The Bear and the Dragon Mass Market Paperback – Aug 1 2001
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Power is delightful, and absolute power should be absolutely delightful--but not when you're the most powerful man on earth and the place is ticking like a time bomb. Jack Ryan, CIA warrior turned U.S. president, is the man in the hot seat, and in this vast thriller he's up to his nostrils in crazed Asian warlords, Russian thugs, nukes that won't stay put, and authentic, up-to-the-nanosecond technology as complex as the characters' motives are simple. Quick, do you know how to reprogram the software in an Aegis missile seekerhead? Well, if you're Jack Ryan, you'd better find someone who does, or an incoming ballistic may rain fallout on your parade. Bad for reelection prospects. "You know, I don't really like this job very much," Ryan complains to his aide Arnie van Damm, who replies, "Ain't supposed to be fun, Jack."
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.
From Publishers Weekly
"Klingons" is how hero Jack Ryan describes the villainsDthe Communist Chinese PolitburoDof Clancy's mammoth new novel; other Yanks refer to Chinese soldiers as "Joe Chinaman." It's not for subtlety of characterization, then, that this behemoth proves so relentlessly engrossing. Nor is it for any modulation in the arc of its action, which moves insistently from standstill to hurtle. Nor is it for the author's (expressed) understanding of life's viscissitudes; in this Clancyverse, no white hat with a name dies, but every black hat gets whupped bad. Partly it's for the sheer bulkDif ever a book should come equipped with wheels, it's this oneDwhich plunges readers into a sea of words so vast that, after hours of paddling happily through brisk prose, the horizon remains hidden from sight. Mostly, though, it's because that sea glitters with undeniable authority. Clancy has demonstrated in earlier books (Rainbow Six, etc.) that he towers above other novelists in his ability to deliver geo-political, techo-military goods on a global scaleDand here he's at the top of that war-gaming. With aplomb, he spins numerous plot strandsDamong them: a Sino-American spy seduces his way into Politburo secrets; enormous oil and gold reserves are discovered in Siberia; the new Papal Nuncio to Beijing is murdered; the Politburo orders a hit on a top Russian officialDthat lead to a Chinese invasion of Russia and a credible war scenario that occupies the novel's last quarter and that culiminates in a nuclear crescendo. Each thread carries a handbook's worth of intoxicating, expertly researchedDseemingly insideDinformation, about advanced weapons of war and espionage, about how various governments work, complemented always with ponderings about the tensions between individual honor and the demands of state. Add to that the excitement for Clancy fans of this being the first novel to feature not just Jack Ryan but also, in significant subordinate roles, Jack Clark and Ding Chavez of Rainbow Six and other tales, and you've got a juggernaut that's going to hit #1 its first week out and stay there for a good while. 2 million first printing; BOMC main selection; author tour.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Chinese economy is in serious trouble, and the Chinese Politburo members are not making things any better when they are unreasonable in trade negotiations with the US. President Ryan is fed up with their stubborn disregard for fair trade practices. China further makes things worse in their attempt to kill a high ranking Soviet official, not to mention the killing of two unarmed clergy members who attempt to prevent the abortion of a child in a Chinese hospital. Growing discontent from the rest of the world towards the Chinese causes those in the Chinese Politburo to attack Russia, where enormous gold and oil finds have just taken place. In this maneuver, China hopes to better strengthen it's position as a world power and more dominant political force. President Ryan and US armed forces come to Russia's aid and a riveting war takes place.
What I didn't like about this book was that it takes so long to really get the real plot of the novel, which is the war between China and Russia. Clancy spends about half the book building up to this climax with the developments of the subplots concerning the assassination attempt and murder of clergy. These elements are entertaining and important to the story, but it seems like much less time could be devoted to their unfolding. As always, Clancy provides a lot of background detail which considerably adds to this book's bulk. It isn't until you've read over 600 pages that you really get to the war.
What was good about the book is that once you do get to the war which occurs, the action is pretty much non-stop and very entertaing.Read more ›
Now - some criticisms that prevented me from giving him 5 stars: Clancy seems to use the characters' code names (like "swordsman" for Jack Ryan, "surgeon" for his wife, etc.) for whole entire chapters that I think detracts from the readability of the novel. It was to the point where I had to make a list with the characters' names and their corresponding code names so I would know who was doing what and to whom. It was rather tedious on that point.
Another point which I had once thought unworthy of Mr. Clancy is his very thinly veiled racism toward Asians in general and Chinese in particular. While in his other novel, "Debt of Honor" the Japanese were largely portrayed in a fairly neutral light, (except of course, the chief bad guys) his other novel "Without Remorse" referred to the Vietnamese as "barbarians," "arrogant, cruel, and stupid." While that should have hinted at Clancy's racist tinge, he saves his most vituperous descriptions of Asians for this novel - describing the Chinese as "Klingons" and generally giving the reader the impression that the Chinese are something other than human, with other than human motives driving them. In this aspect, I am rather disappointed in Mr. Clancy.
As for Frank Owen from Chicago, IL who wrote a earlier review, he says "Additionally, I am disappointed by the increasingly frequent usage of vulgarity in Clancy's books (especially Rainbow Six) as it does not seem necessary and certainly reduces the number of people to whom I would reccomend the book."
Hey Frank welcome to the real world where real people speak real words, not high educated harvard english. A Special Ops team member might speak more vulgarities than 5 ordinary gangbangers in a day, let alone during a operation
B&D also suffers a few other things. A promising plot line concerning the personal life of a spy in China that is detailed in the first half of the book is pretty much left out of the last, oh, 500 pages. A second plot line involving Russian spy trackers gets a little more extended coverage but in the end it, too, is abandoned. The ending has little or no umph, unlike EO where there was at least a few really good stand up and cheer moments to wrap things up. And finally, while the first half of the book builds up a considerable expectation that the good guys might have their backs to the wall, the final half makes you wonder what all the fuss was about.
The best I can say is that the book is a good time filler in the way all Clancy/Jack Ryan novels are. Unfortunately its not much more than that.
Most recent customer reviews
Th ebook was published a long time ago so all its premises are obsolete and vastly contradicted by the last 15 years. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Anton
As usual it is uncanny how Tom Clancy weaves together exciting geo-political thrillers that often have parts that turn into real life in the future. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Tredies
This was first TC book I read. What a wonderful surprise. Long book yes, but a good book is never long enough. Sadly, this is the last book written by Tom Clancy himself. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Teresa
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