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The President is dead--and the weight, literally, of the world falls on Jack Ryan's shoulders, in Tom Clancy's newest and most extraordinary novel. I don't know what to do. Where's the manual, the training course, for this job? Whom do I ask? Where do I go? Debt of Honor ended with Tom Clancy's most shocking conclusion ever; a joint session of Congress destroyed, the President dead, most of the Cabinet and the Congress dead, the Supreme Court and the Joint Chiefs likewise. Dazed and confused, the man who only minutes before had been confirmed as the new Vice-President of the United States is told that he is now President. President John Patrick Ryan. And that is where Executive Orders begins. Ryan had agreed to accept the vice-presidency only as a caretaker for a year, and now, suddenly an incalculable weight has fallen on his shoulders. How do you run a government without a government? Where do you even begin? With stunning force, Ryan's responsibilities crush on him. He must calm an anxious and grieving nation, allay the skepticism of the world's leaders, conduct a swift investigation of the tragedy, and arrange a massive state funeral--all while attempting to reconstitute a Cabinet and a Congress with the greatest possible speed. But that is not all. Many eyes are on him now, and many of them are unfriendly. In Beijing, Tehran, and other world capitals, including Washington D.C., there are those eager to take advantage where they may, some of whom bear a deep animus toward the United States--some of whom, from Ryan's past, harbor intense animosity toward the new President himself. Soon they will begin to move on their opportunities; soon they will present Jack Ryan with a crisis so big even he cannot imagine it. Tom Clancy has written remarkable novels before, but nothing comparable to the timeliness and drama of Executive Orders. Filled with the exceptional realism and intricate plotting that are his hallmarks, it attests to the words of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "This man can tell a story."
Tom Clancy goes to the White House in this thriller of political terror and global disaster. The American political situation takes a disturbing turn as the President, Congress, and Supreme Court are obliterated when a Japanese terrorist lands a 747 on the Capitol. Meanwhile the Iranians are unleashing an Ebola virus threat on the country. Jack Ryan, CIA agent, is cast in the middle of this maelstrom. Because of a recent sex scandal, Ryan was appointed vice president, a slot he doesn't hold for long when he lands in the Chief Executive's chair. He goes after the Iranians and then tries to piece together the country and his life the only way he knows how--with a fury that we've grown accustomed to in Clancy's intricate, detailed, and accurate stories of warfare and intrigue.
- Too Much
Tom Clancy's suggestion how to fix the American political system: have a terrorist kill the president, the whole cabinet, the supreme court, and every member of the house and senate; then let hero Jack Ryan, shortly before sworn in as Vice President, rebuild the system by reminding common folk of their civic duty and summoning them to government posts.
And then there are the bad guys. Masterminded by the evil Ayatollah Daryaei, Iran invades Iraq and plots to take over Saudi Arabia. To distract President Ryan, Daryaei not only attempts to kidnap his daughter but also releases an ebola plague in the United States and instigates a military conflict in the Taiwan strait. Oh, and not to mention a band of American anarchists who want to assassinate Jack Ryan.
The real problem of the book? Nothing ever happens. Clancy gets so tangled up in his various plots (which, to be fair, he handles mostly well throughout the book) that the action only really begins after 800 of the novel's thousand pages. I assume his editor set him this limit, otherwise the story may well have run up to twice that. In fact, the book is so hurriedly wrapped up that the two would-be assassins merely fail because they are stopped by a random traffic cop.
All in all, Tom Clancy put too much on his plate this time. Had a good editor removed at least half of the subplots, the story might actually have come out well; Clancy's talent for pulsating build-ups and charged action scenes is still there. As it is, though, the reader has to invest far too much time to get to the juice to make it worth his wile. ...more info
- Scott Shirley's review
I thought this was a great book! Jack Ryan is one of my favorite characters. Harrison Ford makes a great Jack Ryan! Hope you enjoy the book too!...more info
- His Best Yet!
"Executive Orders" was easily the best book Tom Clancy has ever written. I feel sad after reading some of these reviews, becasue many of them ask about the point of some of the sub-plots.
"What was the point of the Mountain Men"
The point was to get across that people disliked Jack Ryan in the Oval Office, just like Ed Kealty and the SS guy plots.
"Why do the UIR-ains want to provoke a country with nukes that can destroy their country"
The point of this is to show how much some Arab's hate America (which Tom Clancy clearly explained in the book), and to bring all the subplots together for the Second Persian Gulf War, which was the best scene in the book by the way.
