The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan (3))

 
9781486209354: The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan (3))

In a rolling sea off the coast of South America, a target disappears in a puff of green light. In the Soviet hills of Dushanbe near the Afghanistan border, an otherworldly array of pillars and domes rises into the night. To the two greatest nations on earth, no contest is more urgent than the race to build the first Star Wars missile defense system, and no one knows that more than the two men charged with assessing the Soviets' capabilities: Colonel Mikhail Filitov of the Soviet Union, an old-line warrior distrusted by the army's new inner circle of technocrats, and CIA analyst Jack Ryan, hero of the Red October affair. Each must use all his craft to arrive at the truth, but Filitov gets there first ‒ and that's when all hell breaks loose. Because Filitov, code-named Cardinal, is America's highest agent in the Kremlin, and he is about to be betrayed to the KGB. His rescue could spell the difference between peace and war, and it is up to Jack Ryan to accomplish it.

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Review:

In The Cardinal of the Kremlin, Tom Clancy's cutting-edge research takes readers inside Soviet and American attempts to develop a Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI). The Soviets have begun successful tests of their system, located near the border of Afghanistan. Americans race to implement their own system, Tea Clipper, so as to maintain strategic parity.

Cardinal of the Kremlin, however, is more about the shifting allegiances of the intelligence community and the unstable world of late 1980s U.S.-Soviet relations than it is about military technology. Colonel Mikhail Filitov is the Cardinal, the CIA's ear in the Kremlin and a steady source of the latest Soviet secrets. Passing microfilm through a chain of agents that begins in a Turkish bath, the Cardinal exposes a double agent in the American SDI program. Unfortunately, the KGB also knows that they have a mole in their midst. In tightly crafted narrative that rapidly cuts from the Kremlin to Afghanistan to Washington, D.C., the Americans rush to pull Filitov and his associates out before his cover is blown. Jack Ryan returns as the moral centre in a world often dominated by egos and politicking, and John Clark, ex-Navy SEAL and current CIA agent makes his first appearance in a Clancy novel (though his early life is chronicled in Without Remorse).

Clancy hits his stride in this outing, meshing a plot that earns the name "thriller" with bang-on depictions of SDI systems and a varied and interesting cast of characters. Moving beyond black-and-white depictions of the "evil empire", he delves into the altogether greyer world where political ideals meet reality. --Patrick O'Kelley

Review:

From the reviews of The Cardinal of the Kremlin:

‘The best of the Jack Ryan series!’
New York Times

‘The USSR scenes are as good as anything in Gorky Park. Tom Clancy has written a great spy novel.’
Bob Woodward, Washington Post

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