A Review of Tom Clancy’s Clear and Present Danger
Tom Clancy knows how to make sure his novels are consistently full of suspense, and Clear and Present Danger is no different. The first half of the book is exciting enough to keep the reader entertained while setting the stage and cleverly introducing all the characters. The second half is a whirlwind of activity, leaving readers breathless and on the edge of their seats. This rather long work starts with the president of the United States taking a firm stand on the war on drugs after a personal friend is among three top officials killed by Colombian drug lords.
Is Red Tape Really Always Necessary?
The unnamed president in this novel works with his national security advisor to devise a plan in which they take on the cartels deep within the jungles of South America. While the strategy seems not to be exactly within the scope of the law, the emotionally charged president decides to go ahead with the plan, leading to complete (but very well-articulated) chaos. The protagonist, Jack Ryan, is caught in the middle as more American officials are killed during negotiations with the Colombians. At the same time, American troops are blowing up cartel locations in the jungle, and people are getting killed in the streets as another intricate part of the plot unfolds—someone in the cartel is plotting a hostile takeover and is causing intercartel fighting.
Amidst all this death, Ryan finds himself in a precarious position, once he begins to play a significant role in the story. Incidentally, special forces operator John Clark plays a somewhat bigger role in the book than Ryan. John is a bit of a crazy character who was some kind of vigilante before being recruited by the CIA. After the president finally pulls the plug on the operation, a group of American soldiers are left stranded behind enemy lines and it is up to Ryan to save them.
It’s About Conscience, Law, and Politics
Throughout the novel, Ryan relentlessly pursues justice, even if it means taking on those in charge. One of the characters points out at one point that taking action against the cartel’s processing plants would hardly put a dent in the cartel’s operations, leaving a challenging question of whether the collateral damage involved is justified or not. It is made abundantly clear, though, that there is no magic bullet or clear solution to the problem of drug cartels and their influence on America.
Keeping It Real, As Always
Clancy’s trademark depth and realism are ever more apparent in this book. The amount of effort that he clearly must put into researching facts for the plot is astonishing. The South American intrigue is plausible, and the details about clandestine operations seem feasible. This captivating and action-packed story is not only highly entertaining, but is also backed up by solid background information, which really makes the reader ponder whether or not fiction may be so far removed from fact.