I hope Tom Clancy's new book is as good as this one....more info
- From Pleasant to Ponderous
Having been a Clancy fan from his beginning, when I picked up Executive Orders, I hoped to find the same class of writing and pleasant presentation as had been the mark of (most) of his prior work.
Unfortunately, it seems he had either reached that pinnacle where he could demand he get paid on a "per word" basis, thus the incredible and completely unnecessary length of this work - or he had offended all possible editors of skill, and been left with a very inferior pool to choose from. I'd find it hard to explain this ineffective work otherwise, clearly published on the hope of the merit of the Clancy name and not on any intrinsic merits of its own.
This is one ponderous book...one that I had a very hard time working through. It could have been fully and effectively covered with half the size, resulting in a much more readable and productive Clancy gripper...easier to follow, more demonstrative of the points he wanted to make, and more conducive to continuing his future unblemished.
Though I must say I thought I saw it coming in a couple of his works leading up to this one, at least they were still effecive and noteworthy, though beginning to be somewhat needlessly long.
It is my hope that we don't have a repeat of this exercise in literary back-sliding, and that Mr. Clancy continues to use other writers to assist him in putting his works together as he's been doing since, to keep him from the mistakes he made here.
- incredible sequel to Debt of Honor.
Jack Ryan gets a small promotion -to president- and gathers his friends to save the world. DOH is my favorite non-star wars book and EO starts immediately following the events of DOH. I have to Paperback and Abridged Audio CD's of both.
Don't want to give away spoilers, by Ryan and his country and in real bad shape and vulnerable. Clancey does an amazing job creating the threats and an even more imaginative job of defeating the threats....more info
- Clancy rocks the house!
You just can't go wrong with Clancy. He is easily the best espionage/war writer on the market currently. No one can create a complex, interwoven storyline like his. His research is outstanding, his fact checking impeccable, and his characters fascinating.
I still think that Red Storm Rising is the best WWIII book ever written, and this book is right up there with it....more info
- Excellent read!
This is also one of Tom Clancy's better books, it follows on the heals of Debt of Honor. I think that Debt of Honor and Executive Order should be read back to back. As the ending of Debt of Honor is continued into Executive Order.
The plot is a very plausible one, since the invasion of Iraq and the execution of Saddam. The fear that Iran could enter into Iraq and unite it with their own country, due to the large Shia population within Iraq. Tom Clancy shows once again his foresight into a possible scenario.
The other interesting co-incidence is the lawsuit against Ryan as President of the United States, which to a degree reflected the 2000 election, this book was published in 1998, and the execution of Saddam and war in the middle east. In some ways Jack Ryan was a foreshadow of GWB and the events that would surround his presidency.
- The Pinnacle of the Jack Ryan Universe
"Executive Orders" is 1358 pages long. Yes, you read that correctly 1358 pages long! No one has ever praised Tom Clancy for the brevity of his prose, but 1358 pages is one audaciously long book. The only thing that could keep reading a novel of this length from being an overwhelmingly tiresome exercise is for it to contain an audaciously good story. Fortunately for Tom Clancy and Jack Ryan fans, this book resoundingly succeeds on this count.
Now, please be forewarned [IF YOU HAVE NOT READ "DEBT OF HONOR" YET, THEN GO NO FURTHER WITH THIS REVIEW]:
Now, if you have read "Debt of Honor", you will remember the absolutely shocking way it ended, with a rogue Japanese commercial airline pilot crashing his 747 into the Capitol Dome during the President's speech to a joint session of Congress, killing all of Congress, the President, the Cabinet, and the Supreme Court justices (among others). This all happened after the sitting Vice President has resigned in disgrace and Jack Ryan was just approved to be the new VP by acclimation vote of Congress before the plane struck.
So, now Jack is President and he has rebuild a devastated government while facing a political threat from the former VP who thinks he should be president; a foreign crisis brought about by Middle East upheavals (one of which is proving to be quite prophetic); and a domestic crisis brought about by a biological terrorist attack. It's just another day in the life of Jack Ryan.
The real appeal of this book is that every different plot thread is extraordinarily well thought out and set up. In most books this ambitious, you will find certain plot lines boring, making you anxious to get to more exciting portions of the story. In "Executive Orders", Clancy never falls into that trap. You can feel each different thread building upon the others, instead of running in opposition to them. The payoff is a tremendous climax (or rather a series of them) which rewards the reader for their efforts throughout this magnum opus.
"Executive Orders" is a crowning achievement in the Jack Ryan Universe. There are so many fabulous books in the Ryan series, but this one is its apex.
