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The Teeth of the Tiger
Author: Tom Clancy
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
431 pages

After Red Rabbit, in which Clancy gave us an intriguing tale of central character Jack Ryan’s early career, he has decided to return to the future.  Ryan is no longer president and plays no part in The Teeth of the Tiger, except for what he left behind.  What he left behind were scores of unsigned presidential pardons and a black operation with access to CIA and NSA intelligence and the charge to kill international criminals without official government approval.  And who gets the opportunity to join “The Campus” but Ryan’s own son and two nephews.

The Teeth of the Tiger raises an interesting ethical dilemma.  Does “The Campus” commit murder when it goes after terrorists without the approval of any current government?  Or is it doing what must be done?  The new recruits ask themselves this question and arrive at the expected decision.

Clancy’s new novel is relatively short at 431 pages, about half of his normal length.  Unfortunately, this also translates into “short on action” and “short on payoff.”  There is very limited gunfire in this novel and no sense of the urgency that has been Clancy’s trademark catalyst for action.  This one feels more like Without Remorse in that everything is low key, assassins snooping in the dark.  But no one approaches the level of that novel’s hero John Clark.  Clancy does give us a surprise ending, but it’s more of a “Ho hum, that was interesting,” than a “Whew, I’m glad they pulled it off.”
 
The Teeth of the Tiger might be more accessible for someone who doesn’t want to read 1,000 pages, but it’s not only half as long as Clancy’s other works.  It’s half as good.

Dan Singleton 9/29/2003

 

 
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