The Bear and the Dragon Paperback – 30 Aug 2001
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Power is delightful, and absolute power should be absolutely delightful--but not when you're the most powerful man on earth and the place is ticking like a time bomb. Jack Ryan, CIA warrior turned US president, is the man in the hot seat, and in this vast thriller he's up to his nostrils in crazed Asian warlords, Russian thugs, nukes that won't stay put, and authentic, up-to-the-nanosecond technology as complex as the characters' motives are simple. Quick, do you know how to reprogramme the software in an Aegis missile seekerhead? Well, if you're Jack Ryan, you'd better find someone who does, or an incoming ballistic may rain fallout on your parade. Bad for re-election prospects. "You know, I don't really like this job very much," Ryan complains to his aide Arnie van Damm, who replies, "Ain't supposed to be fun, Jack."
But you bet The Bear and the Dragon is fun--over 1,000 swift pages' worth. In the opening scene, a hand-launched RPG rocket nearly blows up Russia's intelligence chief in his armoured Mercedes, and Ryan's clever spooks report that the guy who got the rocket in his face instead was the hoodlum "Rasputin" Avseyenko, who used to run the KGB's "Sparrow School" of female prostitute spies. Soon after, two apparent assassins are found handcuffed together afloat in St. Petersburg's Neva River, their bloated faces resembling Pokémon toys.
The stakes go higher as the mystery deepens: oil and gold are discovered in huge quantities in Siberia, and the evil Chinese Minister Without Portfolio Zhang Han San gazes northward with lust. The laid-off elite of the Soviet Army figure in the brewing troubles, as do the new generation of Tiananmen Square dissidents, Zhang's wily, Danielle Steel-addicted executive secretary Lian Ming, and Chester Nomuri, a hip, Internet-porn-addicted CIA agent posing in China as a Japanese computer salesman. He e-mails his CIA boss, Mary Pat "the Cowgirl" Foley, that he intends to seduce Ming with Dream Angels perfume and scarlet Victoria's Secret lingerie ordered from the catalogue--strictly for God and country, of course. Soon Ming is calling him "Master Sausage" instead of "Comrade," but can anybody master Ming?
The plot is over the top, with devastating subplots erupting all over the globe and lurid characters scaring the wits out of each other every few pages, but Clancy finds time to insert hard-boiled little lessons on the vileness of Communism, the infuriating intrusions of the press on presidential power, the sexual perversions of Mao, the poor quality of Russian pistol silencers ("garbage, cans loaded with steel wool that self-destructed after less than ten shots"), the folly of cutting a man's throat with a knife ("they flop around and make noise when you do that"), and similar topics. Naturally, the book bristles like a battlefield with intriguingly intricate military hardware.When you've got a Tom Clancy novel in hand, who needs action movies? --Tim Appelo --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"Builds to an excitingly cinematic climax as Ryan toils to bring the world back from the brink of nuclear war."--Entertainment Weekly
"Once Clancy pulls the trigger...nobody can touch his gift for describing combat."--People
"Those who like heart-stopping action in their thrillers will not be disappointed...Entertaining and eminently topical...Clancy still reigns. The publication of The Bear and the Dragon reminds his fans that he is not likely to be dethroned any time soon."--The Washington Post
"Exhilarating...You'd have to be numb not to be impressed by the scale of [Clancy's] ambition, his feel for the way information now flashes instantaneously across the globe, his mastery of technological developments. No other novelists is giving so full a picture of modern conflict, equally adeptly depicting those at the top and bottom of military and intelligence systems."--The London Sunday Times
"The most intricately plotted and in some ways the most satisfying of his military-techno thrillers since The Hunt For Red October...There's enough new technology to satisfy the most demanding Clancy fan...A juicy novel within a novel, full of heavy artillery, intrepid aviators and shrewd generals."--The Orlando Sentinel
"Clancy has a knack for stories that appear to come out of the daily headlines. The Bear and the Dragon confirms his title as a master of techno-thrillers."--The Montreal Gazette
"Interesting characters...too-real plotting."--The Florida Times-Union
"Clancy manages to thrill...The guts, the fun of these books, are the high-tech devices, the ingenious schemes and the inside look at military tactics. Clancy delivers here."--The Denver Post
"Clancy is a master of detail--especially those having to do with military action and weapons...And he builds strongly moral, attractive characters, ones we would like to emulate."--The Houston Chronicle
"The Bear and the Dragon works...Hypnotic appeal."--The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Builds to an excitingly cinematic climax as Ryan toils to bring the world back from the brink of nuclear war. Entertainment Weekly
Once Clancy pulls the trigger nobody can touch his gift for describing combat. People
Those who like heart-stopping action in their thrillers will not be disappointed Entertaining and eminently topical Clancy still reigns. The publication of The Bear and the Dragon reminds his fans that he is not likely to be dethroned any time soon. The Washington Post
Exhilarating You d have to be numb not to be impressed by the scale of [Clancy s] ambition, his feel for the way information now flashes instantaneously across the globe, his mastery of technological developments. No other novelists is giving so full a picture of modern conflict, equally adeptly depicting those at the top and bottom of military and intelligence systems. The London Sunday Times
The most intricately plotted and in some ways the most satisfying of his military-techno thrillers since The Hunt For Red October There s enough new technology to satisfy the most demanding Clancy fan A juicy novel within a novel, full of heavy artillery, intrepid aviators and shrewd generals. The Orlando Sentinel
Clancy has a knack for stories that appear to come out of the daily headlines. The Bear and the Dragon confirms his title as a master of techno-thrillers. The Montreal Gazette
Interesting characters...too-real plotting. The Florida Times-Union
Clancy manages to thrill The guts, the fun of these books, are the high-tech devices, the ingenious schemes and the inside look at military tactics. Clancy delivers here. The Denver Post
Clancy is a master of detailespecially those having to do with military action and weapons And he builds strongly moral, attractive characters, ones we would like to emulate. The Houston Chronicle
The Bear and the Dragon works Hypnotic appeal. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Megasuspense thrilling. Indianapolis Star" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Increasingly Clancy's novels are becoming more a vehicle for his own political views, and less an entertaining read. Clancy manages to get every element of the right wing conservative political philosophy in the novel - maybe he should run for the Republican ticket in 2004! To me a novel should not be a medium to impose one's own political views on the rest of the world - that's rather selfish of the author.
