Cardinal of the Kremlin

Title:                  Cardinal of the Kremlin

Author:                 Tom Clancy

Clancy, Tom (1988). Cardinal of the Kremlin. New York: Putnam

PS3553.L245 C37 1988


Date Updated:  November 6, 2015

This book is Tom Clancy writing at his best. He has not gone overboard with his ultra-rightist politic al philosophy, and has written a great story, one that conceivably could have happened. The characters, dialog, and action are top-grade Clancy. He fully scores with taut political intrigue and suspenseful military action. Clancy leaves out nothing. The scope and detail that Clancy worked into this novel is mind boggling. He sets up a huge number of variables and then works through to the conclusion of every one of those variables.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin is author Tom Clancy’s fourth novel, and the third about Jack Ryan and his friends and colleagues. Clancy has a number of future stories in mind as he writes, for he sets up future books as he writes this one. In later books there are many references to the Cardinal.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin is so large in its scope and detail that it is difficult to summarize the plot here. Dr. Jack Ryan drives this novel, first and foremost. He is, of course, the well known lead character from The Hunt for Red October and Patriot Games. As the novel begins, we find that Dr. Ryan is still working as an analyst for the CIA’s DDI, Deputy Director of Intelligence. He’s presently trying to work up a paper based the current negotiations between the United States and the USSR on ICBMs.

We’re then taken to the “Archer” who is an Afghanistan resistance fighter and part of the Mujahideen. Owing to what the Soviets have done to him and his family, he has no love lost for them. They even captured his son and took him to the Soviet Union for “reeducation,” hence his intense desire to fight and kill as many Soviets as he can.

From there we’re introduced to the “Cardinal” of the Kremlin, Misha Filitov who is a Colonel in the Soviet Army and a three time Hero of the Soviet Union from his days as a tank commander in the Great War. Hinted at in previous Clancy novels, this Colonel has been disillusioned by the way of life in the Soviet Union that has caused the death of his wife and his son, hence his having been turned by American agents. In his present position with the Defense Ministry, he has been passing Soviets secrets to the Americans for thirty years.

The story unfolds in a credible way, and the ending is not obvious at any point in the book, although the experienced intelligence buff may glean what is likely to happen. It’s a book I keep and enjoy reading, as I do all of Clancy’s books, although I wish he would not be so in your face about his ultra-conservative political views.