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Without Remorse (Jack Ryan) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Oct 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Putnam Inc; Open market ed edition (30 Oct. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425143325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425143322
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 3.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 330,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Expanding the universe of Jack Ryan and his colleagues, Without Remorse tracks the early career of John "The Invisible Man" Kelly, the ex-Navy SEAL who eventually becomes the shadowy John Clark of Clancy's other novels. Kelly is a highly decorated hero and a masterful soldier, diver and sailor. But during the first Nixon administration he suffers two tragedies that transform him into a ruthless vigilante: his pregnant wife is killed in a freak accident, and Pam, the woman he turns to in his pain, is murdered. Motivated by revenge, Kelly systematically kills the drug-dealing pimps who had so brutalized Pam and her friends. At the same time, CIA man James Greer recruits Kelly for covert operations in Vietnam.

While most of Clancy's oeuvre celebrates high-tech gadgets and clear-cut battles of good versus evil, Without Remorse focuses more on the character, struggles and motivations of its hero. Kelly's status is always ambiguous, reflecting the uncertainties of the Vietnam era, and Clancy resists the temptation of making him into a puritan. From the start, he holds secrets from even his loved ones (he won't tell Pam the origin of his SEAL tattoo, for example). While he is a killer, he believes he has justification for each death, and the CIA is more interested in his deadly talents than his criminal record.

For Clancy fans, the insights into the early history of Clark, Greer and others build a sense of realism and depth into the Jack Ryan series. As Kelly becomes Clark, Clancy underscores the sombre sense of resignation and despair that underlies much of the book: "He was working for the Agency now, so Clark was his name. It made it easier somehow." Yet, in the darkness of this moment, one can't help but reflect on what Clark and his CIA will become. It's like watching Batman donning his cape for the very first time. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

Mr. Clancy's best. ("Dallas Morning News") A non-stop emotional roller coaster. ("San Diego Union-Tribune")

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I’ll admit it – I’m a big fan of Tom Clancy; his books are the type of epics you know you can start reading one day and will still be reading it 4 weeks later, and that’s before you start on his “powerplays” and others. Amongst his major novels, there tend to be two main characters – Jack Ryan and John Clark. This one’s all about John Clark, well actually John Kelly who becomes John Clark later on, and is set during the Vietnam war.
The book tells how Kelly handles personal tragedy, the loss of a loved one in a brutal and horrific way. His response is pure Clancy - clinical brute force response. What sets this book apart from other Clancy books is rather than going into arguably excessive detail about the weaponry used in battle, Clancy concentrates on the character, his mind, and his attitude.
As expected the book carries several stories in parallel – alongside Kelly’s problems, Washington need to find a suitable operative for a high-risk mission to Vietnam to rescue captured soldiers, and you’ve guessed it, Kelly’s the man for the job.
If you like Clancy, you will absolutely love this book! The way the threads are joined is superb; I cannot recommend it enough. Oh yeah, and don’t worry about the order you read Clancy’s books – it makes no difference.
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Format: Paperback
I've read this book at least half a dozen times in the last four years, and I've no doubt that I'll soon have to replace this substantial paperback due to sheer usage. This is a straightforward read and the immense size of the volume shouldn't deter the occasional reader; it's easy to get into and after the first fifty pages you won't want to put it down.
It is 1970. Devastated by the recent loss of his wife, former SEAL John Kelly helps a runaway prostitute escape from her drug-running captors, and begins to fall in love with her. But in a freakish twist of fate one of the scumbags spots her - and as a material witness they dare not let her live. After a frantic chase through the city they catch up with the couple, and brutally rape and murder her. Kelly is left for dead, with a horrifying shotgun wound to the back. But Kelly is not an easy man to kill, and upon recovery he immediately sets about a new mission - a mission for vengeance...
With his lethal commando training, patience and guile, Kelly begins to exact a terrible price for his loss, but not without problems. The police are slowly catching on to him, the dealers have connections, and they still hold several other women in captivity. And the Pentagon has not finished with Kelly quite yet, sending him back to Vietnam to carry out a daring rescue mission - for twenty men who are already dead...
This is without a doubt Clancy's best book. Most of his other works are fictional techno/military/espionage epics weighing in at a good six hundred pages or so, but this story takes things back to basics and reads more like a old-style thriller that would do Alistair Maclean proud.
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Format: Paperback
I fully admit it took me a while to get over my initial shock that Tom Clancy had written a book that focused not on Jack Ryan but on John Clark. While I did not enjoy this book as much the two Jack Ryan books that came before or after it, "Without Remorse" is still a worthwhile effort and I consider it superior to Clancy's most recent novel, "The Bear and the Dragon." This is not a story driven by technology but by the intense desire of a man to have the world make sense. It is a more intimate story that we are used to from Clancy.
Actually, "Without Remorse" represents a logical extension of one of Tom Clancy's strengths, which is the depth of background he provides his characters. Think of how he first presents "Red" Wegner and Ding Chavez in "Clear and Present Danger." Wegner appears (so far) only in that one book while Chavez has become a major supporting character in the Clancy oeuvre. Yet Clancy basically uses an entire chapter to give the background on each character. In "Without Remorse" Clancy lays out the entire back story of John Kelly, the man who would become better known to us as John Clark. Clancy has done this before with "Patriot Games," where we find out what the oblique "Sir John" references in "The Hunt for Red October" were all about. Now he does the same for Clark, who has really replaced Robbie as the character carrying the main subplot in the Ryan books.
"Beware the fury of a patient man." The quote appearing in the frontpiece of the novel is from John Dryden (yes, the nasty little boy in "Shakespeare in Love" in one of that movies best in-jokes), and it concisely sums up the moral of this particular story. Six months after the accidental death of his pregnant wife, John Kelly pulls over and picks up a young girl standing by the side of the road.
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Format: Paperback
Without Remorse is set in 1970, and tells of John Kelly ex-Navy SEAL Vietnam veteran, and soon to be known as CIA agent John Clark. This book tells us of how he came to the CIA. 6 months after his wife dies, he meets a young woman whom he falls in love with who turns out to have been a prostitute working for a drugs ring which consists of some major sickos. One night, she is spotted along with Kelly and after a chase, Kelly is shot and left for dead, while she is taken away to be gang-raped and tortured to death. Kelly recovers and vows revenge. While he's bumping off drug dealers and pimps, the CIA and Pentagon are planning a major rescue operation in North Vietnam, and they need Kelly's help to do this. So now he has two missions to fulfill. When the rescue mission goes tits-up thanks to a slimy Washington aide, he returns to the States only to find that the police are now beginning to suspect what he's been up to on the streets of Baltimore. Kelly is forced to tell his CIA superiors what he's been up to, and amazingly, they agree to help him if he comes to work for them, helping him to stage his own death after he's killed all the bad guys, and become John Clark.
Now this was a real surprise when I read this. Despite obvious inspirations (Death Wish, Rambo) the atmosphere and tension, and a more complicated action hero than Kersey and Rambo, makes it far better than many amateur attempts at revenge-thrillers.
The only real flaws are the length (did it really have to be this long) and one sub-plot too many (like the POW scenes, which, although not boring, seem a little superfluous and unnecessary). However, its far easier to get into and much more pacier than some of Clancy's other books.
I would rank this alongside RSR and CAPD as among the author's best.
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