Like meeting up with an old friend who’s only back in town for a few days, there’s nothing quite like catching up with Jack Ryan, America’s favorite president, who returns at a time when our country needs him the most.
After a long career in public services that began as Marine Officer before transitioning to the CIA, and ultimately the Oval Office, President Jack Ryan has seen it all. Very little surprises him these days, which is why the current situation that’s broken out in Iran, where protesters are beginning to cause real change, bothers him. Not because the Iranian people may finally taste real freedom after taking on an oppressive regime, but because he prefers a cautious approach before throwing support behind the little-known rebels, whereas the rest of the world is blinded by their excitement at the prospects of forming a Persian Spring.
In-country, a former Russian spy named Erik Dovzhenko chooses to defect, leaving Iran and traveling to Afghanistan where he meets up with an ex-lover of Jack Ryan Jr., who is quickly brought up to speed on a dangerous situation that has Junior and his fellow Campus teammates scrambling to track down two Russian nuclear missiles that have been hijacked and fallen off the grid.
POTUS, meanwhile, deals with a number of natural disasters at home. Floods are destroying parts of the country, mainly Louisiana and Mississippi, while a deadly flu virus runs rampant elsewhere. Though serious, First Lady Cathy Ryan, who happens to be an accomplished ophthalmologist, is disturbed by fearmongering rhetoric spewed by Senator Michelle Chadwick. Likewise, Ryan has his own issues with Chadwick, who, when she’s not shouting Fake News into every microphone within a twenty-mile radius, has taken aim at Jack personally, hellbent on bringing down his administration.
As Jack battles political adversaries on the home front and a messy situation in Cameroon, things take a turn for John Clark and the members of the Campus when one of their colleagues is abducted, infinitely complicating things because they now must hunt whoever has taken the rogue nukes and attempt to rescue one of their own before it’s too late.
With everything going on, it’s clear that a conspiracy is rising out of the Middle East, but there’s no rulebook on fighting a faceless enemy, leaving it up to Jack Ryan to write his own and connect the dots before things reach a point of no return and the balance of power in the region is forever altered.
Since coming on board for last year’s Tom Clancy Power and Empire, Marc Cameron has quickly left his mark on this iconic franchise. After twenty-five previous novels set in the Ryanverse, the challenge for Cameron (and Mike Maden, who has done an outstanding job with the Jack Ryan Junior books) is finding a way to keep things fresh moving forward. Essentially, minus a brief stint where he enjoyed semi-retirement after serving his first term as president, Jack Ryan has now sat behind the Resolute desk since Executive Powers (1996). While he was never really an action star even in his younger days, he is definitely not running and gunning now, which requires sharper writing and a tighter plot to hold readers’ attention without as many explosives and firefights to distract them.
Though the Campus members provide some sizzle, Cameron relies more on his deftly plotted, high-stakes scenarios — while further developing Tom Clancy’s beloved characters — to keep readers interested. Whether it’s seeing the playful moments between Jack and Cathy in bed to start the morning or taking John Clark back into the field and giving him some great one-liners, Cameron utilizes the deep cast of characters at his disposal brilliantly. Longtime fans will be happy to know that under Cameron, “the leader of the free world’s still got it” (in more ways than one).
Marc Cameron dazzled Clancy loyalists with Power and Empire, but now he’s kicking it up a notch for his next book . . . and Tom Clancy’s Oath of Office is going to blow readers away.
Author: Marc Cameron
Series: Jack Ryan #19
Pages: 528 (Hardcover)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 8.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.