Saturday, February 04, 2017

True Faith and Allegiance: Gets a Hearty "Pick it Up!" From Me

Book Review: Tom Clancy True Faith and Allegiance by Mark Greaney
Version: Library Hard Cover

True Faith and Allegiance is the fourth Tom Clancy novel (Jack Ryan series) by Mark Greaney, and maybe the best. It's certainly the longest. It follows Command Authority (written with the late Tom Clancy), Full Force and Effect, and Commander in Chief, involving the same set of characters. The previous four involved Russian intrigue; True Faith and Allegiance involves ISIS attacks on America through Romanian and Saudi Arabian subterfuge, and it's written with the same realism and backdrop of today's national security headlines.

In these series, Jack Ryan is a former CIA analyst (but often turned operative) who is now the president of the United States, and each of these stories could be pulled from today's news headlines. If you want to know what's going on inside Russia, read these stories. Much of the intrigue behind the 2016 presidential election could be explained in them. If you want to know what hackers could do with a breach of our national intelligence and how ISIS could profit from it, read True Faith and Allegiance. Greaney is a master of using research to bring detail to his work and build authenticity in his stories, making each book a riveting read. Although, I found the action didn't get really exciting until chapter 57. Still, building up to chapter 57 was an interesting and intriguing read!

While Jack Ryan is president, most of the stories involve his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., an intelligence analyst (but often turned operative) who works for a private consulting company that aids the CIA, State Department, FBI, and Homeland Security to keep the nation safe. Part of the tension comes from the worry the president has for the safety of his son. The other part comes from the pace and action throughout the novel, sandwiched between intel you receive as a reader between the good guys and the bad guys as plots play out, actions are taken and countered, and lives are endangered. You as a reader are brought along as a close observer, watching the whole affair unfold in vivid detail. And it's hard to put the novel down once you are engaged.

Jack Junior is accompanied by a host of likable supporting characters who keep him safe or help him solve puzzles and mysteries and the dangerous situations he inevitably gets himself into. And you're right there with him, in the thick of the fight.

I said I thought this was the best of them so far. Perhaps it's because the thick of the action actually takes place in America. It involves place we can all associate with, cities we know or have heard about. And if we've read the other books in the series, characters we've come to know and care about. In the end, the bad guys get what's coming to them, too, which is always satisfying.

A good spy novel is always worth a read, and Truth Faith and Allegiance gets a hearty "Pick it up!" from me.