Other Sellers on Amazon
Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more
Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.
Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.
Enter your mobile phone or email address
By pressing "Send link," you agree to Amazon's Conditions of Use.
You consent to receive an automated text message from or on behalf of Amazon about the Kindle App at your mobile number above. Consent is not a condition of any purchase. Message & data rates may apply.
Follow the Author
Tom Clancy Firing Point (A Jack Ryan Jr. Novel) Hardcover – June 9, 2020
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
"The Tuscan Child" by Rhys Bowen
From New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Rhys Bowen comes a haunting novel about a woman who braves her father’s hidden past to discover his secrets… | Learn more
Frequently bought together
About the Author
Mike Maden is the author of the critically acclaimed Drone series. He holds both a master's and Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Davis, specializing in international relations and comparative politics. He has lectured and consulted on the topics of war and the Middle East, among others. Maden has served as a political consultant and campaign manager in state and national elections, and hosted his own local weekly radio show for a year.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Aboard the container ship Jade Star
Second Officer Luis Loyola stood outside on the starboard bridge wing, vaping a sweet menthol Juulpod. He admired the blanket of stars shimmering across the black velvet sky.
His seaman's eye suddenly caught the breaking wake of what was probably a dolphin's fin racing toward the hull far down below, then watched it dip beneath the blue-black water, night feeding. He smiled. Amazing animals. And always a good luck charm.
The ship's bow surged toward a waxing moon blazing like a searchlight, illuminating the dark Pacific waters in every direction, all the way to the horizon, or so it seemed. Out here in the South Pacific, he couldn't see the lights of any nearby ships of any size; his radar had indicated the nearest fishing vessel was some 140 kilometers away. He might as well have been on the surface of Mars for the solitude he craved tonight.
The ship was sailing on a smooth sea at fifteen knots-a little more than half its rated speed-to save expensive bunker fuel. The 102,000-ton (deadweight) vessel was powered by a 93,000-
horsepower, two-stroke diesel engine thrumming far belowdecks. It was burning 90 tons of fuel a day at current speed as it drove the ship's thirty-foot-diameter copper alloy, six-bladed propeller.
He cast a quick glance at the deck, stacked with red, blue, and green shipping containers. In fact, the Jade Star was fully loaded with 8,465 twenty- and forty-foot shipping containers, including South Korean industrial pipe and fittings, washing machines, refrigerators, car parts, rubber tires, X-ray machines, and, strangely, seven hundred liters of human blood.
The ship was also illegally carrying three hundred tons of ethylene and other combustible chemicals, used in a variety of manufacturing applications. The legal restrictions for recommended storage and transportation precautions were ridiculous and prohibitively expensive relative to the cost of the chemicals themselves. He wasn't worried about their safety. As the ship's administrative officer, he was duty bound to be aware of such things. But if stopped and searched, he alone would be the person charged with the crime.
But all of that was of little concern at the moment. He was off the clock now, and couldn't give a damn about what they were hauling. His only concern was that his son's birthday was yesterday, and as far as he knew, his puta ex-wife hadn't bothered to give the boy the quadcopter drone he had sent him last week.
Loyola loved his life at sea, but he loved his six-year-old son even more. He was torn. It was the sea that had cost him his marriage, or so his wife said, blaming her whoring with every swinging dick in Lima on him not being around to satisfy her womanly desires.
ÁHija de puta!
He took a long drag on his Juul, then watched the breeze sweep the vapor cloud away into the darkness. If he didn't quit the sea, he might lose his son altogether. Besides, he hadn't had a pay raise in three years, let alone a promotion, and neither was on the horizon. He had thought about quitting many times, but as shitty as the non-union wages were, they were still better than anything else he could manage from a desk job back home in Peru. At least this way he could save up money for his son's future, even if he missed his son growing up.
He felt a dark despair falling back over him again and thought about the bottle of Golden Blue Korean whiskey he had stowed away in his cabin. His drinking had gotten worse this trip, and it was probably time to back off. His last fitness report by that maric—n captain had warned him about his drinking but that asshole didn't understand the pain he was feeling.
Loyola took another deep breath of salt air, and forced his mind to forget his troubles. For all of the pain of being a sailor, there was nothing like standing out on the bridge on a night like this. He'd sailed around the world a dozen times, and seen things on land and at sea that no civilian would ever see. Not bad for a street kid who used to hustle cigarettes and lottery tickets in the filthy Lima slums.
