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Threat Vector
By Tom Clancy, with Mark Greaney
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Threat Vector
Large Print Edition
By Tom Clancy, with Mark Greaney
Large Print Press, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-5941-3668-9
Genre: Techno-Thriller

Reviewed by Boris Segel - December 9, 2013

Tom Clancy passed away suddenly on October 1, 2013. He left behind a legacy of action-packed thrillers that are sure to enthrall audiences for generations. His 'Jack Ryan' series is especially noteworthy, with the fifteenth book in series being Threat Vector. Originally released in standard print in December of 2012, Threat Vector was followed by the standard print release of Command Authority in December of 2013. (Information on when, or if, a large print edition of Command Authority is in the works has not yet been released.) This last, and sixteenth book in the series, was a joint venture between Clancy and Mark Greaney, who also shared the writing credits in Threat Vector. With Clancy's death, will Command Authority mark the end of the series? Or will Mark Greaney, or some other author, continue with the series? At this point it is just a guessing game if the series will continue without the input of Tom Clancy.

As you would expect with any book in the Jack Ryan series, this is an action-packed story filled with exacting details of weapons, technological gadgets, and a bevy of subplots swirling around the main story line. In Threat Vector, we find that Jack Ryan senior has been reelected as President of the United States, and his son, Jack Ryan Jr. is still working with the "Campus" as an analyst/secret agent/assassin, et al.

As the story opens, China is facing a political shake-up and a possible coup that could overthrow President Wei Zhen Lin. The Chinese president does an end-run around the opposition by raising the specter of war. Now China seems bent upon proving that they are the leading super power in the world. To this end, they are threatening the U.S. by flexing their military might and by making a crippling cyber attack on America. As tension ratchet up, the Chinese military begins preparations for an invasion of Taiwan.

At the same time, Jack Jr. and his team are off on a mission to assassinate a group of Libyans' who had been members of Muammar al-Gaddafi's feared Jama-hiriya Security Organizations. In addition to terrorizing Libyans, the JSO operatives that had survived the fall of Gaddafi had set themselves up as spies for hire, and were continuing to wreck havoc around the world. The members of the Campus were out to stop them - permanently.

The story also involves some Russian elements, a tinge of blackmail, a mysterious hard drive that keeps getting passed around, and much more. In addition, good 'ol John Clark is starting to get up there in age and is talking about retirement!

These are just a few of the plot points that are presented at the beginning of this novel. Things just get more complicated and interesting as the story unfolds. As usual with the Jack Ryan books, you can expect lots of action, lots of technological details, and a complicated story line. While I found the story interesting, and I made it all the way through, this was not one of Clancy's best...

It has seemed to me that ever since
The Bear and the Dragon, the series has been going downhill, and the more that the stories tend to focus on Jack Jr., the weaker the stories seem to have become. This is not to say that any of them are necessarily bad. It is simply that these later books, along with Threat Vector, simply does not live up to the high standards set by Clancy's earlier books such as Hunt for Red October and The Cardinal of the Kremlin. This is not to say that the book is unreadable, just that is does not pack the wallop of his earlier books. In addition, you can tell that Clancy probably had a light hand in the writing of the book. There are a number of little problems, such as the book stating that Jack Jr. Is Ryan's oldest child, when in the canon of the story, Ryan's oldest child is a daughter named Sally. The book also mentions Jack Jr.'s brothers, when in the story line, Jack Jr. does not have any brothers. Little things like this, while not really detracting from the story, still manage to be jarring to old time fans of the series that know the Ryan family like the back of their hand. More care should have been taken in the writing and editing of the book to ensure that these little annoyances were corrected.

While I cannot give Threat Vector my unreserved endorsement, I will recommend it to die-hard fans of the series, and to anyone looking to read an action thriller whose story line may well be a future newspaper headline! As long as you don't go into the story expecting a Clancy masterpiece, you should find it engrossing enough to keep turning the pages and spend a few hours getting lost a good action story.

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