Posts Tagged ‘ Tom Clancy ’

Where have you gone, Jack Ryan?

Its been a few years since Tom Clancy has released a complete novel. And almost as long since I’ve read any of his work. I pretty much gave up after suffering through Red Rabbit (to date the only book I’ve ever actually thrown away) and I remember recoiling in disgust at The Teeth of the Tiger – in which a group of young American patriots go on a murder spree through the capitals of Europe, joyriding in Ferraris and Porsches financed through insider-trading profiteering enabled by a massive quasi-Governmental wiretapping operation. (Oh, and those are the good guys.)

I’d read Rainbow Six not long after it was first published back in 1998, and while not as engaging as some of Clancy’s earlier work – I didn’t recall it being that bad.

I was wrong. Its appalling.

Consider the premise: A group of liberal environmentalists plan to wipe out the entire population of the earth through a genetically-mutated virus, distributed via aerosol sprayed cooling systems at the Sydney Olympic Games. Along the way this group manages to finance random acts of terrorism, including graphic child murder – as well as a virus-testing program that sweeps both homeless alcholics and dim-witted legal secretaries into a secret clinic where they are free to drink and fornicate. Their medical overseers plying them with copious amounts of narcotics and plague viruses. Really.

Clancy is tiresomely repetitive, and boringly cliched in his portrayals. In the Clancy-world people fall into three groups: Military/Cops/Spies/Medical Personnel (apart from medical personnel who are also environmentalists- see above) – all hardworking heroic patriots. Group two: Environmentalists/Discovery Channel/NPR viewers/former KGB operatives/ and random dim-witted ex-Baader-Meinhoff gang members: Vicious, child murdering psychopaths. And lastly, the general population: dim-witted patsies, who rely on a secret army of spies, torturers and murderers to keep them safe from the other group of spies, torturers and murderers.

I hear that Clancy is working on another novel. (Read about it on his blog, in between comments about the quality of the whisky he’s drinking these days.) The strange thing is, I can’t ever remember a serious journalist ever asking Mr Clancy if he ever felt any responsibility for the idea floated in his 1994 book Debt of Honor: You know, the one which ends with a crazed extremist crashing his plane into a landmark American building, killing thousands in the process.