In Jack Ryan Jr.’s world, men do 200 hundred push-ups as soon as they wake up in the morning. Shapely hit-women crawl into bed with nefarious Communist overlords. Phones are tracked, and missiles are located. Noses are bloodied—so many noses are bloodied. Tom Clancy Line of Sight is the latest addition to the Tom Clancy universe, as Knoxville writer Mike Maden continues Jack Ryan’s legacy through his handsome son.
The younger Ryan is tasked with two simple objectives. His employer—Hendley Associates, the financial front of a secret black-ops government agency known as The Campus—is sending him to Ljubljana, Slovenia, to do some financial work. Cathy Ryan, a well-known ophthalmologist, makes a more personal request of her son: to deliver a letter to a Bosnian girl whose eye she saved many years earlier. What easy errands for a super-fit, financial analyst who also happens to be the son of the president of the United States!
Enter the Iron Syndicate, a Molotov cocktail of Eastern Europe’s most heinous mob bosses and crooked government officials. Its leader, Vladimir Vasilev, still wields ultimate power from the hospital bed where he is dying of cancer. Vasilev’s final wish? Jack Ryan Jr.’s head on a platter.
This directive sets into motion a colorful cast of villains throughout the Middle East, but the action really begins when Jack encounters Aida Curic, the mind-blowingly beautiful owner of a tourist company and refugee-resettlement organization. Aida is as passionate about helping people as she is pretty, and after a few days of volunteering and touring the city together, Ryan feels the only immediate risk to his life is heartbreak. But as their love grows, so too does the danger. Through countless run-ins with border guards, crooked police officers, and hit-women, he discovers that he—along with the whole world—is in danger.
Balkan Al-Qaeda members are planning to blow up a stadium of 700,000 Orthodox Serbs who have travelled to Serajevo for a renewal ceremony. If Ryan and his team of computer hackers and government operatives can’t find the missiles that Al-Qaeda has pointed at the stadium in time, the massacre is bound to send the world into WWIII.
Through high-octane fight scenes, long lists of weaponry, and government-level technological hacks, Ryan finds his formerly short list of objectives has become a seemingly insurmountable conflict with global consequences. Will he prove his patriotism by risking everything to find the missiles? Or will his commitment to his new relationship cloud his judgment?
Tom Clancy Line of Sight is Mike Maden’s second contribution to the Clancy franchise. This novel draws heavily on Maden’s Ph.D. in International Relations, using ample space to delve into foreign affairs. But Maden proves he can carry the mantle of the king of techno-thrillers through his extensive use of suspense-building fight scenes and tech jargon like, “He then sent that code to a MIFARE PEGODA II 13.56 megahertz RFID reader-writer device stored for just such a purpose on the Hendley Associates Gulfstream.”
The genre is in good hands: Tom Clancy Line of Sight‘s constantly shifting locations and rich history deliver for Clancy-lovers everywhere. With Maden at the helm, Jack Ryan Jr. can count on a secure, and dangerous, future.
Sarah Carter is a high-school English teacher in Lebanon, Tennessee. She recently earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the Sewanee School of Letters.