- Couldn't put it down
I bought it when it was first published in 1996. An incredibly gripping novel. So many plots, so many twists. Filled with bad guys, worse guys, and down right evil characters. Like many Clancy novels, EO pulls back the curtain behind everything from infectious diseases to the TO&E of an Armored Cavalry Regiment. After several years, I bought a used copy and it consumed my entire weekend -- from Friday night to Monday night. I actually got weepy eyed during some parts -- Cathy Ryan as she was treating Ebola victims in Baltimore, the tactics of the North Carolina brigade as they clobbered the UIR forces.
Just an amazing book. Worth reading...again. It is a long book though. The paperback weighed in at 1358 pages. I still can't believe I read the entire thing. lol....more info
- The American "Iliad"
This is truly an epic, an account of the struggle between the democracy of the United States and terrorism. After the initial, almost complete destruction of our government, we are left wondering how we will ever be able to put it back together again. At this point, the suspense is unbearable, and you must read on, you simply must. Of course, with the survival of the one person among hundreds of key politicians, who is the hero, Jack Ryan, we know that everything will be allright. But we don't know how, and we're anxious to find out. On the road to "happily ever after" we encounter one serious incident after another, any one of which could put us down for the count. Clancy weaves these plots with great precision, using the strokes of a master painter. Jack Ryan starts out slowly, cautiously, and seemingly unsure of himself, but builds confidence in himself to make the right decisions, and begins to issue his EXECUTIVE ORDERS to counterbalance and overcome the potential disasters facing him (and us).
The sub-plots are intricately woven and very well connected, and in a book this long, many times the suspense is unbearable.
Of course the good guys win, but this does not make the story trite, nor is this unusual in any way. It is the classic expression of the triumph of good over evil. And what's wrong with that ?
My two favorite passages are Ryan's confrontation with the Prime Minister of India, a woman, when she orders the Indian Navy to interfere with the passage of the US Navy in the Indian Ocean as they are on their way to the Persian Gulf, and he (Ryan), in a telephone conversation with her, gets her to back down, after her initial coy belligerence; and Ryan's confrontation in the oval office with the one who betrayed him.
The story is very long and sometimes tedious because of all the details, but overall it is terrific reading-one of the best books I've read in a long time. I always thought Ludlum's spy thrillers were good, but I think Clancy has pushed it up a notch to the next level....more info
- My Favorite Ryan-verse Tale from Clancy
This book is packed with classic Clancy action, detail, and characters. Debt of Honor is a pre-req for this book, but this one takes up exactly where that left off. Read this back in 1998, long before 9/11, but now it seems prophetic. The book takes on a thoroughly interesting issue of having to COMPLETELY REPLACE the ENTIRE American government while dodging terrorist threats. A great look at American politcs and of course, plenty of classic John Patrick Ryan logic. Great military and secret service action, with a little bio-warfare mixed in. Must read!...more info
- Tread with Care
Make sure to step carefully in this swamp of a Clancy novel. He gives you so much that it takes a guide to wade through the hundreds of plot lines. It is a thoroughly intriguing book but the sheer weight of the novel discourages you. I skipped whole pages which is something of a sacrelige when reading Clancy. However, doing this didn't impair the book. It is an excellent book just extremely tiring to read....more info
- Size does not matter
What can you about Tom Clancy's `Jack Ryan' books: They are massive, ponderous volumes filled with seemingly countless sub-characters and side-plots. The every disaster imaginable has been inflicted on the United States. In previous books the US has fought a conventional World War III (Red Storm Rising), had a nuclear device set-off (The Sum of All Fears) and had the Capital destroyed (Debt Of Honor). Now it is a biological attack and like a bad Star Trek episode Clancy spends 95 percent of the book building the plot and sub-plots before wrapping them all up in last 25 pages.
Is this book for you? If you are a Clancy fan you've already ordered it. If you really like `The West Wing' start with `The Hunt For Red October', it's shorter, more focused....more info
- Missing a lot
Try and find an unabridged version. The reading is great but you miss way too much. The book is outstanding and I recommend you read it instead!...more info
- another great Clancy novel
This is another great Clancy novel. Not only entertaining and exciting, but informative as well. A+...more info
- hugely flatulent
I shouldn't complain - I was stupid enough to buy the book. The >1400 pages went fast though because I skipped huge sections of text - any time he got int one of his diatribes. These are worse than anything Ayn Rand ever wrote and much stupider. And while we're at it, someone should make a top ten list of his worst dialogue. I would but I cannot bear to go back through the book....more info
- Outstanding Novel
Probably my favorite book read so far! It's a long one (almost 1,400 pages long!), but don't let that intimidate you... I could not put it down! I found myself constantly compromising with myself over how much sleep I *really* needed to get so I could keep reading.
