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The Sum of All Fears (A Jack Ryan Novel) Mass Market Paperback – May 7, 2002

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Product Details

  • Series: A Jack Ryan Novel (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 914 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books (May 7, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425184226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425184226
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Once again, Tom Clancy manages to add new twists to the alternate U.S. history he initiated in The Hunt for Red October. In The Sum of All Fears, the center of conflict is the perpetual hot spot the Mideast, where a nuclear weapon falls into the hands of terrorists just as peace seems possible. Clancy realistically paints an almost unthinkable scenario--the bomb is planted on American soil in the midst of an escalation in tension with the Soviet Union; the terrorists hope to rekindle cold war animosity and prevent reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Despite such a dramatic story line, Clancy doesn't neglect the individuals who drive his tale. Jack Ryan's problems are as much domestic as they are part of the international crisis that is the ostensible narrative: National Security Director Elizabeth Elliot has the president's ear, and she has convinced him that Ryan's ethics are questionable. She hints at marital infidelity and an insider-trading scandal. Of course, both accusations are false, but her arguments have enough evidence behind them (e.g. some photographs of an innocent embrace with a friend) to cause a strain in the Ryans' marriage and a flurry of media attention. While "Mr. Clark" tracks the terrorists, he also provides some needed intelligence to heal the Ryan family.

The Sum of All Fears is the stuff of nightmares but contains enough verisimilitude to terrify sober minds. Ryan has matured into a complex protagonist as Clancy's writing, too, has matured. Ryan is plagued by stress and self-doubts that test even his dauntless moral compass and make him a more interesting subject for readers' attention. Those fascinated by military hardware, from nuclear submarines to atomic weapons, will find almost enough here to start their own army. And Clancy's understanding of international politics seems chillingly correct. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Tom Clancy is America's, and the world's, favorite international thriller author. Starting with THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, all thirteen of his previous books have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His books, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS have been made into major motion pictures. He lived in Maryland where he was a co-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Customer Reviews

By far Tom Clancy`s best Jack Ryan novel.
The book is close to 900 pages and I read it in less than 10 days that is how good it is.
John Tonkovich "Airforce 3408
Love Clancy's in depth characters and story lines.
H. Dieter Heinzer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Rob C. on November 22, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As we again face turmoil in the Middle East, this book becomes more timely than ever. The story of a nuclear warhead falling into the hands of very determined terrorists, it winds throughout the world, through characters that come to life, and terror and suspense that will surely amaze and satisfy the reader.
Almost too true to life to be a work of fiction, this book is more technical and heavily written than earlier Clancy works, but the high degree of detail and heart-stopping tension more than balances the scientific complexities in the narrative.
At times the characters a carbon copies of earlier Clancy protagonists but the brilliant use of them makes up for some of their predictability.
Ryan and crew are back with a vengance and the safety of the world are in the balance. A must read and a well and worthy effort. Not perfect, but by far, one of the finest nuclear terror novels ever written.
And keep in mind, it could all happen as soon as today.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mark on January 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Yes, I know, there is a movie called "The Sum of All Fears," but whatever it was based on, it wasn't this book. Now they even have two characters from the movie on the cover of the book, but that's misleading, because those characters don't exist in the book. One is a young rookie CIA operative named Jack Ryan; the other is his mentor, Morgan Freeman - well, he has another name in the movie, but it's the same character Freeman always plays, the all-wise, all-knowing elder statesman with no character flaws and never a lapse in judgment.

The book's main character is also named Jack Ryan, but he is a veteran analyst who has worked his way up to number two in the CIA. The top guy, who happens to have the same name as the Morgan Freeman character in the movie, is a stuffed shirt who is content to bask in the perks of his position and let Ryan run the agency, and is little more than a bit player in the book. The centerpiece of both book and movie is the bad guys setting off a nuke at the Super Bowl. But the events leading up to and following the nuclear detonation are what make the book the riveting thriller that it is, and none of that found its way into the movie.

In the book, Ryan has managed to get on the bad side of the president's girlfriend/National Security Advisor. That doesn't really figure significantly in the action until after the bomb, but along the way, in a comic-relief scene I find myself pulling the book off the shelf and rereading repeatedly over the years, we get to see the mysterious and sinister Mr. Clark morph into a marriage counselor and save the Ryans' marriage. I'd love to see a movie depiction of Clark and Chavez escorting Cathy Ryan through a bad neighborhood to a restaurant ("We can't go out, the neighborhood isn't..." "Um, safe, ma'am?
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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Believe me, the earlier ones lead up to this ("The Hunt For Red October", "Patriot Games", "Cardinal Of the Kremlin" and "Clear and Present Danger"), and the last two ("Debt Of Honor" and "Executive Orders") are downhill. Through the earlier books, Ryan was developing from an obscure CIA academic into the hero we know. After this, he falls into the Presidency and becomes the target of political enemies. But "Sum Of All Fears" is where he's at his best. He prevails against terrorists led by a leader who's dying of cancer and has nothing to lose. With the help of his beautiful brilliant physician wife (though conservative, Clancy seems determined to avoid sexism), he prevails against a Murphy Brown clone in the Cabinet who tries to torpedo both his career and his family life. Maybe it's a bit overblown when he also saves the world from an escalating nuclear crisis and a panicky president because he's personal friends with a Kremlin higher-up, but hell, he prevails there too. If you like Jack Ryan as a Yankee James Bond who uses his mind a lot and a gun hardly ever, read this book, then press <stop>.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read every Clancy book in the Ryan series and this is clearly the lowpoint. I saw some folks rating it highly and I wanted to throw my two cents in: This one contains almost endless pages on some suspected affair he's having from his wife's perspective, etc. By far the most soap opera-ish work he's done, making it hard for a regular Clancy reader to get through. The stuff on building the bomb is also protracted and uninteresting.
If you're just starting with Clancy, I'd start with Clear and Present Danger or one of the more recent one like Rainbow Six. I'd start just about anywhere else if you want the best of this excellent author.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By "jpmb" on May 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Until "The Bear and the Dragon" came along, this was my least favorite Clancy novel. Unlike his earlier stuff, he takes FOREVER to get the story cooking, and it's the first one where his personal politics really start to get in the way. In a book where it takes a whole chapter for a nuclear bomb to go off, you can expect to read some fairly arcane technical trivia.
("The Bear and the Dragon" also has this in common with "Sum." They're the only ones where he tries to write sex scenes, and, well, let's just say it's not his forte. He should have learned from this novel that he doesn't do it well, and left it alone.)
This is the only Tom Clancy novel I have been unable to reread. Some of them I've read five or six times. This one I just can't make it through a second time.
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