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The Sum Of All Fears : Paperback – 2 Apr 1993


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Paperback, 2 Apr 1993
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Product details

  • Paperback: 1030 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Edition edition (2 April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006471161
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006471165
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 5.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Since the publication of The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy has established an unrivalled position as the world's leading thriller writer, with a string of million-selling novels and three major Hollywood films to his name. He is also the author of SSN and the non-fiction books Submarine, Armoured Warfare, Fighter Wing and Marine.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Once again, Tom Clancy manages to add new twists to the alternate U.S. history he initiated in The Hunt for Red October. In The Sum of All Fears, the centre of conflict is that perpetual hot spot, the Middle East, where a nuclear weapon falls into the hands of terrorists just as peace finally seems possible. Clancy realistically paints an almost unthinkable scenario--the bomb is planted on American soil in the midst of an escalation in tension with the Soviet Union; the terrorists hope to rekindle cold war animosity and prevent reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

Despite such a dramatic story line, Clancy doesn't neglect the individuals who drive his tale. Jack Ryan's problems are as much domestic as they are part of the international crisis that is the ostensible narrative: National Security Director Elizabeth Elliot has the president's ear, and she has convinced him that Ryan's ethics are questionable. She hints at marital infidelity and an insider-trading scandal. Of course, both accusations are false, but her arguments have enough evidence behind them (some photographs of an innocent embrace with a friend for example) to cause a strain in the Ryans' marriage and a flurry of media attention. While "Mr Clark" tracks the terrorists, he also provides some needed intelligence to heal the Ryan family.

The Sum of All Fears is the stuff of nightmares but contains enough verisimilitude to terrify sober minds. Ryan has developed into a complex protagonist, just as Clancy's writing has matured. Ryan is plagued by stress and self-doubts that test even his dauntless moral compass and make him a more interesting subject for readers' attention. Those fascinated by military hardware, from nuclear submarines to atomic weapons, will find almost enough here to start their own army. And Clancy's understanding of international politics seems chillingly correct. --Patrick O'Kelley

Review

From the reviews of The Sum of All Fears:

‘Another classic Clancy. His most successful book… assures his place at the forefront of modern thriller writers.’
Sunday Times

‘Clancy’s best book since The Hunt for Red October – a whiz-bang page-turner.’
New York Times


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Oct. 2001
Format: Paperback
I had previously read other Clancy Books and have everytime been amazed at the realism of the stories and quality of writing but this book broke the mould. This is an incredible book, i couldn't put it down and when i had to i was thinking about it. The character of Jack Ryan is taken into much more depth in this installment of the 'Jack Ryan series'. The real gem in this book though is that the story actually seemed so real it was frightening, Clancy perfectly describe the series of events which would lead to a nuclear crisis and the aftermath.
If you don't read any other book from Clancy, you have to read this one. Fans of the series will love it and newbies will be amazed (if not a little confused).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David from Birmingham on 11 July 2002
Format: Paperback
The last four hundred pages of this are fantastic; vintage Clancy with geopolitical intrigues, human frailties, military action and a classic hero in the form of Jack Ryan.
But the first 600 pages of the book are fairly heavy going - about three important plot lines are set up but unnecessarily slowly given the huge drama when they finally come to something in the finale; there's a lot of tedious technical stuff about submarines and nuclear physics which went way over my head; and a lot of readable but unexciting stuff which adds nothing much to either character or plot.
Also, Clark and Chavez are woefully underused, and when is the action supposed to take place? Apparently at least two years after Reagan and Bush (ie at least 1994), but with Russian troops in Berlin and the Soviet Union still intact (ie before December 1991). Twenty-first century hindsight doesn't do much for a book written in 1991 when the future was unclear. But the Israeli-Palestinian stuff, and terrorism in the US is more topical than ever.
So read this if you have a lot of time on your hands, and don't mind the slight tedium of the first half - the second part is well worth it, but if you want a good first Clancy and fantastic self-contained thriller then Red Storm Rising or the Bear and the Dragon are much more satisfying.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. Williams on 30 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
"Sum Of All Fears" is Tom Clancy at the pinnacle of his writing career.
In this book he brings together the political manoeuvering of "Cardinal ...", the action of "Red Storm ..." and the tension of "... Red October" in one book.
As usual, this one starts with a bang, then slowly builds again until around the page 600 mark, at which point things really get going. The tension towards the climax is breath-taking. I still find the book gripping after several reads.
While inevitably abridged and rewritten for the film starring Ben Affleck, most of the important elements were retained. Missing though was the Marvin Russell sub-plot and the Arab terrorists were downplayed in favour of Neo-Nazis. I strongly recommend anyone who enjoyed the film to try the original book.
What amazes me is that Clancy can write something as brilliant as this, or the equally excellent "Executive Orders", but then bring out the at-best average "Red Rabbit". I can only conclude that he has either lost interest, or lost his inspiration for good writing. He doesn't need the money (there can be fewer more financially successful writers) and might be getting bored with writing, or at least the 'Ryanverse'.
So, try something else. Come up with a new character, or do as was done in "Without remorse" and "Rainbow Six" - take an 'also starring' character and create a story around them. The Robby Jackson character might be a good possibility, but I would be tempted to go for someone who is a barely mentioned one instead. That way, there is little to constrain the plot and scope.
But, please, no repeat of "Red Rabbit". I doubt Clancy's success could be sustained if another poor effort like that was published.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By "rasam23" on 25 Feb. 2005
Format: Paperback
The Sum of all Fears is set after the Cold War has ended, but shows us that the danger of nuclear war won't go away quite that easily as terrorists attempt to provoke a war between the US and Russia. This continues a lot of the themes in Clear and Present Danger about the abuse of power and corruption. The book is well-written and the story well-told, but it isn't quite as good as Clear and Present Danger. The plot is obviously inspired by Black Sunday, it takes far too long for the main part of the story to kick off (the nuke) at times it comes close to soap opera with Ryan's family problems, but the author must be credited with making it interesting enough to make us actually want to see this thing through the end.
What's most surprising about this book, is how much it has dated, even more so than, say, Clear and Present Danger. This was long before 9/11. Basically, the book shows that without Soviet backing many terrorist groups would die out, one of the reasons why the villains in this book want to strike - they feel they have sacrificed comrades for nothing. Unfortunately, as we have all become aware, the Islamic ones never died out. In fact they've expanded. It wasn't Clancy's fault, but the book now seems a little overoptimistic.
Despite flaws, I would say this would rank behind Clear and Present Danger as one of the best of the series.
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