Loyola took another long, thoughtful pull. Yes, perhaps he would try to find some kind of job at the port, nearer the boy. Maybe even teach him how to play fœtbol, as his father had taught him. And with the money he'd already saved up, perhaps a house out in the country where the boy-
A thundering blast deep beneath the vessel threw Loyola to the deck, slamming his skull against the steel bulkhead. Stunned, Loyola crawled to his knees as the breaking hull tore apart with a scream of shattering metal. He was tossed against the rails of the bridge wing, cracking his ribs, but his desperate hands wrapped around the nearest post to keep from falling several stories into the ocean. The air filled with the wail of alarms and klaxons.
He tried to blink away the blood pouring into his eyes from the wound in his broken scalp. He watched in horror as the bow and six hundred feet of ship behind it broke away and plunged headlong into the sea. The rear section where he lay surged ahead, still under power, and crashed into the upended hull in front. Steel containers spilled out of their holds and into the water, and a dozen screaming crewmen along with them.
Secondary explosions ignited the incendiary chemicals, enveloping the shuddering wreckage in unquenchable fire. Within minutes the entire ship and its cargo were lost, sent plunging into the depths of the warm Pacific.
There were no survivors.
Jack stood at the bar of L'avi, his favorite restaurant in Barcelona. It was located in the El Born district of the old city, called the Ciutat Vella in Catalˆ, the language of Catalonia, the semi-autonomous region of Spain. It was also a locals' favorite, which was saying something, because catalanes really knew how to eat and drink, and did so quite often, late into the night.
Jack took another sip of sweet, red Spanish vermut. Van Delden's suicide was a distant memory, thanks to his time in Spain. It had been a week since Jack woke up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night reliving it. Now numbed to the horror of the Dutchman's excruciating death, Jack still couldn't help but wonder what kind of organization inspired that kind of fearsome loyalty.
Jack had loved his time in Madrid but he was utterly captivated by Barcelona. He could see himself living in this city, despite recent events. Spontaneous mass protests of hundreds of thousands of people had shut Barcelona down several times in the days before he arrived but lately all was quiet. Jack sensed there was still something in the air.
Most protesters favored Catalonian independence from Madrid, but not all. Independence wasn't the only issue. The rage that had driven freedom-loving people into the streets was the recent sentencing of Catalonian independence politicians to long prison terms by Madrid. Spain still lived under the long shadow of Franco's Fascist dictatorship. Though Spain was now a democratic republic, heavily armed riot police battling barricades of unarmed Catalonian civilians elicited hard memories from the earlier times. It was an emotional response, not a rational one, Jack thought, but modern politics was only about emotions in the Western world these days, including here.
The protests changed nothing. Madrid still held all the cards because it held the monopoly of force. Barcelona was a city on the edge of another eruption, which made it all the more interesting as a place to be.
At six-one, Jack's broad-shouldered frame towered over most of the locals who crowded the place at lunchtime, which throughout Spain lasted until at least three o'clock. The energy level in here was somewhere between a late-night disco and a rock concert.
Jack could hardly hear himself think above the din of excited diners jabbering away in a half-dozen languages, particularly Catalˆ-its own unique mix of Spanish, Italian, and French. Catalˆ was one of the many things that made Catalonia separate and distinct, which was why Franco had outlawed the language during his regime.
Jack had little more of the language than si us plau or grˆcies in his vocabulary, but even using those few words was enough to elicit a smile from appreciative locals, particularly those favoring independence from Madrid. If all else failed, Jack knew the words for the tapas he loved best-especially bombas and pa amb tomˆquet. In a worst-case scenario, a finger jabbed onto a menu item along with a smile would always do the trick.
Today was Jack's last day in Spain. Despite the highly social atmosphere, he was by himself. The life he lived as a covert operative wasn't amenable to long-term relationships, at least, not for him.
He'd seen the pretty blonde at the other end of the bar when he first came in, and saw her check him out. She wore no wedding ring and appeared to be by herself. She had a Bluetooth stuck in her ear and engaged in a very occasional conversation with someone on the other end of the call. Between shots of bubbly cava and bites of crispy croquetas de jam—n, she tossed subtle, sidelong glances at him in the mirror that stood behind the counter.
Even if she was interested in him, he was already packed for his American Airlines flight back home tomorrow. He only traveled with a laptop and a buffalo leather satchel crammed with a few days' worth of clothes. He preferred washing his things to throwing them out and buying new ones, unlike a famous fictional character he admired.
The only thing he needed to remember to grab in the morning was his dog-eared copy of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, which was the reason for his stop in Barcelona. He'd first read the book in college and its last, prophetic pages had haunted him for years. When Gerry Hendley told him to take a few weeks off after his last mission with The Campus in South Korea, he decided to revisit the idea of Spain, and in particular, the Spanish Civil War. He loved being an off-the-books operator for The Campus-the "black side" operations of the financial firm Hendley Associates, carrying out missions for the American government that otherwise couldn't be handled through normal channels.
