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But you bet The Bear and the Dragon is fun--over 1,000 swift pages' worth. In the opening scene, a hand-launched RPG rocket nearly blows up Russia's intelligence chief in his armored Mercedes, and Ryan's clever spooks report that the guy who got the rocket in his face instead was the hoodlum "Rasputin" Avseyenko, who used to run the KGB's "Sparrow School" of female prostitute spies. Soon after, two apparent assassins are found handcuffed together afloat in St. Petersburg's Neva River, their bloated faces resembling Pokémon toys.
The stakes go higher as the mystery deepens: oil and gold are discovered in huge quantities in Siberia, and the evil Chinese Minister Without Portfolio Zhang Han San gazes northward with lust. The laid-off elite of the Soviet Army figure in the brewing troubles, as do the new generation of Tiananmen Square dissidents, Zhang's wily, Danielle Steel-addicted executive secretary Lian Ming, and Chester Nomuri, a hip, Internet-porn-addicted CIA agent posing in China as a Japanese computer salesman. He e-mails his CIA boss, Mary Pat "the Cowgirl" Foley, that he intends to seduce Ming with Dream Angels perfume and scarlet Victoria's Secret lingerie ordered from the catalog--strictly for God and country, of course. Soon Ming is calling him "Master Sausage" instead of "Comrade," but can anybody master Ming?
The plot is over the top, with devastating subplots erupting all over the globe and lurid characters scaring the wits out of each other every few pages, but Clancy finds time to insert hard-boiled little lessons on the vileness of Communism, the infuriating intrusions of the press on presidential power, the sexual perversions of Mao, the poor quality of Russian pistol silencers ("garbage, cans loaded with steel wool that self-destructed after less than ten shots"), the folly of cutting a man's throat with a knife ("they flop around and make noise when you do that"), and similar topics. Naturally, the book bristles like a battlefield with intriguingly intricate military hardware.
When you've got a Tom Clancy novel in hand, who needs action movies? --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I enjoyed all of Tom Clancy's books until this one. The Bear and the Dragon was the book where it became clear that his writing empire had run out of steam and originality. Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2005
I've read every Clancy novel featuring Jack Ryan, and I like all of them until this one. Yes, I know this is only fiction, but since Clancy cares so much about little details,... Read morePublished on July 18 2004
Let's be clear. This is not Debt of Honor or Executive Orders (probably the best one-two punch I've ever read). That being said, it's an easy, decent read. Read morePublished on July 18 2004 by M. Reed
Can no one just take a novel for what it is anymore? It's fiction guys. Who cares if its a little far-fetched. Read morePublished on June 28 2004 by Travis Hebrank
I made the mistake of taking this book on a long plane flight, much to my regret. Complete waste of time and insult to one's intelligence, unless one likes the Ronald Reagan... Read morePublished on June 21 2004 by Winter
If you haven't gotten around to this book yet, take my advice and don't bother. This is my last book by Mr. Clancy. He's apparently run out of ideas with Jack Ryan and company. Read morePublished on June 14 2004
Amazing use of a novel to vent the author's feelings about abortion (Mr. Clancy is against) and the environment (also against or indifferent to) for most of the book. Read morePublished on June 3 2004 by Winter
Numerous plot lines come together too easily, others go completely negelected. Racism and sexism abound. Read morePublished on May 30 2004
I was a Clancy fan up until this book. There is too much profanity, repeated and unnecessary. Sometimes a point can be made by it, but its excessive use caused me to begin just... Read morePublished on May 29 2004