America and Japan are vital allies and trading partners and I am confident that the two countries will never again engage in armed conflict with one another. A limited form of armed conflict between Japan and the United States is the intriguing premise of this novel, one of Clancy's best. Although unlikely, there is nothing that takes place in this novel that is quite impossible. Just not real probable, but hey, that's why we have fiction.
The basic storyline is simple (no spoilers here). The trade friction between Japan and the United States comes to a head when the US enacts a trade bill which essentially targets Japanese firms which engage in sharp practices against the US. This gives a clique of power-wielding industrialists an opportunity to put Japan on a course whereby it seeks to establish military control over much of the Western Pacific area, including Saipan, which is a United States territory. Therein lies the story. Far out, but not impossible. Here, Clancy is stretching his imaginative muscles and the result is a quite good novel. As usual, Clancy's skillful speculation about, and knowledge of, military technology gives this one more authenticity than most authors would be able to manage.
This one brings back our old friends Jack Ryan, John Clark, and Ding Chavez, who are the central players on the American side. This novel features some of Clancy's best writing, and is not overlong like most of his later works. Further, the Japanese side is presented largely with respect and dignity, excepting the core bad guys who are portrayed as well, bad guys.
One of Clancy's best, and if you like his other ones, you will probably thoroughly enjoy this one.