Sunday, June 5, 2011

Book #37

Dead or Alive, by Tom Clancy. Unabridged audio.

In the last decade or so, Tom Clancy has been busy building his multi-media conglomerate, from video games to movies to licensed book series. But approximately seven years have passed since he has added to the core of his works, the novels of the Jack Ryan universe.

This is the first novel in the "Ryanverse" to have a co-author (Grant Blackwood), which is a technique he has previously reserved for his ancillary series, such Op-Center and NetForce. But he seems to be following in the footsteps of other big-name authors by franchising his works out to enable him to produce novels more frequently. The next Ryanverse novel (with a different co-author) is due out in June 2011, just seven months after this was released.

But on to the book itself. Enough of the stable of characters I like from past Clancy novels are here -- Jack Sr., Ding, John Clark -- but I am not a big fan of Jack Jr., who is taking a more prominent role in the novels. There is not a lot of character development, except perhaps in the case of Jack Jr., but the story overall is interesting.

I am guessing that the novel would have been more moving to me if I had read it when it first came out, as world events have overtaken the novel. In the continuity of the Ryanverse, the 9/11 attacks were carried out by "the Emir," and this novel involves attempts to capture and arrest him. This would have been more emotionally impactful had Osama Bin Laden still been alive when I read the book. I am intrigued how Clancy will hadle this in the next novel, or the one to follow if it is too late to change the upcoming manuscript.

I am still "in" with the Clancy novels, but if I sense any quality decline as the works are spread out among a range of co-authors, I will consider jumping off.

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