Nobody Lives Forever


Title:                  Nobody Lives Forever

Author:                John Gardner

Gardner, John (1986). Nobody Lives Forever. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons

LCCN:    85030086

PR6057.A63 N6 1986

Subjects

Date Updated:  March 12, 2015

If anyone does live forever, it’s likely to be the definitive swashbuckler invented by the late Ian Fleming and starred in Gardner’s fifth tale of James Bond’s feats. Secret agent 007 is driving through France when he learns that his demonic foe Tamil Rahani will pay a fortune to whomever delivers Bond’s head on a silver plate. The entire thug population of Europe is competing for the prize, and the intended victim is lucky that two luscious and daring females are traveling with him. They rescue him from certain death repeatedly as he races to meet his housekeeper, May, and the loyal secretary, Miss Moneypenny, at the clinic in Austria where May is recovering from pneumonia. Holding the winning hand, however, Rahani’s gang has abducted the women and 007 must risk decapitation to save them. The mission takes the hero and his bodyguards to an island off the Florida coast where Rahani is waiting with an authentic guillotine in an impregnable castle. In true comic-book fashion, the gory chapters detail the horrors that kill almost everyone except Bond who obviously won’t die until he wants to.

 

Dead or Alive


Title:                  Dead or Alive

Author:                Tom Clancy

Clancy, Tom (2010) with Grant Blackwood. Dead or Alive. New York: Berkley Books

LCCN:    2010027065

PS3553.L245 D425 2010

Subjects

Date Updated:  March 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews has the following review.

Good guys versus sneering terrorists, yet again: classic Clancy, a blend of stick-figure storytelling, rightist op-ed and tech manual for death-dealing gadgets.

The most interesting figure, and the only one who has even a layer or two of skin by way of characterization, appears first in Clancy’s (The Hunt for Red October, 1984, etc.) latest. Sam Driscoll is a tough-as-nails sergeant, a Ranger, now bearded and lanky-haired, ready for action at the caves of Tora Bora hunting you-know-who. When a few mujahedeen get wasted along the way, Kealty, the namby-pamby and probably illegitimate president who has succeeded President Jack Ryan—who probably should have a trademark symbol accompanying his name—gets all weepy, while politically correct military lawyers come over all legal-like about the rules of engagement.

Ryan, for his part, gets ticked (“This idiot Kealty doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing. What’s worse, he doesn’t care”). Meanwhile his namesake, Jack Jr., springs into action at what one supposes to be the mark-two successor to the CIA, a super-secret agency known as The Campus, “which was officially out of all the loops, which was sort of the point.” And why out of the loop? Well, obviously, because liberal presidents like Kealty (fill in whatever name you wish) are loyal only to themselves, not to the country—and bad timing for that, since, well, after all, “Islamic fundamentalists had declared war on America and her allies.” The baddest of ’em all, the Emir, thinks he’s Saladin—and, of course, it’s up to the likes of Ryan Jr. and Driscoll and the other heroes of the piece to mount a crusade against him. The infantile vision of politics aside, much of the book reads like a Pentagon white paper (“Of all the feasibility studies the URC had done in the early stages of Lotus, the most troubling and nebulous question had involved the facility’s on-site security, an issue that neither the DOE nor NRC had publicly addressed”). There are some nifty explosions, though.

If reality were a comic book or a Stallone script, this would be a useful road map. As it is, it’ll be gobbled up like a Happy Meal, Ronald Reagan’s “perfect yarn” franchised into neatly packaged commodity.

My own problem with Clancy is in spite of his really great storytelling ability, he is so far to the right he paints liberals as bleeding hearts and conservatives as the saviors of the Republic. Neither is on target. I wish he would be a bit less ideological in his books. I just finished the follow-on to this book, Locked On.

Locked On


Title:                  Locked On

Author:                Tom Clancy

Clancy, Tom (2011) with Mark Greaney. Locked On. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

LCCN:    2012371493

PS3553.L245 L63 2011

Subjects

Date Updated:  March 13, 2015

This book is a follow-on to Clancy’s Dead or Alive[1]. Clancy gets more and more ideological as he writes more books. Churchill once said that a man is a fool if he is not a liberal when young and conservative when he is old. I guess Clancy is either so far right because he is old, or because he figured his readership (people who buy books) want his liberals to be namby-pamby, and his conservatives to be heroes.

Though his father had been reluctant to become a heroic field operative, Jack Ryan Jr. wants nothing more. Privately training with special forces, he’s honing his combat skills to continue his work within the Campus, hunting down and eliminating terrorists wherever he can—even as Jack Ryan Sr. campaigns to become President of the United States again.

But what neither father nor son knows is that the political and personal have just become equally dangerous. A devout enemy of Jack Sr. launches a privately-funded vendetta to discredit him and connect him to a mysterious killing in his longtime ally John Clark’s past. All they have to do is catch him.

With Clark on the run, it’s up to Jack Jr. to stop a growing threat emerging in the Middle East, where a corrupt Pakistani general has entered into a deadly pact with a fanatical terrorist to procure four nuclear warheads they can use to blackmail any world power into submission—or face annihilation.

Clancy wrote this one with an intelligence studies wonk (or so Mark Greaney’s bio on the book flap would attest) with firearms and combat training from around the world. The novel picks up the Jack Ryan family saga without missing a beat from Dead or Alive. Ryan Sr. is trying for a return to the White House while son Jack has become deeply enmeshed in the anti-terror forays of The Campus, the off-the-books covert intelligence unit staffed by alums of various other Clancy novels.

[1] Clancy, Tom (2010) with Grant Blackwood. Dead or Alive. New York: Berkley Books

 

This book is a follow-on to Clancy’s Dead or Alive. Clancy gets more and more ideological as he writes more books. Churchill once said that a man is a fool if he is not a liberal when young and conservative when he is old. I guess Clancy is either so far right because he is old, or because he figured his readership (people who buy books) want his liberals to be namby-pamby, and his conservatives to be heroes.

Though his father had been reluctant to become a heroic field operative, Jack Ryan Jr. wants nothing more. Privately training with special forces, he’s honing his combat skills to continue his work within the Campus, hunting down and eliminating terrorists wherever he can—even as Jack Ryan Sr. campaigns to become President of the United States again.

But what neither father nor son knows is that the political and personal have just become equally dangerous. A devout enemy of Jack Sr. launches a privately-funded vendetta to discredit him and connect him to a mysterious killing in his longtime ally John Clark’s past. All they have to do is catch him.

With Clark on the run, it’s up to Jack Jr. to stop a growing threat emerging in the Middle East, where a corrupt Pakistani general has entered into a deadly pact with a fanatical terrorist to procure four nuclear warheads they can use to blackmail any world power into submission—or face annihilation.

Clancy wrote this one with an intelligence studies wonk (or so Mark Greaney’s bio on the book flap would attest) with firearms and combat training from around the world. The novel picks up the Jack Ryan family saga without missing a beat from Dead or Alive. Ryan Sr. is trying for a return to the White House while son Jack has become deeply enmeshed in the anti-terror forays of The Campus, the off-the-books covert intelligence unit staffed by alums of various other Clancy novels.