The action begins on page one... terrorists crash a 747 into the US Capitol, instantly wiping out nearly the entire US Government - except for Vice President Jack Ryan. Now-President Ryan has to deal with a host of problems, including the murder of Iraq's president which leads to an Iranian takeover, Iranian terrorists launching a biohazardous attack against the US, India not playing well with others, and a US Secret Service Agent who is really a terrorist.
Kind of eerie to read after September 11th, but it just goes to show you how realistic Clancy can make his books, even if it is a fictional work written before the real attacks. Be prepared to read this one for a while, but you won't be disappointed! I only wish that I had read the earlier Jack Ryan books before this one. Now I have to go back in time to read them! 5 out of 5 stars...more info
- Executive Orders is one of the most indepth Tom Clancy books
Executive Orders is a very in-depth (following its writer's style) political war book written by the masterful author Tom Clancy. It takes over where Dept of Honor left off: a terrorist has just crashed an airliner into the capital building as the hero of Clancy's novels Jack Ryan is being sworn in as the vice president. Everyone except for Ryan and five or so congressmen (and a judge or two) is dead, including the president. With Ryan the vice president with nobody above him, he naturally (but unwillingly) ascends to the role of President of the United States. He has to find out who's behind the attack. Unfortunately, as the president he's taking the nastiness of politics in Washington dead-on. And to make matters worst, there's turmoil in the Middle East. Iran is making its move, and India and China are stirring up trouble too. Even worse, there's a massive outbreak of Ebola in the U.S., and the reason isn't looking very natural. Jack has to piece together a whole government from scratch (almost) under the pressure of the entire world and his government, and the pressure of terrorists trying to take advantage of the chaos in the U.S. It's one of the most satisfying Tom Clancy reads, and one of his more human ones too. I highly recommend it to anyone who has the time to do so....more info
This is one of his best. Drags at times but overall very very excellent writing. ...more info
- The Presidents Have Endured Through the Years
This book is dedicated to Ronald Wilson Reagan, 40th President of the United States, the one who is on the U.S. Postal Service with the White House stamps.
The second U. S. Pres. John Adams wrote: I pray Heaven (God) to bestow the best of blessings on this house and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule (or sleep) under this roof.
Colleen Hitchcock wrote: "And if I go, while you're still here, know that I live on, vibrating to a different measure behind a thin veil you cannot see through. You will not see me, so you must have faith. I wait for the first time when we can soar together again, both aware of each other. Until then, live your life to the fullest, and when you need me, just whisper my name in your heart and I will be there."
Today I bought this novel and the song, "The Long Black Veil." They seem to go together....more info
- Worth every second, every page
I'm not going to waste your time with a book review that's as long as the book itself, so I'm going to get straight to the point and say I absolutely loved this book. Though I love stories/movies of this genre, I'd never read a Tom Clancy novel before reading Executive Orders. That's about to change. A large portion of this book is about how Jack Ryan learns to become president, which by its nature makes this a very political story. However, it was written so that readers not up-to-speed on political know-how and jargon (like myself) could easily understand and follow along. Basically, you learn about the presidency and its twists and turns just as President Ryan learns, and I think that's what makes this book unbelievably easy to read...despite its 1,300-plus pages. In short, this was one hell of a story that I couldn't put down. I even learned a thing or two. Totally worth the price of admission, five stars....more info
- Others are mistaken, this is one of Clancy's best!
I'm new to writing reviews here, so I decided to check out some of my favorites to see what other's had said. I'm a huge Clancy fan, and Executive Orders just happens to be my favorite of his tales. When I read what the other's said about this book, I had to do something.. had to stand up for this great novel!
If you are not a Clancy fan, or if you read at a child's reading level, then yes, this book is probably too complicated for you.. but, if you have half a brain and an active imagination, this one if for you. The book is well worth the money, as it provides many, many hours of entertainment. The book is long, so it takes some time to complete, but it's not wasted time. This book is classic Tom Clancy, and any person who's read any of his others will agree.
