I started reading Tom Clancy’s novels almost by accident, having picked up a paperback copy of The Sum of All Fears while enduring a lengthy layover at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport some twenty-odd years ago. A few pages in, I was hooked: How could you not love a book with suspense, international intrigue, high-level politics, and an atomic bomb-based terrorist plot?
It didn’t take me long to catch up on all of Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels and wait for new ones, each one packed with obsessive amounts of military and technical detail, not to mention Scary Ideas. Clancy’s novel Debt of Honor (1994) ended with a pilot using
an airliner as a flying bomb, kamikaze-style, to take out the U. S.
Capitol and most of its occupants... a fictional attack that seemed
eerily prescient following the events of September 11, 2001.
I got all the way up to Teeth of the Tiger (2003) before I ran aground. It was a small factual error - insignificant, really - having to do with a character’s having a 1948 silver dollar. But I knew that there is no such animal, so with the thinnest of reasons my suspension of disbelief went straight down the toilet.
Among Clancy’s prodigious output are two books in the Jack Ryan series: The Bear and the Dragon (2000) and Red Rabbit (2002). It would have been especially amusing had he elected to combine the two volumes into a single mash-up tome: The Bear and the Rabbit.
“Why, Jack - how is it that your suit stays so nice and clean?”