In the Soviet hills of Dushanbe near the Afghanistan border, an otherworldly array of pillars and domes rises into the night. Between the USA and the Soviet Union, no contest is more urgent than the race to build the first missile defense system, and no one knows that more than the two men charged with assessing the Soviet's capabilities: Colonel Mikhail Filitov of the Soviet Union, an old-line warrior distrusted by the army's new inner circle of technocrats, and CIA analyst Jack Ryan, hero of the Red October affair. Each must use all his craft to arrive at the truth, but Filitov gets there first? And that's when all hell breaks loose. Because Filitov, code-named Cardinal, is America's highest agent in the Kremlin, and he is about to be betrayed to the KGB. His rescue could spell the difference between peace and war, and it is up to Jack Ryan to accomplish it.
©1988 Jack Ryan Enterprises Ltd. (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Heart-stopping action...entertaining and eminently topical." (The Washington Post)
"[Clancy] constantly taps the current world situation for its imminent dangers and spins them into an engrossing tale." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Cardinal excites, illuminates... A great listen." (Los Angeles Daily News)
Tom Clancy's writing is well researched and the scope of the story is incredible especially with many twists and turns the story takes.
The double agent Cardinal. The character's bravery in the face of execution was a brilliant concept.
I really felt for Cardinal when he passed away shortly after his rescue and defection to the United States.
This is my first foray into a Tom Clancy novel. I love the films based on his books, but until now, never thought I had the patience to sit through the written work. This one is a great read in terms of characters and story.
The major story centres around Cardinal, a Soviet double agent working to sneak secrets out of Russia to the CIA. There is also a plot that sees the USA and the USSR racing to complete their versions of a laser defence system. There are a lot of characters in the book, but they are all fully fleshed out and realised. Surprisingly, Jack Ryan himself takes a backseat for much of the story. As the title suggests, the book focuses a lot on Cardinal, and luckily he is a very likable character.
Now to the narration. One of the reasons I was hesitant to listen to the audio versions was that I had heard that Michael Prichard's narration was flat and boring. It is to an extent, but it wasn't bad enough that I had to stop listening. He doesn't have any range as a actor for different characters and when he does try to do different voices, he seems to just give up after about one sentence. The book would definitely have been better with an actual voice actor, but it was tolerable.
Not an essential part of the Ryan universe, in fact he's barely mentioned. The audio changes several times, clearly recorded at different points. There are some exciting parts, but overall I found it to be too long and a bit pointless. If you are a fan of the series then this one fills a gap, but don't worry if you miss this one out.
"Best so far for both story and narration"
Perfectly pitched gravitas in narration. Avoids caricature accents. Matches more evenly balanced storyline than predecessors.
"Gripping story, well read"
I've never been a fan of war books; normally they are filled with cliché and unrealistic story lines. This book conveys the breadth of the authors knowledge and an ability to create book that you don't want to end.
The narration is also performed well, not over done, just right.
"A bit of a snore"
Finished it, but didn't enjoy it. I never really connected with the characters, and to be honest, although I guess it was a reflection of the times, I found it a bit anti-gay. I'm scared to order any more from the Jack Ryan series now - Jack had a bit part in this novel, and overall it was just boring.
"It was ok"
Taking a long time to get into the book waiting for story night kickoff is really near the end of the book
Great novel and the narrator captured the mood and setting perfectly. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Really enjoyed it"
listening to the book 10 years after reading it was a nice surprise.. working my way through this excellent series.
"Usual Clancy novel - good for travel"
For those not used to Clancy's books, he writes what some call techno-thrillers, which are heavy on technical (usually military)/detail and authenticity. Those looking for character depth, subtlety, etc should look elsewhere. However for those who like a decent romp, with (reasonably) accurate depictions of military and espionage situations should give it a try.
For those who've read at least one before, this is an outing of a few familiar characters earlier on in the Jack Ryan series. If you read Red October and come across Mr Clark then it will make more sense, but it's not necessary.
It is starting to feel it's age - being set at the Star Wars (STI) phase of the Cold War arms race and during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. However it still has the usual Clancy style and the Afghan element and Russian/Soviet mindset is an interesting reflection on recent events.
All in all its worth your time if you have enjoyed books of the Clancy ilk.
There are a few editing issues with the sound and the levelling, but these aren't too bad and don't diminish the overall enjoyment.
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