That’s Steve McQueen from the old Western series Wanted: Dead or Alive. The book under consideration is Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive, and is based on the same premise: men working outside of the regular legal authority to catch or kill bad guys.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Dead or Alive

Clancy seems to have suffered writer’s block after 9/11. His most recent novel, prior to this one, was published in 2002-3. For this one he also enlisted the aid of a collaborator, who shares the credit with him. Clancy in this and the previous novel, Teeth of the Tiger, inserted real events, 9/11, into what’s called the Ryanverse, the universe that has Jack Ryan and associates in it. This makes for a bit of confusion as to chronology since Clinton and Bush are not mentioned. Presumably the events of 9/11 took place under a fictional president.

The principal villain here is the Emir, who stands in for Osama bin Laden. Now many people, including myself, are not altogether trustful of the Saudis. Clancy, however, gives them more credit and more respect than I’m inclined to. He seems to accept the idea that Islam has been hijacked by the Islamo-fascists and terrorists.

The Emir has set in motion a number of plots that will culminate in a major disaster, and it is the task of a group known as the Campus to prevent it, and to capture the Emir.

I haven’t checked all of Clancy’s references, but I did check two. One is for an organization devoted to steganography (concealed writing), and the other is to a drug that is used as a rodenticide (rat-killer) that acts as a blood thinner. Both the organization and the poison are real. So presumably he’s done some homework.

Next up, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection on The Practice of the Presence of God.

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