National (In-)Security: Fifty Notable American Espionage Novels: 6-7.


Clancy, Tom.  The Cardinal of the Kremlin.  New York: Putnam, 1984.

Tom Clancy’s novels have proved so popular that they have spawned a large number and range of imitators.  Bridging the action-adventure and espionage genres, Clancy’s novels have come to define a new genre, the techno-thriller.  Most of Clancy’s novels have featured C.I.A. analyst Jack Ryan, a stalwart character whose strongly fixed moral sense complements his very flexible responses to crises.  But the readers’ attachment to Ryan has accrued over many novels.  The individual novels are driven more by intricate and suspenseful plots than by complex characterizations.  And the signature feature of the novels has been Clancy’s knowledge of or ability to anticipate cutting-edge technological advancements.

Clancy’s most well known novel has probably been The Hunt for Red October (1984), but his most conventional espionage novel has been The Cardinal of the Kremlin.  Focusing on the announced U.S…

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