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Tom Clancy Commander in Chief (A Jack Ryan Novel) Hardcover – December 1, 2015
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From Publishers Weekly
Greaney has a lot of pages to fill in his third solo Tom Clancy novel (after 2014's Tom Clancy: Full Force and Effect). That he manages it without being boring shows that he's well qualified to continue the adventures of Jack Ryan and son. Jack Sr., still the U.S. president, has more of a role than in recent entries, but most of the heroics are performed by Jack Jr., who's been slowly rising in the ranks of the secret organization known as the Campus. Russian president Valeri Volodin, once again the villain, has half a dozen perfidious plots aimed at restoring Russia to its position of greatness. One threat is to plant a new super-secret Russian submarine with 120 nuclear warheads in the waters off Washington, D.C. In the best tradition of Clancy, Greaney capably lays out the groundwork for these machinations before setting them all in entertaining motion. Fans of military action thrillers will be well satisfied. Agent: Scott Miller, Trident Media Group. (Dec.)\n
“AN A+, A TOUCHDOWN...Greaney has once again done fans proud, putting forth a thrilling plotline with the ultimate twists and turns, and some good, old-fashioned espionage to keep everyone on their toes...There have always been die-hard Clancy fans, but Mark Greaney, the fantastic writer of The Gray Man series, deserves a huge standing ovation for putting together yet another unforgettable Jack Ryan thriller!”—Suspense Magazine
“GREANEY DELIVERS a story reminiscent of the older Clancy novels...A taut storyline with familiar characters facing new challenges.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In the best tradition of Clancy...Fans of military action thrillers will be well satisfied.”—Publishers Weekly
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As most folks know, this is not Tom Clancy's work, Tom had not written a single book in a decade before he died. This is a franchise book, and another a good one. Mark Greaney is a talented writer, which he showed in his work in the prior "Clancy" novel Support and Defend and Full Force and Effect. Greaney keeps the trend going with this book, evoking the Clancy style and keeping the franchise alive.
In this novel, the plot revolves around oil and energy and its effects on global stability and a plot to manipulate the market to strengthen the Russians. Fiction? Sounds similar to the issues going on now. Just like Greaeny did with Full Force and Effect, where the plot centered on the at-that-time issue of North Korea, these books rope in present events to make the plot fee current. Very much the plot of any classic Clancy novel.
The writing is tight and well paced. If you liked Greaney's other Clancy interpretations, you will certainly like Commander in Chief. For those who have not given Greaney a chance, you should, at least to see if you like his take on Clancy works.
The strange part is, for all that appears to be going on, this book often feels like nothing is happening for long stretches. Commander-in-Chief is a slog to read. Although I continue to be an advocate for Greaney's work in this particular franchise, this entry is the weakest of the bunch. So much of the page count is spent building toward the inevitable war everybody knows is coming, but by the time the war actually rolls around in the book's climax it's nothing terribly grand. A fair amount of hay is made over an advanced Russian sub armed with nukes staking out the American coastline, only to disappear from both US tracking satellite's and the novel's narrative. The kidnapping subplot drags on for longer than it should, and then gets resolved in a single page. Despite some solid action scenes and accounts of thrilling military heroics, the various subplots lose their steam fast and fizzle out in a number of unsatisfying ways.
I am still curious to see where these characters are heading, particularly John Clark, knowing that Greaney's tenure with the Tom Clancy brand has since passed (I'm a few years late and a handful of books behind with the Jack Ryan Universe). Clark, now pushing 70, is clearly ready for retirement if this book is any indication. One thing that made me smile, though, was Clark, during a morning shooting range training, thinking about how reasonable people can cope with disagreement. I couldn't help but think of Mitch Rapp, the assassin hero of Vince Flynn's series, who damn near has an apoplectic fit anytime somebody disagrees with him and threatens to murder everyone for not drinking his Kool-Aid. I like the Rapp series, mind you, but it's nice to see trained killers like Clark actually behaving and thinking like professional adults rather than bratty children with guns. It's this kind of characterization of our nation's government workers and servicemen that has always put Clancy at the forefront, in my mind.
This time the action is divided between Lithuania and the British Virgin Islands as Domingo and Chavez fight off an impending Russian invasion, Jack investigates a trail of secret Moscow money laundering in Italy and Luxembourg. After Jack's cover is blown leading to serious injuries to his girlfriend as unknown agents searched for Jack, John Clark is called back to active duty and sent to the Virgin Islands to continue tracking the money and to determine which Russian Bigwig was hiding enormous sums of U.S. Dollars.
As war breaks out, Jack Ryan, Sr., is drawn into the mix when he is faced with a Russian invasion of Lithuania, and a Russian nuclear missile sub hiding off the east coast.
The situation spirals out of control on its way to an exciting climax.
This Political Thriller could have been taken from the pages of tomorrow's newspaper, as is the case with all Tom Clancy mysteries. The product hasn't been tarnished.
I strongly recommend this exciting novel.