While loyal fans are still mourning the death of Tom Clancy, who died on October 1, 2013 from an undisclosed illness, they will be given the gift of one more book to read by the famed author, Command Authority which was released in December.

The book yet again features one of Clancy’s beloved heroes — President Jack Ryan, but he doesn’t come alone. The novel features a “cheat sheet” of the on-going story’s principals characters including the U. S. government (10), the U. S. armed forces (five), The Campus / Hendley Associates (eight), The British (seven), The Russians / Ukrainians (seven) and eight additional characters. (That’s a lot to keep track of!)

The political thriller was co-authored by Mark Greaney, author of the Gray Man novels. He has a degree in international relations and political science.

Though we try, buried secrets tend to rise up to the surface eventually. That’s the basis of this story.

Years ago, Ryan was a teacher at the U. S. Naval Academy. While on an overseas trip, he saved the life of the Prince of Wales. This landed him a job with the CIA as an analyst.

From there, the character has leap-frogged his way onto larger responsibilities including a routine task to investigate the death of an operative. The operative himself had been investigating questionable banking practices at a Swiss bank. While Ryan discovered the criminal financial dealings, he also learned of a KGB assassin, who went by the code name of Zenith. He however was not able to find the actual killer.

Fast forwarding to the present day, Russian republic president Valeri Volodin has risen in power. Not surprisingly, it isn’t all because of skills and good looks. Volodin has plans of restoring the country to its former “glory” as a political bully.

As with any good thriller, this character isn’t afraid of using lies and threats to get what he wants. Apparently, the cornerstone of his “personal empire” is based on a secret from long ago and Volodin is not shy about getting rid of anyone who threatens to expose this truth.

Suddenly, a friend of Ryan’s is poisoned and the suspicious path trails to Russia. Coincidence? Ryan’s quest for truth is passed on to his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., John Clark and the secretive Campus while he himself is battling a petition to fight off Russian aggression. What had started 30 years ago must come to an end.

Clancy has written 144 books which are listed on his publisher’s (Penguin Books) website. It is fitting that this latest book focuses on 30 years of Ryan’s legacy, as it was about 30 years ago that Clancy, an insurance broker in Maryland, wrote his first novel, The Hunt for Red October. At the time, President Ronald Reagan said that he thought the story was “the perfect yarn” which helps to catapult the novel to the New York Times bestseller list. 

The Chicago Tribune quoted fellow author Stephen Hunter as saying, “When he published The Hunt for Red October he redefined and expanded the genre and as a consequence of that, a lot of people were able to publish such books that had previously been unable to do so.”

Clancy is one of only three authors to have sold two million copies on a first printing in the 1990s (the other two being John Grisham and J. K. Rowling). Clancy’s 1989 novel, Clear and Present Danger, sold 1,625,544 hardcover copies!

Over the years, Clancy has received praise for his works including:

He constantly taps the current world situation for its imminent dangers and spins them into an engrossing tale. —The New York Times Book Review

Heart-stopping action … entertaining and eminently topical. —The Washington Post

Brilliant —Newsweek

Highly entertaining —The Wall Street Journal

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