Novels for the Big Boys: My Top 5 Tom Clancy

I stood behind a bush with my gun, heart beating fast but alert and was ready to spring on the enemy. From my vantage point, I can see some of the members on my team, safely hidden from sight. Then someone started to say “fire” and chaos ensued. Everyone came out of their hiding spots and shootout began.

We won of course and there, my precious childhood memories. A girl playing war games with boys – one team as enemy and the other as soldiers. Complete with makeshift guns and grenades.

I played top, marbles and run around with the boys. Then play doll, cooking and house with the girls. Who said a girl can’t play on both worlds?

My fascination for guns, subs and fighter planes transended a little to watching war movies, playing basketball at arcades and reading Tom Clancy novels.

The detailed description by Tom Clancy of the battle while infusing it with drama and the technicalities of war and machines may never be surpassed in my lifetime. That and his espionage plots.

From his cold war backdrop where he became known, he upgraded to the 21st century war.

…this is heavyweight entertainment

~ Publishers Weekly

When he died, I looked at my collection and felt that sense of denial and loss. A great author that makes one afraid to look at tomorrow’s paper is gone but his legacy – his works, will remain close to my heart.

Salute to the men and women who are men enough to read a Tom Clancy.

Here is my top 5 Tom Clancy, each having their own allure:

1. Executive Orders, 1996

This novel came as a huge suprise and somehow a premonition to the 9/11 attack. It’s one of those rare occasions when fiction becomes reality but instead of politicians, it was civilians who died on that fateful day. This is my favorite of the Jack Ryan series.

The novel opens with Jack Ryan being sworn in as President of the US minutes after becoming Vice President. With nearly every executive, legislative, and judicial figure deceased after a disastrous bombing.

The newly elected president is faced with a new kind of war brewing in the middle east. They call themselves UIR. They sound like ISIS with a different name.

President Ryan sends my favorite agents, Ding Chavez and John Clark into the UIR to assassinate its head honcho. After showing the destruction of Daryaei’s residence during a televised press conference, Ryan threatens to launch a tactical nuclear strike on Tehran unless those responsible for the U.S attacks are extradited to the U.S. to face charges.

Alas, the challenge on President Ryan’s legitimacy fails in court and he hinted on a re-election.

2. Command Authority, 2013

This became Clancy’s last novel to be published while alive, he co-wrote with Mark Greaney and for me a spoiler on Putin’s course of action on the Crimean stand-off last year.

In the novel, the Russian Federation formerly USSR has a new President, Valeri Volodin. His ambitions are to usher Russia into a new age reminiscent of the days of the Soviet Union.

President Jack Ryan must oppose Volodin and his interventions in Estonia, and with Russian plans on invading Ukraine, Volodin must be stopped. Sergey Golovko, former chairman of SVR, was assassinated by a radioactive agent with links to the Seven Strong Men and a Cold War mystery that Ryan himself was involved in when the Berlin Wall was still standing.

To solve this mystery, Ryan and the Campus race to solve a mystery before a new Cold War begins.

3. The Bear and the Dragon, 2000

It’s the Chinese against the US and its allies. The steady growth in terms of war armaments of China is indeed a great concern for us, her neighboring countries. This novel is China now and the future.

In the novel, China plans to invade Siberia and its neighboring countries like Russia. This prompted an alliance between Russia and the US via Sergey Golovko’s connection to Pres. Ryan. They had onced aimed a gun at each other in the past.

The US persuaded NATO to accept Russia and China’s ambition to expand its territories and exploit the natural resources of her neighbors was twarted – for now because in reality as of 2015, its a reality.

However, in the novel the ending was unlikely, with China transitioning from a communistic government to a democratic one.

A wishful thinking but who knows? Someone may rise from within and throw away decades of communistic ideas and embrace democracy.

4. Without Remorse, 1993

The backdrop of the novel is the Vietnam War and Baltimore with John Kelly/John Clark in the limelight. This is where his background and history was told. It also explained how he became John Clark. His past was poignant that it brought me to tears.

As a CIA operative, he was sent to Vietnam to rescue Prisoners of War (POW’s) and got back to Baltimore to deal with the gang who killed his girlfriend. She was previously a mule for the gang whom he rescued.

His life evolved onced again when he met his last love.

5. The Hunt for Red October, 1984

The story follows a CIA analyst leading a covert group of US Naval officers to steal a cutting-edge Soviet nuclear submarine from 26 defecting Soviet officers, and the intertwined adventures of Soviet submarine captain Marko Aleksandrovich Ramius and Jack Ryan, former Marine turned CIA analyst.

After some mind puzzles and games, Ryan was able to convince the big men of CIA and his deduction that the crew of Red October is defecting was proven right.

The race to save the crew before Russia can sink the Red October with its crew is on.#



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