But lately, Jack had been considering the words of an old Jesuit professor he'd bumped into in London a few years back. His subconscious was nibbling on the edges of an idea to go back to school and get his doctorate in history, just like his dad.
Nothing on this trip persuaded him to quit The Campus. The work was too important and too damned exciting. But he also had to admit he had been utterly captivated by his time in Spain and experiencing it through a historian's eyes, rather than through the green glow of night-vision optics while chasing tangos. It was one thing to read about a great historical city like Barcelona but something else altogether to stand inside a nine-hundred-year-old church with the bones of Crusader knights entombed beneath the stones at your feet.
He plopped the last of the glistening pimientos de Padr—n into his mouth. The small green peppers fried in olive oil and dusted with sea salt practically melted on his tongue. He seriously considered ordering another vermut but decided to just finish the one he had and pay the bill. The clock was ticking and he had a timed entrance ticket to the Picasso Museum, which was just up the narrow, medieval street of Carrer de Montcada. It was the last item on his list before leaving tomorrow.
He raised a finger to the passing server who set his check on the bar in front of him. Jack counted out the bills he needed to cover the tab along with a generous tip. He noticed he still had a few euros left in his wallet and decided to toss those into the tray as well. He didn't need euros in Virginia and the young server was working her ass off. God bless her.
His bill paid, Jack polished off the last swallow of his drink when he happened to catch a glimpse of a striking young African American woman as she edged her way into the restaurant, clearly looking for someone.
Jack couldn't believe it was her, after all these years.
They'd had a few senior finance classes together at Georgetown and, as often happened when two smart, attractive people spent a lot of time together, fell into an intense but brief relationship. RenŽe Moore was the most career-minded woman he'd ever met, and that was saying something coming from a household of highly accomplished Ryan women. But her mind was set on conquering Wall Street. She was perfectly gentle but crystal clear when she broke up with him: She wasn't looking to get married. Ever.
Jack hadn't seen RenŽe since they'd both graduated seven years ago. He had often wondered if she could have been the one who got away because she had so many of the qualities he most admired in women. But then again, her top priority was earning a Wall Street fortune. His wasn't. Jack believed in living for things worth dying for, and money wasn't one of them.
He'd actually thought of reaching out to her a couple of years ago for a Costa Rican banking project he was tackling as a "white side" analyst at Hendley Associates. Moore had a first-rate mind and an incredible work ethic. She would have been perfect for the gig. He'd even thought he might be able to convince her that things like duty, honor, and country were just as significant as making a billion dollars by the time she was thirty. But every time he thought about picking up the phone, he didn't. Most people's loyalties were only to their own ambitions. That didn't necessarily make them bad people. But if his dad taught Jack anything, it was that the only life worth living was a life of service to others.
And like the Man said, you can't serve two masters.
Above the din of happy diners, Jack shouted her name. She began searching the crowd until she spotted him, which wasn't hard, given his height. A luminous smile lit her up for a moment, then it turned to confusion as she made her way over to him, squeezing her five-foot-six frame next to him at the crowded bar. She reached up and gave him a hug.
- Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons; First Printing edition (June 9, 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 480 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593188063
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593188064
- Item Weight : 1.52 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.31 x 1.46 x 9.26 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #68,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The story seems to revolve around a gigantic plot hole -- it spends large amounts of time explaining all the lengths that go into lead character Jack Ryan Jr. goes to hide his identity...(because he's a 'secret agent' and his dad is the president...but then he uses his real name, the EXACT SAME NAME as the sitting President and not one of his new found allies, enemies, or people he crosses path with ever makes the connection that he's related to the President!!! Imagine a young spy checking into a hotel with the name William Jefferson Clinton Jr. and no one mentioning, asking, considering that he was the President's kid? I mean give him a cover name, you can even keep calling him Jack in the book, its a one line fix and it all makes sense.
Beyond that while Clancy always loved the use of technology, this author just invents more and more amazing tech devices to get his characters into or out of jams depending on the moment. It just feels lazy. Maybe these things got me feeling extra picky, but at one point in the book the author makes a reference to baseball and refers to the baseball term 'unforced error' -- I've loved baseball my entire life, and I've heard of errors, but never heard anyone refer to an 'unforced error'. Tennis has unforced errors, not baseball. Later he uses football metaphors (one of the lead characters is a former West Point football player) that seem even more forced.
Towards the end of his life Clancy collaborated with Mark Greaney and Grant Blackwood on a few books and they wrote the first few post-Clancy novels -- and I thought they were good. The series has now been taken over by Marc Cameron and Mike Maden and has taken a considerable downturn.
