Command Authority

Tom Clancy, Author, Mark Greaney, Author
Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney. Putnam, $29.95 (752p) ISBN 978-0-399-16047-9
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 12/03/2013
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In the entertaining final Jack Ryan novel from bestseller Clancy (1947–2013), Russian president Valeri Volodin has imperialistic ambitions similar to those of a certain real-life Russian president. Failure to annex Estonia thanks to unexpected NATO resistance only redirects Russian attention to the Crimea and other lands currently outside NATO's formal umbrella. Meanwhile, President Ryan's son, Jack Ryan Jr., investigates what appears to be an unrelated case involving Russian gangsters exploiting a corrupt system to steal a vast fortune. In fact, the opportunistic appropriation links the ambitions of a once-obscure KGB officer decades ago to the events unfolding in the Crimean region and to the early career of President Ryan himself. Although the military conflict is an important part of the plot, this is a classic spy novel. Fans of extended combat sequences should look elsewhere, as the focus is on high stakes espionage and assassinations carried out in rented rooms and dark alleys, not well-lit battlefields. (Dec.)