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The Bear and the Dragon
By Tom Clancy

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The Bear and the Dragon

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The Bear and the Dragon
Large Print Edition
By Tom Clancy
Random House Large Print, (2000)
ISBN: 0-375-43069-5
Genre: Techno-thriller

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - April 5, 2001

Jack Ryan is an all-American hero: smart, rich, handsome, a loving husband, and a doting father. Now, in Tom Clancy's eighth book featuring Jack Ryan, Ryan is finally president in his own right after winning a sweeping election. Being president is not a role he is finding enjoyable. When Ryan was a CIA operative, he was a man of action. As president, he must sit back and let others do all the 'dirty work'. The Bear and the Dragon reintroduces most of the major players from the past Jack Ryan novels. If you've never read any of them before, you should not find this one hard to follow as details about Ryan's past encounters with these individuals are seamlessly interwoven into the story line.

The Bear and the Dragon is a multi-faceted tale dealing with just about everything from American politics, spying, the Russian economy, Chinese population control, assassinations, to the power of the people to influence political decision making, and of course, terrorism. However, the main focus of the book revolves around China's need for oil and hard currency in order to supply their own needs and to emerge as a major player in the global economy. Their problem is, to get oil, they need money, and their economy is almost bankrupt. When Russia stumbles across a vast oil reserve in Siberia, and an enormous gold strike, China begins to covet their neighbors new found wealth, with dire consequences for the world.

This book covered a lot of ground, and had some exciting moments, especially toward the end. Unfortunately, however, this book was not up to Clancy's normally high standards. It seemed to me that Clancy rushed through the writing, or at least the editing process, and did not spend as much time tightening up the plot, and his prose, as he usually does. Although there are some flaws in The Bear and the Dragon, it is a diverting read. It was interesting to see how many of Ryan's old acquaintances, and nemeses, Clancy managed to weave into the tale. It is also a must for anyone who has been following the Jack Ryan saga, if for no other reason than just to keep up to date with an old friend. And, like all of Clancy's other books, this one has your quota of shootings, explanations of new weaponry and 'James Bond' type spy gadgets, and modern espionage techniques. There is also the compulsory 'on the edge of your seat' finale, as you anxiously wait to see if the world will survive the encounter between China, Russia, and Russia's ally, the United States.

Be forewarned, this book contains excessive levels of offensive language, explicit sexual content, and racist comments (primarily against the Chinese) that will be offensive to many readers.

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