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The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1989

4.4 out of 5 stars 423 customer reviews
Book 4 of 10 in the A Jack Ryan Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Two men possess vital data on Russia's Star Wars missile defense system. One of them is CARDINAL--America's highest agent in the Kremlin--and he's about to be terminated by the KGB. The other is the one American who can save CARDINAL and lead the world to the brink of peace--or war.

From Library Journal

In his fourth book, Clancy uses nuclear strategies to probe the ambiguities of fighting the good fightthe Americans vs. the Soviets. By the time familiar hero Jack Ryan steps in to investigate mysterious structures on the Soviet-Afghan border, the Soviets have struck again by zapping a satellite with a free electron laser. The title's cardinal, an elite, well-placed source in the Kremlin, leaks details of this secret activity to the United States. In the backdrop of technological bravura, spiced by artful espionage and all-too-human mistakes, intelligence is transferred back and forth and there are attacks and counterattacks. It is a mark of Clancy's growing maturity as a writer that he can bring these subtleties into highly entertaining form. Literary Guild Main. Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Jack Ryan (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 547 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Books (August 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425116840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425116845
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (423 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Kardinal of the Kremlin is one of the best, if most often overlooked, books in the Jack Ryan series.
The plot of Kardinal basically involves three related story lines.
First, both the Russians and the US are attempting to create a ground based laser defense system to shoot down enemy sattelites and nuclear weapons. At its base, the story focuses on both side's efforts to build their respective systems, and to gather intellegence on the other side's progress.
Second, the U.S. has a very high level intellegence source inside the Kremlin itself. A lot of the story focuses on the U.S.'s attempts to maintain his cover, and its actions to save him after he is discovered.
Finally, a backdrop to the story is ongoing strategic arms talks in Moscow, which is eventually used as a cover by the US to arrange the defection of another high ranking Russian official.
Kardinal gives the reader a true insite into the workings of the US government, particularly the CIA, as only Tom Clancy can. The story is very immersive and suspenseful. My one warning to people who have read other Clancy books is that there aren't really any large scale battles or all out wars as in some of his other books. Here, Clancy focuses more on the fine art of playing spy :)
Asside from being a great book on its own, Kardinal does a great job tying in events and characters from earlier books in the Jack Ryan timeline, specifically from The Hunt For Red October and Patriot games.
Just as importantly to all Clancy fans, events related in Kardinal (perhaps more so than any of his other books) are referred to in the novels that Clancy wrote later on.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Of all of Tom Clancy's novels that I've either read or reread, I would think it would be difficult to sit back and say, this novel or that one is the best of them, but if forced to choose, I'd say that "The Cardinal of the Kremlin" is the best one. Contained within the pages of this novel is some of the most fluid writing that one can find in a novel from this genre. From taut political intrigue to suspenseful military action this novel scores in every area.
The particularly great thing that one can anticipate and not be disappointed in when contemplating a Clancy novel, is that he covers all of the bases and leave nothing out. The scope and detail that Clancy worked into this novel is mind boggling as he sets up so many variables and then works you through to the conclusion of every one of those variables.
"The Cardinal of the Kremlin" is author Tom Clancy's fourth novel overall and more importantly, the third in his "Ryanverse." One of the more important things about reading a Clancy novel is the fact that he seems to have set things up for himself rather nicely because you will find "possible" hints at where he's going with either his next book or one down the road. You will find references to the Cardinal, throughout his previous books as well as other references in his earlier novels that are leading to his later novels.
Taut political intriguing + suspenseful military action + in depth characterizations + a plot of epic proportion = "The Cardinal of the Kremlin."
The premise:
"The Cardinal of the Kremlin" is so large in its scope and detail that it may be difficult to summarize the plot here, in so few words available.
What drives this novel, first and foremost, is Dr.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the second Tom Clancy book I've read (the other was Clear and Present Danger) and he is clearly a writer who can sustain several sub-plots and tie them up neatly at the end. This book focuses on arms control negotiations between the US and the soviet Union towards the end of the cold war, and specifically the development of the Strategic Defence Initiative, and the covert side to these that you are sure would have happened, but would never know about. It is all expertly explained and you do detect an effort by the author to avoid over demonising the villains. The main problem seemed to be the author wearing his heart so firmly on his sleeve with regard to right and wrong in the issues explored in the book. I found that this lead to a lack of tension, being able to predict the fates of characters in advance (I don't mean just Jack Ryan - of COURSE he'll come out smelling of roses - no problem there, but when you are equally confident about the outcome for various other minor characters in the book it does result in a serious loss of tension). That said however the book was a reasonably enjoyable read, enough to persuade me to try another in his jack Ryan series in the future.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a Tom Clancy fan. I have read most of his material, and I have always found his books entertaining. "Cardinal of the Kremlin" is no exception. Probably the most true spy novel in the Jack Ryan series, "Cardinal" has all of the elements that make an exciting story; mystery, intrigue, honor and vengeance. Clancy takes the time to develop his characters, explaining why each of them has chosen the path they are on, instead of just throwing an exciting scenario at you and letting you figure it out. I also like the way Clancy incorporates characters from previous books, like Captain Ramius from "The Hunt for Red October". Also if you plan to read more of Tom Clancy's work in the future, take note of the brief appearance of "Mr. Clark" because you see much more of him in the books to come. Many believe that this is Clancy's best work, but I disagree. It is a very good book and I would recommend you read it, but I think Clancy's best book is "Without Remorse."
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