Tag Archives: Tom Clancy

“Eye Of The Needle”, By Ken Follett

It does not happen very often but I seem to be going back to Ken Follett again and again. I am probably finding it difficult to start a new author and Follett is still keeping me interested. “Eye of the Needle” is very typical world war II fiction story that seems very plausible and has all the elements of fast paced thriller. A German spy in England with whole might of MI5 behind him, Hitler waiting for most important information from the spy and Churchill waiting to make sure that information is not delivered. He almost succeeds in his mission but for the courage of lonely woman on storm island.

It is a story of ruthless German spy Henry Faber who has managed to evade MI5 for a long time and this time manages to get the most crucial information that could jeopardize final attack from allied forces. He is on the run with MI5 behind him and manages to reach “Storm Island” where Lucy lives with her crippled husband and son. Lucy is attracted to him but eventually realizes the truth and acts as hero in saving the war for England. In any such spy thriller chase, it is always lots of hard work for police forces but there is also a lot of coincidence and good luck that ends up working in their favor. Of course everybody likes a good ending.

I have not read this kind of thriller for some time and it reminds me of authors like Alistair Maclean, Frederick Forsyth and Tom Clancy. This is the first book of Follett I have read that is not steeped in history but is pure fictional thriller. It is quite enjoyable for a change but I think I like him more when I read historical fiction from Follett. Looks like a movie was also made based on this book and I should see that one. The book reminds me of Indian movie “Fanaa” as well.

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“Command Authority”, By Tom Clancy With Mark Greaney

There is nothing better than Tom Clancy when you are looking for a fast paced thriller and “Command Authority” does serve the purpose. This is the last book by the author and was published after his death. In some of his previous Jack Ryan books, the author had moved from projecting Russia as prime enemy of United States to China and terrorism. In this book he returns back to old school of United States versus Russia.

The story revolves around power struggle in Russia that has deep roots in last days of communist rule. Some of the old characters have come back to power in Russia and are now using war, propaganda and deception to bring the country back to its lost glory. Ukraine becomes the symbol of this struggle with forces pulling it in both directions. There is also lot more focus on international financial crimes and how it aids war, corrupt governments and businessmen.

As with the past few books, now there are two Jack Ryan’s (father and son) fighting the enemy in their own different ways. I really liked the part where Jack Ryan Jr is researching the world of International finance and how his research leads him to information in unravelling the plot and provides his father a key to fight the enemy.

As with other Tom Clancy books, the story here is current with world events even though it is a work of fiction. Most importantly, he has stuck with his main characters of Jack Ryan, his family, his security team, his cabinet and the members of campus. While reading the story you do not feel that the author was writing it as his last book. It feels that he would have gone on with these characters for more amazing stories. We will never know now what those stories were. It is truly an end of an era of Tom Clancy’s books.

I chose to write about this book since I read it recently but I will come back with more on some of the earlier books as well.

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“Dead Or Alive”, By Tom Clancy With Grant Blackwood

“Dead or Alive” is another on the edge thriller by author Tom Clancy. The cover also says that he has written it with Grant Blackwood but the style and writing is purely Tom Clancy in this book as well. I have now read many of his books and he never fails to impress me with the fast paced and over the edge drama and thriller. His heroes are always American though the face of enemy has changed over the years. In his earlier books fight was always against Soviet Union or IRA or Columbian drug mafia but in past few books he has changed to include China and International terrorism as new enemies of state. That way he is reflecting the current reality of the world as we see it today.

In this book, it is the secret spy organization that was created by ex-President Jack Ryan which is at the forefront of war against terrorism and unknown to the father his own son is spearheading the efforts of this organization in tracking down some of the most wanted men. This book also brings back all the characters that he has created over the years in different books. Many of them join this secret organization and many of them are part of CIA but help in this cause outside the Governments authority.

The story also tries to expose the rift in the political establishment on handling of such issues. It is the battle of practical versus political that has been highlighted in the book. When I read his books, I wonder whether he gets his inspiration from real-life events or whether he ends up giving inspiration to bad men of the world. I hope it is the former.

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“The Bear And The Dragon”, By Tom Clancy; Jack Ryan Series

This is another of Tom Clancy’s political thriller with the main character as Jack Ryan. The scale of this book was enormous and almost presenting the evolving power equations in the world. The books by Tom Clancy even though fictional are written with such details and plausibility that you almost forget that it is fiction.They almost read as war room scenarios that some experts are sitting and predicting based on the data that they have today and trying to figure out how situations will evolve.

“The Bear and the Dragon”, presents a similar scenario where Russia is coming out of economic crisis by the discovery of oil and gold deposits in Siberia and is becoming increasing closer to US, but China is developing imperialistic plans to handle its own economic crisis and is clinging to communism more strongly than ever. Eventually, it results in war between China and Russia with US and NATO forces helping Russia. It also shows the threat of nuclear war and use of ICBMs. The book is usually fast paced and I have always liked the character of Jack Ryan who is shown as President of United States in this book.

There are some other interesting sub-plots. One is about strict enforcement of one-child rule in China and how it results in violence. In another sub-plot an US spy befriends secretary of Chinese political leaders and is able to provide crucial information back home. Even though I have liked his books for the kind of detailed information they provide, I have also felt that it is very heavily biased by the western view of world.

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“Patriot Games” By Tom Clancy; Jack Ryan Series

I was in mood for some fast paced action thriller and what better than Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series books. I became his fan after reading “Executive Orders” where Jack Ryan becomes US president. Patriot Games is chronologically the first book in this series even before “The Hunt for the Red October”. In this book the fight is against Irish terrorist group who tries to kidnap British Royals and Ryan manages to save them. Now the terrorist group  is after Ryan and his family and strike against him twice in US.

In this book there is less of intelligence work shown by Ryan and there is more of fight sequence where he directly gets involved in terrorist operation. In later books he is shown to be doing more of intelligence analyst work. The story is more on predictable lines with lot of details about plans, police work, intelligence gathering and fight sequence. In the end Ryan manages to escape and saves the Royal family again and all the terrorists are arrested and are put on trial.

I liked the sequence where Ryan’s interaction with Royals is shown. When he is interacting with Queen then he is a different character but when he is interacting with Prince, he actually talks to him man to man and helps the Prince to come out of gloom. Another important aspect is details on policing and investigating work. Sometimes police gets lucky with some information but then they do real comprehensive work to nail the culprits.

I got to know that even this book was made into a movie. I wonder how that movie will be.

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