Dead or Alive

Tom Clancy became famous for writing books centred around his character Jack Ryan (Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, ETC.) It has been seven years since the last book in what is known as the ‘Ryanverse’ but the wait is now over. Dead and Alive is Clancy’s latest addition (with the help of Grant Blackwood) and though I was happy to delve back into the familiar characters I was disappointed by the book. There was nothing wrong with the plot though I felt it could have been tighter with less superfluous scenes which I felt did not add to the overall plot or character development. What was most frustrating was the artificial way that all the main ‘good’ characters from the previous books all seem to independently end up at The Campus working together. It all felt a little forced. Clancy’s books have never been as good since the cold war ended and terrorism became the antagonist. There are only so many books you can write about terrorism before it become slightly repetitive or silly. (For example, eco-terrorism in Rainbow Six). The books have never been as good since Jack Ryan Jr. was introduced as he just isn’t as interesting as his father while being too similar of a character. One of Clancy’s strengths which carried through to this book is the depth of his research. He goes into quite a bit of detail into the central plot points and really pulls you along with the in-depth knowledge. For example in Sum of All Fears when the terrorists were building a nuclear bomb it really felt like it could have been a step by step guide. I won’t eagerly anticipate the next book by Clancy but after some amazing books and years of enjoyment I will definitely read the next Ryanverse book when it comes out.

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