Tag Archives: Tom Clancy

“Executive Orders” by Tom Clancy

I recently finished reading Executive Orders, by Tom Clancy.

This was the longest book I’ve read in a while, at approximately 1,400 pages. It covered a lot of time and a lot of ground. It took me a while to really get into it, because it started off a bit dry. I can’t really say it started slow, because the very beginning of the book (or rather, the very end of the previous book in the series, which flows directly into this one) deals with a massive event, but the first few chapters, which deal with the fallout of that event, didn’t really grip me right away. I read a bunch of the book, then put it down for a while, but when I eventually picked it back up and read a bit further in, the politics and the spy drama began to get my attention.

I like that Clancy paints a world of politics and foreign policy that feels believably complex and realistic. Not having been inside the White House during international crises, I can’t really speak to the actual authenticity of the way Clancy writes it, but I’m definitely able to suspend my disbelief with Clancy’s writing. It doesn’t feel like a dramatized, simplified, dumbed-down narrative. He draws together a broad variety of factors and weaves them into an escalating series of events that feel like what happens in real life, where unforeseen circumstances interact in unpredictable ways.

It’s obvious, and always has been, that Tom Clancy is a conservative, and he writes his politics, economics, and international affairs accordingly. He provides right-wing solutions to a host of problems, and in his world, they tend to work. I’ve heard this pointed out as a criticism, and I don’t think that’s fair. Everyone writes from their own perspective. It’s only fair to grant Clancy his own angle on things, whether you agree with his approach or not.

All told, I wouldn’t necessarily say this was my favourite Clancy novel, but it’s one of the most diverse and ambitious ones I’ve read so far. Its mix of politics, terrorism, spy drama, and warfare won’t be for everyone, especially at over 1,400 pages, but it’s a worthwhile read, in my books. (Ha.)


I went back and forth between reading A Tale of Two Cities or Les Miserables next, but I’ve decided to go with Les Mis. It’s long, and some of it, I’m sure, will be a bit of a slog, but it’s been on my shelf waiting for me for a long time, and I have to get it done. Hopefully it won’t take me more than a few months.

“Without Remorse” Impressions

I just finished Without Remorse, by Tom Clancy. It’s about one of Clancy’s more regular characters, John Clark, and is essentially an origin story.

I enjoyed the book overall, though I wouldn’t say it was his strongest. It focussed more on low-level events and characters, rather than overarching plots and events, which was kind of neat, and somewhat similar to Patriot Games.

Some of the stuff that happens in the book doesn’t quite make sense, and seem a bit convenient, rather than character-driven. This is especially true in the first couple chapters and the last couple chapters. But it’s worth overlooking those things to get at the themes and morality questions that are involved.

One thing that did really strike me about Without Remorse is that it could be adapted into a really great movie, in my opinion. So just now I did a search for it, and lookie here. Could be interesting, if it happens!

I’d recommend reading the book, but you should read the books that were written earlier first, probably.

The Sum of All Fears – Impressions

I just finished reading The Sum of All Fears, by Tom Clancy. I’ve been reading a few of those, recently; I guess I’ve been on a spy thriller kick for a while, and ever since 24 ended I’ve had to turn elsewhere for my fix.

I read The Hunt For Red October first, then Patriot Games (which actually comes before Red October, in terms of series continuity), then The Cardinal of the Kremlin, and now The Sum of All Fears. I skipped Clear and Present Danger because a) I’ve read it before, and b) I don’t own a copy at the moment. I had to try to remember what the plot of that one was, for the sake of continuity, but there were enough clues scattered throughout Sum to remind me, luckily.

Of the four sequential Clancy novels I’ve just read, Sum is by far the largest and the most politically ambitious. Each of the novels has delivered great intrigue and action, but Sum does a fantastic job of tying a series of decisions, personalities, and accidents together into a plausible and very scary climax. He doesn’t pull his punches, either (which is one of the similarities I’ve noticed between Clancy and 24, outside of 24’s really disappointing final few episodes).

At over 900 pages, it’s not a quick read, but it’s a worthwhile one if you’re a fan of the genre.

But now that I’m finished, I have choose whether to continue with the series–Debt of Honor is on my shelf–or take a break and read something else for a while. Feel free to help me out:

What novel should I read next?

  • Emma - Jane Austen (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (42%, 5 Votes)
  • The Day It Rained Forever - Ray Bradbury (25%, 3 Votes)
  • Debt of Honor - Tom Clancy (33%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 12

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