First exploring Tom Clancy's works in high school, the attention to detail was
overwhelming. Clancy meticulously researched his subject matter which showed
in the highly technical descriptions in his novels. The plots were intricate
as well. Red
Storm Rising was Clancy's first novel. It was an interesting World
War III scenario, climaxing in some US-Russian cooperation. At the time during
the Cold War, Clancy's ability to to make such a scenario plausible was extraordinary.
The pick of the bunch is The
Hunt for Red October, which was made into an excellent theatrical
The film is great, but the book is twice as good because there is at least twice
as much story. This book also introduced Jack Ryan, who became the centerpiece
of Clancy's books. Next was Patriot
Games, which entangles Jack Ryan with IRA terrorists and the British
royal family. The book is much more cerebral than the theatrical
Cardinal of the Kremlin was also a well-written novel about getting
a US spy out of Russia. John Clark made his first appearance in this book, which
is now outdated by the fall of the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, Tom Clancy's subsequent books got grittier, darker and less appealing.
and Present Danger made a better movie,
which says it all. The
Sum of All Fears, published in 1991, aimed at the Republican White
House, but his incompetent president turned out to foreshadow President Bill
Clinton. The plot has become much more gripping since 9-11.
of Honor tackled international economic conspiracies and computer
hacking, but was again lacking the edge of Clancy's earlier works.