I would not recommend this as a person's first Clancy read. You should read most, if not all, of the previous books in order to have a better understanding of the plot and the characters. Executive Orders starts up immediately after the previous book, Debt of Honor (another Clancy great!), left off. A 747, driven by an angered pilot from Japan, has just plowed right into the Capitol in D.C. during a joint session of Congress. This effectively destroys the American government, and leaves our hero, Jack Ryan, as the new President. The first 100 pages are gripping, especially now, post 9/11 (this book was released over 4 years before that day), and will keep you hooked for the rest of the book. The tale highlights what it would take to totally reconstruct a government after a massive terrorist attack, and then goes on to show how many people in our country and around the world might seek to benefit from America's new found vulnerability.
This is a great book, and should not be tarnished by people with short attention spans. Yes, it is long. Yes, there is much detail and there's plenty of sub-plots. These things are what make Clancy's tales GREAT! This is why he's the number 1 author in our country... without these things, Clancy would be just another thriller author. Read this book, and prepare for much enjoyment!!...more info
- If you can make it thro the boring parts
Executive Orders by Tom Clancy is an exellent charactor study of Jack Ryan. Unfortunatly for those of us who enjoy Clancy's action sequences in his books, your up for a bit of a dissapointment. The first 800 pages are nothing much more than dialouge, excellent dialouge and great an excellent study of Jack Ryan and how he would react, t just tends to drag on at certain points. After that it's what Clancy fans like, cold ruthless and dramtic action that keeps you on the edge. If you want an action book by Clancy you should choose something more like Without Remorse or Patriot Games, but if you want to get more into Jack Ryan then this is the right book for you....more info
- Not one of his best
There is a story to me buying this book. I had never read clancy before November of 2002 (right now I am reading Bear and the Dragon and I have read them all to this point). When I first saw Executive Orders on a shelf in Albertson's, I figured: long book, a lot of points for a book report. So I bought it. I go home, open it up, and read the description. And it was there that I saw I needed to read Debt of Honor first. Later I realized that this book was part of a series. Okay, now for the review.
The book was long. The beginning is okay, as it concludes Debt of Honor, but most of the rest of the book is boring and extremely long winded. The majority of it is spent with Ryan whining about how he hates being president. Another problem is the Ed Keality story line. In goes hot and heavy for awhile, then it disappears and ends in a simple manner that makes one wonder in Clancy just got bored. The same is true of the sub-plot about the Mountain men - it goes nowhere. You have at leat two-hundred pages devoted tot hem, then they disappear, only to have no effect on the main story (and I mean this in the most literal sense). It truly goes absolutely nowhere, yet he writes the leads for as if it will be the big conclusion, and maybe cause this novel to end like Debt of Honor.
One thing I enjoyed was that Clark and Chavez got a decent amount of time in the book. They have become my favorite characters in the Ryan universe, and so I always looked forward to their coming.
Now, this book has too many subplots to count, most of which are pointless. The disease helps set up Rainbow Six, as does the key climax help show who Clark is again. Aside from that, is is obvious that clancy wrote this to set a personal record for page length.
To end, as this is one of my most poorly written reviews, a lot of this book is a set up for the Bear and the Dragon (where you learn further that despite saying other wise, Ryan does not have respect for others nor does he take into account -- this is noticed in this paper weight as well -- that some of his actions are truly unconstitutional). I'm sorry Clancy, but I was disappointed. Stick to things that are good. You prefer to make us know you have a greater intelligence than us when dealing with governemnt policies and military strategies. We knew this since Red October.
I recomend finding cliffnotes on this novel, or skipping this novel entirely. It is better to go back to the Cardinal of the kremlin and The Sum of All Fears, or skip ahead to Rainbow Six.
What else can I say except that I am looking forward to when Jack Ryan dies. Too much has been written about this man whose luck would get him thrown out of Las Vegas, and after becoming president, he'll never be able to go on any adventures (Red October, Cardinal, Clear and present) again....more info
- Get to the point!
I agree with reviewer Zzzz. This book is a mass of twisted stories that seem totally unnecessary....more info
- Aftermath of Debt of Honor
Picks up where Debt of Honor left off and finds Ryan fighting to keep America from imploding. A covert group bent on the destruction of America has attack the stock market in order to cripple the world economies, save a few minor players who stand to gain heavily from the demise of the West. Just goes to show the saying `If you didn't write it down, it never happened' is more than a clich¨¦. As if that were not enough, a new strand of Ebola has been manufactured and released intentionally on America. ...more info
- Clancy Fan
Once again Tom Clancy has taken us into the world of spies and government. Jack Ryan is a great character as well as the others. This story takes us to places never thought of....more info