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Clancy, Tom

cia novels

(US, 1947– )

Tom Clancy soared to fame in 1984 with the publication of his first novel, The Hunt for Red October. This introduced the charismatic Jack Ryan, a CIA analyst, and also paved the way for a new genre: the techno-thriller. Clancy's novels (three of which have been filmed) all reveal a threat to post-cold war civil liberty (terrorism, espionage, drugs) and the joint efforts of the CIA, the military, and individual heroism to set things to rights. Thus Patriot Games (1987) deals with the IRA, Clear and Present Danger (1989) with South American drug barons, and The Sum of All Fears (1991) with Middle Eastern fundamentalism. Although occasionally unwieldy in their technical detail, Clancy's novels are gripping, well researched, and skilfully avoid reducing the issues to Good versus Evil.

John Le Carré, Ian Fleming, Robert Harris  SB

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