Book Review: Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy

1 Sentence Summary: “Clear and Present Danger” thrusts readers into the heart of a perilous battle against drug cartels in Colombia as Jack Ryan, now Deputy Director of Intelligence, navigates a treacherous landscape of shifting allegiances, government secrets, and the moral dilemma of just how far one should go to protect their country.

Clear and Present Danger by Tom Clancy

TitleClear and Present Danger
AuthorTom Clancy
GenreAction, Adventure, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publication DateAugust 17, 1989
Length656 pages

Where to Purchase

Book Summary

The novel opens with an unexpected and tragic event: the murder of a close friend and confidant of President Roger Durling. This shocking act sets the stage for a gripping narrative that explores the United States’ involvement in the war on drugs, particularly in the dangerous territory of Colombia.

Jack Ryan, who has risen to the position of Deputy Director of Intelligence, is thrust into a complex and perilous situation. He’s tasked with leading a covert operation in Colombia to combat drug cartels and their leaders. But what begins as an attempt to disrupt the drug trade soon escalates into a high-stakes battle with far-reaching consequences.

As Ryan and his team delve deeper into the Colombian drug trade, they uncover layers of corruption, deceit, and moral ambiguity within their own government. The lines between right and wrong become increasingly blurred as they grapple with the question of how far they should go to protect their country and its citizens.

Meanwhile, a parallel narrative follows the charismatic and ruthless drug lord, Ernesto Escobedo, as he consolidates power and expands his empire. Escobedo’s cunning and brutality make him a formidable adversary, and the tension escalates as the two sides collide in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

The novel is a relentless exploration of the moral and ethical challenges faced by those in positions of power. It delves into the concept of a “clear and present danger” and the difficult decisions that leaders must make when the safety of their nation is at stake.

Book Review

“Clear and Present Danger” is a masterclass in the thriller genre, and Tom Clancy’s storytelling prowess is on full display. From the moment I cracked open the book, I was captivated by its intricate plot, multifaceted characters, and thought-provoking themes.

One of the book’s standout features is its central character, Jack Ryan. Over the course of the Clancy series, Ryan has evolved from a humble intelligence analyst to a high-ranking government official. In “Clear and Present Danger,” he grapples with the weight of his responsibilities and the moral dilemmas that come with them. His character is relatable, which makes the novel’s exploration of moral complexity all the more engaging.

The plot of “Clear and Present Danger” is a rollercoaster ride of suspense and intrigue. Clancy’s ability to weave multiple storylines together while maintaining a high level of tension is nothing short of remarkable. As the narrative unfolds, it keeps you guessing and on the edge of your seat, and I found myself eagerly turning the pages to see what would happen next.

One of the novel’s strengths lies in its examination of the moral gray areas of espionage and covert operations. It raises important questions about the trade-offs between national security and individual liberties, the ethics of extrajudicial actions, and the responsibility of those in power to uphold their principles.

Ernesto Escobedo, the antagonist, is a compelling character in his own right. Clancy takes us into the mind of a ruthless drug lord and humanizes him in a way that adds depth to the narrative. While you may not sympathize with Escobedo, you come to understand the factors that drive him and the immense challenge he poses to Ryan and his team.

The novel’s pacing is excellent, with a steady build-up of tension and a series of action-packed sequences that keep the adrenaline pumping. Clancy’s meticulous attention to detail and his ability to convey complex military and intelligence operations in a comprehensible manner are truly impressive.

As with any book, “Clear and Present Danger” is not without its minor flaws. Some readers may find the technical jargon and detailed descriptions of military equipment and procedures a bit overwhelming. However, I believe that these details add to the authenticity and depth of the story, and they didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

“Clear and Present Danger” by Tom Clancy is a must-read for fans of military and espionage thrillers. Its intricate plot, well-developed characters, and exploration of moral complexity make it a standout in the genre. Clancy’s ability to combine technical expertise with a gripping narrative is once again showcased in this novel. If you’re in the mood for a thought-provoking and action-packed thriller that delves into the challenges of protecting a nation’s interests, “Clear and Present Danger” should be at the top of your reading list. It’s a thrilling journey through the world of covert operations that will leave you pondering its moral implications long after you’ve turned the final page.


  • Paula Davis

    Paula Davis is a dedicated and seasoned content writer for Dreaming and Reading, where she brings her extensive knowledge and passion for literature to a wide audience of fellow book enthusiasts. With the heart of a true bookworm, Paula has immersed herself in the literary world, devouring approximately 50 books annually for the last 15 years. This impressive reading habit has not only provided her with immense joy but has also significantly honed her expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in the realm of book reviews. Her insightful and well-crafted reviews reflect her deep understanding and appreciation of various genres, offering valuable guidance to readers in search of their next great read. With a finger always on the pulse of the latest literary releases, Paula Davis is a trusted voice and a go-to source for book recommendations and reviews.

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