The book is very long, and the first 700 pages drags on and on and on...yet it is easy to know where it is all heading. Russia is an economic mess after 70 years of communism. It discovers a big oil and gold reserve in Siberia, and needs US assistance to exploit it. President Ryan turns this opportunity into an excuse to bring Russia into NATO - a very unlikely prospect in the real world - just in time to deal with a plot by the 'Evil Empire Mark II' - the Chinese - to try and grab the oil and gold themselves.
The 'good guys' - the Americans and the Russians are cardboard cutout characters. Ryan has become the 'perfect Republican President we would all like'. He is a man of honor, truth and justice - with perhaps one failing of liking to smoke. Forget sacrificing principles to get into power, and stay in power - Ryan never does anything wrong and is purely concerned about doing good in the world. His advisors are equally virtuous and decent people - Washington is Camelot once again.Read more ›
My teeth grind as Clancy takes 800 pages explaining the political background and China's arrogance while making every American character a genius/super-spy etc. The novel chugs through endless technical boredom: Clancy has forgotten that war isn't about statistics, its about killing people.
The war between Russia and China is a joke. Russia's only detailed action is a couple of fixed-position AT turrets. Clancy introduces Russia to NATO as an excuse to send in Uncle Sam, who doesn't lose a single casualty (!) while butchering the enemy with ludicrous hi-tech weapons.
Clancy has no apparent grasp of the state of modern war. There is no close range combat, just Apache helicopters and super-tech tanks descimating crude Chinese tanks while invisible spy cameras hover at 40,000 feet forever, and zoom in so you can read people's diaries in full colour. Very realistic.
The whole thing is simply terrible. Only insecure Americans should apply, so they can feel good about how "this great nation" can crush anything that threatens it.
To some up the novel: Clancy says that after the terrible state of bombing in Yugloslavia "the air force had shaped up its act". The air force didn't mess up in Afghanistan now, did it?
Executive Orders was tolerable but got bogged down with Clancy's turgid handling of domestic policy and saddled with a pathetically anticlimatic ending. Bear and the Dragon continues this trend adding an utterly predictable plot and racial stereotyping that is actively scary. The depiction of the Chinese as aliens (referred to throughout, in fact, as 'Klingons') makes Rising Sun's handling of Japan look enlightened
However, Clancy has committed a worse crime in producing a 'thriller' that is in no way thrilling. The plot is signposted from 50 pages in (but takes a further 550 to actually get going), the 'whodunnit' subplot is utterly predictable and the 'climax' less satisfying than any other Clancy book. This is compounded by an inability to effectively handle highly emotional scenes, giving the pivotal moment in the plot a cringingly mawkish feel rather than any sense of pathos. Even the return of old favourites John Clark and Ding Chavez seems tacked on and gimmicky. Clancy is largely just going through the motions- as an earlier review said, he continues writing until reaching his requisite 3 ½ inches. He can still write big battle scenes, but I felt pretty cheated with only a tiny fraction of the book having any action, and the rest doing little to advance the plot.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have read this book so often over the past couple of years that my copy had started to fall apart, so I was glad to get a good condition replacement and pass my old copy to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by michael endean
Personally I loved this book. I'm a big Tom Clancy fan and next to Executive Orders this one has to be one of the best for me. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Eddie Sullivan (EddieStudy)
I bought this for my Big Brother Dougie Carr who was an avid fan of Tom Clancy & he thoroughly enjoyed this edition. Sadly he passed away September 2014.Published 14 months ago by Lucy Turunc
This is not the best Jack Ryan book that's for sure. But I did enjoy it, to see Jack after he's been the president for some time, bringing Rainbow into the mix, and resolving... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Amazon Customer
My previous review `Enjoyable reading and mostly plausible' was unfortunately a little `optimistic'. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Philip