If you're a fan of Tom Clancy I suggest you go back and find your old copy of The Hunt For Red October and start the series over again, unless there is an author choice these books have run their course.
While on vacation in Barcelona, Jack Ryan Jr runs into an old friend at a café. After a brief and rather puzzling encounter between the two, Jack leaves and the restaurant explodes, killing his friend. Wondering at the timing of the explosion and just what Renee, his friend, was up to in Barcelona, Jack undertakes an investigation in the only way he knows how. With the help of a Spanish federal agent, Jack begins to dig into the mystery, slowly unraveling a plot that could destroy the world as we know it. Will Jack Jr be able to untangle the plot in time and survive shadowy and nefarious opponents?
After Mike Maden's last Jack Jr go-round, I was ready to leave the series for good. Absurd coincidence, superhuman Jack, and unneeded filler made for a decidedly mediocre product. However, I decided to give one more shot to the series, and I am glad I did. "Firing Point" is not only the best Jack Jr novel to date, but also one heck of a read in its own right.
The plot of "Firing Point" is timely and relevant, as you would expect from a Tom Clancy novel. There is a real sense of believability, and you will finish the book wondering if some of what you read is true, and if so, what the plot's ramifications might have in our own world. The level of research and detail in the book are superb, from describing locations, to weapons, to geopolitics. Author Mike Maden writes with a real sense of authority and ownership of the material. He makes the book his own, and quite effectively balances putting his own brand on things while still channeling what makes Tom Clancy novels great. I enjoyed the different plot threads, and how they came together to create an insomnia-inducing must-read finale.
The quality of writing is high, and flows very well; dialogue is very natural-sounding. The plot moves at a break-neck pace, and I was quite impressed with how tight the novel felt. While Mike did get some of his Rick Steves material in there, it felt much less like a waste of space than in previous entries. I was a tad frustrated by some of the overused plot devices recycled from earlier entries. For instance, we get Jack once again teaming up with a female who is interested in him romantically, and that concept is too worn by now. However, the book was so darn entertaining, I was able to look past some of the more fatigued material.
Mike Maden paints an effective portrait of Jack Ryan Jr. The character is becoming a more and more compelling figure in his own right, able to step out of his father's shadow. Jack Sr is also very well written, his wise experience an interesting equilibrium to Jack Jr's kinetic drive. I wouldn't have minded to see more of Jack's comrades from the Campus, but they do get a little screen time, which is better than nothing. The villain was a tad forgettable, but there was real sense of gravity around the seriousness of the plot, and some rather unexpected surprises along the way. Jack Jr is also much less of a John Rambo in this book than in others. He's portrayed as tough, but not a one man killing machine, making for a more realistic character overall.
Congratulations to Mike Maden for bringing me back into the Clancy fold. I was worried the series was digging itself into too deep a hole to ascend from, but with "Firing Point" Mike Maden has given us a great novel that is one-hundred percent deserving to bear the name "Clancy" on its cover. I'm delighted to report I'll be sticking around for the next book, and here's to hoping it's just as great.
The story follows a familiar formula. Jack stumbles into danger, the women is attracted to either betray him or die, in the end Jack triumphs.
Enjoy it for the mind candy it is.
I do like the insights given into Spain's Civil War and culture and how those things influence Spain today.
I strongly suggest that it is time to make Jack a more complete character (less in awe of his father and afraid of his mother) in order for the series to have any interest going forward. Jack Jr. just isn't interesting enough as he stands now to be compelling.
Top reviews from other countries
Lately many of the title that focus only on Jack Ryan Jr. seem like they were created on a factory floor; the same parts just moved around in a different order. This really is a disservice to Tom's memory. The man was a genius storyteller. The writers trying to carry on his legacy are going to have to try much, much harder.
You'll get more enjoyment from going back to Tom's original works of fiction. Now those are worth paying for and reading over and over. Failing that I suggest only going with new titles that feature the entire "Campus", which at least have enough characters to pull off the plot and keep you engaged.
Mike Maden makes a mess of it every time. As usual, the plot (and I use that term lightly) has holes big enough to drive a tank through. He seems to try to make too many sub-plots and then he never completes or winds up all of the issues in each so one is left with more questions than answers. He over-reaches on the abilities of a lot of the characters. One of my personal pet-peeves is his treatment of Gavin Biery. If you were to read this book first you would think the man a complete air-head with no back-bone when just the opposite is true. Over-all, I think he just tries too hard and fails miserably.
The next book in the series is being done by Marc Cameron and will be out in November. I am SOOO looking forward to that one to get the series back on track again.
To who ever is making the decisions on the writers going forward. Please, reconsider using Mr. Maden in future. I for one just won't buy any more done by him.