“Undoubtedly Clancy’s best yet.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

For some time Tom Clancy was my favourite modern writer, Debt of Honor was the first of his I read around twenty-five years ago. It was clear at the end of it that there was to be a follow up, so as soon as Executive Orders was released I bought it in hardback. Both have read at once more since then, so that should tell you something.

I have now read both for the third time, with The Bear and the Dragon to follow soon enough. Why have I read them again? Well, blame Netflix, I do. You see, we were flicking through the menu looking for something new to watch and Came across Designated Survivor, so we decided to give it a go. If you haven’t seen it, a huge explosion wreaks the Capital Building in Washington DC forcing a reluctant minor political figure to take on the President post. I mentioned to Jan that Clancy had beaten them to that story line years ago, and that got me the urge to read Debt again.

Debt of Honor then, sees Jack Ryan called back to government service as the security and intelligence advisor to the current POTUS. Soon enough various calamities hit the US, one of which is a car smash that kills an off duty cop and his family, apart from a baby who is rescued from a blazing car by a trucker. Although the cars are assembled in the US the components are all Japanese manufactured, who has just refused to licence the making of the fuel tanks to the US. The huge fire was caused by the Japanese made fuel tank rupturing.

One after another more events push the US along what looks like a planned route, but not planned by the US. Wall Street comes under attack and then the computers that record to the days actions fail and lose all their from the failure meaning that on-one knows how much money they actually have. The US Navy and Japanese Navy. Both fleets pass each and as the do so, two torpedoes are fired from a Japanese destroyer, one at Enterprise, one at John Stennis, two large aircraft carriers. It later comes out that two fast attack subs are also sunk by Japanese subs, again after the exercise was over. Following that Japanese forces take possession of a number of Pacific islands. An undeclared war as begun.

While all this was going on, the Indian Navy was performing major exercises in the Indian Ocean while preparing the amphibian ships for a landing somewhere, possibly Sri Lanka. So what is all that about, the Yanks wonder. To find out to prevent any possible move on Sri Lanka, a carrier group is keeping wary on eye them. The outcome is that the US have no air cover in the Pacific. Is it possible that India and Japan are working together here?

The whole story moves along a good pace to climatic ending. Whew, what a tale! You will probably not be surprised that I still like that book and the follow-up. Clancy researches he life out of his references and explains a lot of the back-ground information regarding the political and military side of things. It is those explanations that make so much of Clancy’s writing so good. The research alone makes it a good read. It’s 900 pages are needed to tell the whole story, and it fairly races by. I’m not sure if it is still available to buy new, my copy came a charity shop. Even if it can be found new, it’s well worth the price of buying it.

Now we move on to the follow up, Executive orders …

Jack Ryan is POTUS (President of the Untied States). Jack has a huge task on his hands trying to for form a whole new government. He and his family have moved in to the White House, as comfortable as the House, neither Jack or his wife Cathy are really comfortable there. The game overseas games continues on, except that it’s India, Iran and China who are the baddies this time. India is again playing silly bs in what they claim is their ocean, The Indian Ocean. Now why is that? Well Enterprise and John Stennis are still in drydock, the Aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean is moving away to conduct exercises with the Australian Navy. The US has the full kit of an armoured brigade stored on board a number of logistic ship based at Diego Garcia. All the need is the soldiers to drive them off and head for the battle front.

The Iraqi President is shot dead by of his body guards and is immediately killed by his colleges. Iran steps up to help the Iraqi people, long since been starving and the first thing Iran does is to take in loads of bread. At the same time China is getting frisky and move its navy out into the Formosa Strait for surprise exercise. Their aircraft make feints towards Taiwan, Taiwan reacts and shots down two Chinese fighters. During the free for all, one missiles seems to go astray and airliner is shot down with the deaths of over 100 people are killed, including fourteen Yanks. Next move is Iran declares a new state, the United Islamic Republic and sends two corps of armoured cavalry in the Iraq. The two being exercises with their new colleges, and it all goes well. All comms go quiet in the forces. The US has Predator drones flying over the area to keep an eye on things and notice that every track vehicle is getting new tracks ready for extended movements.

Jack has enough on his plate with two major issues on t’ther side of the world you may have thought, but oh no … Ed Kealty, the Vice President that Jack replaced is causing problems on the home front by claiming Jack is not President because he, Kealty hadn’t resigned, therefore he is President, not Jack. Meanwhile, a number of men arrived in the US and disperse countrywide to attend various trade shows. Ebola rises its ugly head, quickly followed by an attack on Jack’s youngest daughter while she’s at school. Are all these incidents a coincidence? Don’t be daft, they are not but you will need to read the book for yourself to find out how and why, and of course, why and who is behind it all. Oh yes, none of the above will spoil the fun of reading all 1300 pages of it.

Again, Clancy’s work on details come to the fore, a master story teller and a bit of a prophet too, by naming Iran as major world problem, not that we really needed it of course. The action scenes are well set out and descriptive, the dialogue is tight, (unlike my ramblings), and daft as it sounds but I can see his love for his characters and in writing as too. This ‘matched pair’ of books are concluded with this one, even if there are two more to follow, both which are in my TBR pile. They can wait for now though. As I said at the top, Clancy was my favourite modern writer, was, because he died a few years back. His legacy of novels is long, but he seemed to lose his way after Red Rabbit and after that he began teaming up with other writers. I read the first one and gave up after that. Now of course, there are new novels coming out with his name across the top thereby giving the impression that he was involved. That to me is big NO-NO. These two books I’ve written about here will sit on the shelf ready for reading again at some time in the future. So then, come on my delightful readers, give these a go, hey.

 

Reviewed by:

Ron Clark

Added 13th July 2018

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Ron Clark