During high school, I was a Tom Clancy fanatic. I was reading his early books as they were new and on the Best Seller lists (yes I am that old). Tom Clancy’s writing style is intense. He goes into incredible detail about his characters, military equipment and the political world. Nothing I had read to that point in my life even compared to his writing.
But after high school I went to college for a while then off to the military. I lost track of Clancy’s books. It wasn’t until much later, after being married and having a kid before I picked up another one of his books. By then several movies had been made from his books.
These days I listen to a lot of books via Audible. A few weeks ago I picked up the next book in the series just to listen to something different. Debt of Honor was what I bought. As usual it started out slow. Building on the existing characters and introduced new ones. Three-quarters of the way through the book, the main story seemed to be wrapping up. But then it happened, a HUGE plot twist and honestly I stopped the book upset. Not because of the plot twist. But because I was honestly disappointed by Tom Clancy for what he wrote. (Spoiler Alert) You see in the book a single airline pilot flies a fuel heavy jetliner into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress attended by most senior U.S. government officials, including the President. Seriously?! Why would Clancy use very similar events of 9-11 in a book as part of the plot?
But that wasn’t the case. Debt of Honor was published in 1994. Seven years before 2011. SEVEN YEARS!
There was a lot of press about this sometime back. I missed all of this.
- Tom Clancy: the writer who predicted 9/11 – Telegraph.co.uk
- Tom Clancy’s Powerful Foresight Into a Post-9/11 World – TheAtlantic.com
- 4 Real Life Events Predicted by Tom Clancy – Time.com
I finished the book. But ever since then I have wondered if back in the mid 1990s, there was a Tom Clancy fan in the Middle East. Who approached Osama Bin Laden and told them “Hey.. I have an idea”.
I’m still a huge Tom Clancy fan.
Tom Clancy’s Early Books
The Hunt for Red October (1984) – Amazon
Clancy’s first published novel. CIA analyst Jack Ryan assists in the defection of a respected Soviet naval captain, along with the most advanced ballistic missile submarine of the Soviet fleet. The movie (1990) stars Alec Baldwin as Ryan and Sean Connery as Captain Ramius. U.S, submarine commander Bart Mancuso is introduced in this novel, and nearly every subsequent book has Mancuso in ever increasing command of U.S. submarine forces. U.S. naval aviator Robby Jackson is also introduced, who later in the series succeeds Jack Ryan as President of the United States.
Red Storm Rising (1986) – Amazon
War between NATO and USSR. The basis of the combat game of the same name, this book is not a member of the Ryan story series (although a protagonist of the story has many similarities with Jack Ryan). Cowritten with Larry Bond.
Patriot Games (1987) – Amazon
Patriot Games chronologically predates the first book that Clancy wrote, The Hunt for Red October. Jack Ryan foils an attack in London on the Prince and Princess of Wales by the “Ulster Liberation Army”. The ULA then attacks Ryan’s Maryland home while he is hosting the Prince and Princess for dinner. The movie stars Harrison Ford as Ryan and Samuel L. Jackson as Robby Jackson.
The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988) – Amazon
The sequel to “The Hunt for Red October.” First appearance of John Clark and Sergey Golovko. Ryan leads a CIA operation which forces the head of the KGB to defect. Other elements include anti-satellite lasers and other SDI-type weapons, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Major Alan Gregory is introduced here. (He appears later, updating SAM software in The Bear and the Dragon). Colonel Bondarenko also is introduced here. (He appears in later books offering advice to Golovko in “Executive Orders” and commanding the Russian Army defenses against China in its sequel “The Bear and the Dragon”.)
Clear and Present Danger (1989) – Amazon
The President authorizes the CIA to use American military forces in a covert war against cocaine producers in Colombia. The operation is betrayed. Ryan meets John Clark as they lead a mission to rescue abandoned soldiers. Domingo “Ding” Chavez (Clark’s protege in later novels) is one of the rescued soldiers. The 1994 film stars Harrison Ford as Ryan, Willem Dafoe as Clark, and Raymond Cruz as Chavez.
The Sum of All Fears (1991) – Amazon
Arab terrorists find a nuclear weapon that had been lost by Israel, and use it to attack the United States. This nearly triggers a war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, due to the incompetence of the new President and his mistress with an anti-Ryan agenda. Ryan intervenes to avert the war. The 2002 film stars Ben Affleck as Ryan and Liev Schreiber as Clark, and changes the identity and motivation of the terrorists to neo-Nazis.
Without Remorse (1993) – Amazon
Without Remorse takes place during the Vietnam War, when Jack Ryan was a teenager. Ex-SEAL John Clark (then John Kelly) fights a one-man war against drug dealers in Baltimore, attracting the attention of Jack’s father Emmett, a Baltimore police detective. He also helps plan and execute a raid on a prisoner-of-war camp in North Vietnam. Clark joins the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Debt of Honor (1994) – Amazon
A secret cabal of extreme nationalists gains control of Japan (having developed some nuclear weapons), and start a war with the U.S. Ryan, now National Security Advisor, and Clark and Chavez, agents in Japan, help win the war. The Vice President resigns in a scandal, and the President appoints Ryan to replace him. A vengeful, die-hard Japanese airline pilot then crashes a jetliner into the U.S. Capitol during a joint session of Congress attended by most senior U.S. government officials, including the President. Ryan thus becomes the new President through succession.