Last September, life really did tragically imitate art. And, in light of those catastrophic events, the plot of "Debt of Honor" doesn't seem quite so far-fetched after all.

Give Tom Clancy his due. He did his homework, drew some pretty somber conclusions about what just might happen from his research, and concocted a plot that really should have served as a warning to all of us: "America, let's get our act together... the next time we're attacked, it will be in the least expected ways. It will involve what our government now calls rather euphemistically "asymmetrical warfare." And we, as a nation, are not prepared to defend ourselves for what is surely coming."

Because I pooh-poohed "Debt of Honor," as so much "Clancy fancy," judging it "too outrageous," I dismissed the author's vitally important message. I suspect a lot of people who read this book might've done the same.

In hindsight, it's scary just how accurate a prediction Clancy made in "Debt of Honor." What's even scarier is that he continued sounding the same message in the sequel to this book, entitled "Executive Orders." Its premise: biological weapons in the hands of state-sponsored middle eastern terrorists.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Payment in Full, November 18, 2006
By 
Ben Phenicie (Detroit, Michigan) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Years ago, my friend, a hard-boiled conservative militarist, suggested I read Debt of Honor after I made some Panglossian statement about what a safe comfy world we live in. The world is grown less safe, so several months ago, I finally took his suggestion.

Other reviewers poke holes in Clancy's logic, his understanding of East Asia, and his alleged stereotyping/racism. None of these things are unreasonable, but the truth is, we have a great book here.

'People don't always act rationally' is the theme, and it is borne out again and again, both in the book and in the real world. I saw the book not so much as a what-if attempt at being a crystal ball, but much more a character peice about induvidual failings that can lead to disaster.

One thing, though- Clancy, intentionally or not, paints his heroes as near flawless people of virtue, service and sacrifice. While I suppose such people are out there, it would make for better fiction of Jack Ryan and the other heroes had more personal problems, more moral failings, and generally, were more like the rest of the muddled lot of us. If I wanted superheroes, I could have them in capes.

The book is excellent in the first half, and a bit longwinded in the third quarter. Plot and subplots are sort of mashed together in the last quarter of the book, and, like so many novels, the climax doesn't quite deliver all one would expect given the buildup.

But be sure you read through to the very end. Clancy paints a lot of scenarios in the book, and some that can't be mentioned in a spoiler-free review are well worth considering.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In reference to all post-9/11 reviews..., February 6, 2003
By 
Scott Cross "of the Ka-Tet of Love" (North Hollywood, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
It is amazing to me to read all of these reviews of this book by people who read it after the 9/11 disaster. What a difference an actual event will have on the opinions of those who read the book because of that word-of-mouth rather than those who read it before that terrible day.
I read "Debt of Honor" not too long after it came out in paperback, well before the events of 9/11/2001. It had a much different impact on me than on the others I refer to above. I was blown away by the ending. It was one of those Clancy moments in which I think afterwards that I just can't believe he had the courage to go through with such a huge plot twist. That part alone forced me to go back and read all of Clancy's previous novels in the order he published them (with the exception of "Without Remorse," which is the first Clancy book I read), leading up to "Executive Orders," his best book, in my opinion.
My advice to those curious to read this book just because of the similarities to the events of 9/11....be prepared. This is a long book. The key moment does not happen until the last few pages, and it is less a part of this book than it is a bridge and a set-up for Clancy's next Jack Ryan adventure, "Executive Orders." I loved this book, but then again I was completely unprepared for the ending, so I wasn't just trudging through a long novel to get to a few pages of action.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another worthy Jack Ryan outing, September 25, 2001
By 
"boyd1969" (Chicago, Illinois United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) (Mass Market Paperback)
Tom Clancy has breathed fresh life into a series which could easily have gone stale a few books ago. His unique writing style of detailing several plots at once, takes some getting used to, but is well worth the effort. Most importantly, his ability to take seemingly unworkable plotlines and make them believable is what creates the extraordinary suspense in the Jack Ryan series.
This time around, Ryan faces a different type of threat. A wealthy industrialist bent on regaining the perceived "loss of honor" experienced by the empire of Japan, resorts to military and economic attacks to bring the United States to its' knees. Very suspenseful and fast moving, despite it's size. A must read for Tom Clancy fans.
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Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan)
Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan) by Tom Clancy (Mass Market Paperback - August 1, 1995)
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