At the end of the prologue to Clear and Present Danger, Clancy writes, "And so began something that had not quite begun and would not soon end, with many people in many places moving off in directions and on missions which they all mistakenly thought they understood. That was just as well. The future was too fearful for contemplation, and beyond the expected, illusory finish lines were things fated by the decisions made this morning--and, once decided, best unseen." In Clear and Present Danger nothing is as clear as it may seem.
The president, unsatisfied with the success of his "war on drugs," decides that he wants some immediate success. But after John Clark's covert strike team is deployed to Colombia for Operation Showboat, the drug lords strike back taking several civilian casualties. The chief executive's polls plummet. He orders Ritter to terminate their unofficial plan and leave no traces. Jack Ryan, who has just been named CIA deputy director of intelligence is enraged when he discovers that has been left out of the loop of Colombian operations. Several of America's most highly trained soldiers are stranded in an unfinished mission that, according to all records, never existed. Ryan decides to get the men out.
Ultimately, Clear and Present Danger is about good conscience, law, and politics, with Jack Ryan and CIA agent John Clark as its dual heroes. Ryan relentlessly pursues what he knows is right and legal, even if it means confronting the president of the United States. Clark is the perfect soldier, but a man who finally holds his men higher than the orders of any careless commander.
Along with the usual, stunning array of military hardware and the latest techno-gadgets, Clear and Present Danger further develops the relationships and characters that Clancy fans have grown to love. Admiral James Greer passes the CIA torch to his pupil, Ryan. Mr. Clark and Chavez meet for the first time. Other recurring characters like Robert Ritter and "the President" add continuity to Clancy's believable, alternate reality. This is Clancy at his best. --Patrick O'Kelley
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: A Nice Change of Pace..., August 23, 2003 Reviewer: freakiest_84074 from Grantsville, UT USA This novel was a nice change of pace for Clancy. Rather than attack the Russians (though I did miss Sergey Nicolaovich Golovko), he chose to go to a problem that is still around after the fall of the Soviet Union and the end o the cold war. So, just to begin, if you are not a Cold Warrior or up to history in USSR/USA relations, don't worry, this novel is more for you. The thing I greatly enjoyed about this book was, although John clark appeared in the Cardinal of the Kremlin (by far my favorite Clancy novel), he does not interact with Jack Ryan until now. This novel also builds up more of Clark's past as we can see more of teh fact that he does have a military backround and that he does covert missions. To further go along with Clark, we are introduced to Domingo "Ding" Chavez in his military days - Ninja's rule the night! I enjoy the way Clancy writes about Ding because it seemed as if his initial idea was to only have Ding in this novel, so most of Ding's history is revealed now, including his LA backround. Now, to an okay character in this novel, Jack Ryan. This novel places Ryan in a more political role. Unlike the Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and the Cardinal of the Kremlin, Ryan is not the hero of this story. Of course, Ryan helps guide the story along, but Aside from giving the reader access to the CIA, Ryan is only here to demonstrate that people in new posistions are generally used to cover the [bottoms] of the people in the posistions above them. I think that the only down side of this novel is Admiral James Greer. What Clancy does to this character is this aweful. I really wish the Greer could have continued on into later novels, but most of CIA's upper people don't go past this book, as you will find in reading the Sum of All Fears. All in all, I would really give this book good marks. As always, even if you have seen the movie, the book is a different story. The only thing that might deter people is the langauge. This book deals a lot with soldiers, so you will get the lingo of the soldiers.