For many readers, Jack Ryan embodies the essence of the modern American hero. Morally centered, disciplined, humble yet powerful, Ryan (and his onscreen incarnations in Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford) has made Tom Clancy one of the most popular writers in the world. But as Clancy has constructed the Ryan mythology, he has quietly established Ryan's shadow double, John Clark. Appearing in The Cardinal of the Kremlin
, Clear and Present Danger
, and Without Remorse
, Clark has many of Jack Ryan's most appealing traits, but he is also a darker figure embodying the more paranoid sensibilities of the late '90s. As is made clear from the opening pages of Rainbow Six
, ex-Navy SEAL Clark and his colleagues believe violent, deadly force to be the best deterrent for terrorism.
Clark (a.k.a. Rainbow Six) has left the CIA to create an England-based organization code-named "Rainbow." Its mission: deploy an elite squad of American operatives combined with handpicked British, French, and German agents to stop terrorism in its tracks. Rainbow's emergence could not be more timely: in quick succession, the force diffuses three attempted terrorist actions. But Clark becomes suspicious when Russian agents suddenly show interest in Rainbow's work.
Rainbow Six appeals on all the levels that Clancy fans could hope for. The Rainbow operatives, from Navy SEALs to German mountain-leader school graduates, are rendered to inspire with their physical and mental prowess. The book is infatuated with the latest gadgets for scrambling, transmitting, and decoding secrets. And, in a carefully woven narrative that simultaneously traces the Rainbow team, a former KGB agent named Popov, the Australian Olympic security team, and a sinister group of American scientists, Clancy artfully reveals the mystery of "Shiva" at the center of the novel. How does Clark measure up against Jack Ryan? He may be the perfect hero for a world with hidden villains. --Patrick O'Kelley
From Publishers Weekly
Two years ago, Executive Orders, which thrust Jack Ryan into the Oval Office, raised the bar for its immensely popular author. This first Clancy hardcover since then, though a ripping read, matches its predecessor neither in complexity nor intensity nor even, at 752 pages, length, despite a strong premise and some world-class action sequences. Instead of everyman Ryan, its lead is the more shadowed John Clark, the ex-Navy SEAL vigilante of Without Remorse who has appeared in several Ryan adventures. Clark now heads Rainbow Six, an international special-ops anti-terrorist strike force?and, despite the novelty of the conceit, that's a problem, as the profusion of protagonists, though sharply drawn (including, most notably, "Ding" Chavez, Clark's longtime protege), deprives the book of the sort of strong central character that has given Clancy's previous novels such heart. The story opens vigorously if arbitrarily, with an attempted airline hijacking foiled by Clark and Chavez, who happen to be on the plane. After that action sequence, the duo and others train at Rainbow Headquarters outside London, then leap into the fray against terrorists who have seized a bank in Bern, Switzerland. And so the pattern of the narrative is set: action sequence, interlude, action sequence, interlude, etc., giving it the structure and pace of a computer game. A major subplot involving bioterrorism that evolves into an overarching plotline syncopates that pattern, though Clancy's choice of environmentalists as his prime villains will strike some readers as odd. All of Clancy's fans, however, will revel in the writer's continued mastery at action writing; Rainbow's engagements, which occupy the bulk of the novel, are immensely suspenseful, breathtaking combos of expertly detailed combat and primal emotion. While not Clancy's best, then, his 10th hardcover will catapult to the top of bestseller lists?and for good reason. Two million first printing; $1 million ad/promo; simultaneous Random Audio and Red Storm Entertainment computer game; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.