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The Teeth of The Tiger

by Tom Clancy

The Teeth of The Tiger by Tom Clancy X
The Teeth of The Tiger by Tom Clancy
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2003, 431 pages
    Aug 2004, 496 pages

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NDR Series-5

Well, I never thought I'd be giving Clancy a 3 for one of his books... but this one just doesn't hack it like the old ones.
There are two storylines in this book, which link up halfway through. The first is with the bad guys. A Saudi terrorist organization like al-Qaeda wants to insert terrorist teams in the U.S. to strike "middle America" and make all Americans realize that they are targets, not just the high-value ones in NY or DC. In order to do this, they pass a deal with the drug Cartel down in Columbia; the terrorists will use Cartel assets to infiltrate the U.S, in return for which the Cartel will use terrorist assets in Europe to open up a new drug market.
The second storyline concerns the good guys. Jack Ryan has retired from the Presidency, but before leaving, he has had one of his friends set up a group called Hendley Associates, whose job is to gather intelligence and act on it to protect the homeland. Without any government control. Jack Jr is now out of college and begins working for Hendley Associates. Eventually, this leads him (and his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso) to the terrorists.
What was wrong with this book?
Mainly, the problem is the spirit behind the book. What is good about Clancy is his optimism - all his previous novels, though excellent thrillers, also showed the progression of America and the world towards a better state. In this book, however, everything is gone.
Jack Ryan is retired, Robby Jackson, who should have been elected after him, was assassinated before the election, and Kealty, the dirty politician from Executive Orders, is now President. So all of Jack Ryans' attempts to reform Washington are down the drain. In the Holy Land, the peace treaty from The Sum of all Fears has been destroyed. Mainly, Clancy destroyed everything that his previous novels had built - even Rainbow, Clark and Chavez, without which I couldn't have pictured a war on terror story, are gone.
Sounds like Clancy just wanted to start over with a whole new plotline. The trouble is, in the process, he destroyed all that his old books had built. He could have just started a whole new series.
andrew peters

I just must comment on the poison used in "Teeth of the Tiger." Succinylcholine, or "sux" from here on out was the paralytic mentioned.

As an anesthesiologist, I was very dissapointed in the research and advice obtained on this drug. Mr. Clancy writes a great story, and we have all come to trust him as an military authority. In fact, if I was not a medical person, I would not have noticed, and it would not have bothered me. But I am, and it did, so I will share the facts:

First, 5 mgs of sux will not kill anyone. They may feel weak and anxious, and it may be a bit hard to breath, but they will survive. One of the biggest mistakes in Anesthesia is giving the wrong drug, and the literature is rich with anecdotal people give 10 or 20 mg of sux instead of a sedative, and other than some weakness ands muscle twitching, maybe some shortness of breath - they recover. And, these doses are given directly into the bloodstream! (IV) Clancy is right, the drug is rapidly metabolized, but as a result of this characteristic, the drug is gone in these doses before brain death occurs. Expecially in a young, healthy "operative" or subject.

Remember also, In the novel, the drug is administered subcutaneously (under the skin and not in a vessel) where the onset is even slower and less dramatic. At even much larger doses, it is absorbed so slowly that our bodies can metabolize it before the scenario in the book would occur.

Maybe 100 mg subcutaneously given by a pen would be lethal, but that would constitute such a large amount that you would need a pen the size of Buick.

In addition, were a lethal dose somehow administered, anybody nearby familiar with simple CPR could maintain the patient until the drug wears off, in about 10 to 15 minutes.

If those guys really showed up and intubated the bad guy, and he still had a pulse, he would have survived.

I can understand the importance to the story line of finding a poison that leaves no trace and is instantly lethal, but Clancy would have been better off making one up.

A new aspiring author might appreciate it if you read his or her newest effort and say, "I've read worse." When it comes to reading veteran-novelist Tom Clancy's latest release, "The Teeth of the Tiger", "I've read worse" is the best thing that one can say about it.

This book is way below the par that Clancy has set for himself. In the past, he has been pretty good with portraying realistic characters, responding in realistic ways to incredible situations by using intense charactization based on his research. "Tiger" is mired in ridiculous coincidences and characters that are so cardboard that one might wonder what happens when one of them gets wet.

The dialogue is repetitive, annoying and at many times serves little purpose. The action lacks . . . action. The on edge moments are very few and far between. What's worse is that it is only about half of the story that I guess will come in the next novel. Take my advice and make sure that you have a library card for rest.
Ryan Tumbler

Worst of the series
Reads like a right-wing shopping list, something that was already the case with "Rainbow Six" and "The Bear and the Dragon", but those at least had a semblance of a plot, to keep it going. The premise of TOTT is set in a conversation between Jack Ryan, Jr, and his new boss, former Senator Hendley. Amidst jabs at Clinton's sex scandals and opponents of the death penalty, Hendley explains that despite former President Ryan's best efforts, the CIA is still a broken system, due to the senators and congressmen who constantly stab it in the back and deny it funding. The reason CIA can't work, simply put, is that government is too inefficient. The solution - privatize intelligence. Hendley runs a privately funded anti-terrorist agency which Congress and the White House know nothing about, because that's the only way to defend America. I swear I'm not making this up.

The rest of the plot is fairly simple. 1) Terrorists attack Americans. 2) Jack kills the terrorists. Over and out. None of the complexity and intrigue that made, say, Cardinal of the Kremlin. The rest of the book is largely taken up by Clancy's ideological ravings. The evils of Congress. The evils of the EU. The terrorist hatred for our freedoms. The icing on the cake was a three or four page insight into the mind of Osama Bin Laden, which ended with the latter praising Ronald Reagan for destroying the Soviet Union. Um, Tom? Al-Qaeda would never credit anyone other than *themselves* for bringing down the USSR. The whole premise of the war is that if the jihad could bring down one superpower, they can bring down the other.

Character development; again, failure. Jack Jr. is a rehash of his father, right down to his college and major. The other characters, as usual, are cardboard cutouts who again do little more than stand around and agree with one another, saying and thinking the same things over and over.

Relevance to international affairs; well, he finally put together a plot that wasn't commie-smashing Cold War nostalgia. The idea of Ryan in the war on terror would actually have been fairly interesting if he'd developed it better - sadly, as stated above, he didn't.

So overall, no, I wouldn't recommend you buy this or even rent it. Read some of his earlier books, the ones that aren't listed on BookBrowse - anything between Hunt for Red October and Executive Orders was a true masterpiece. The best thing about this book, however, was that it was his last. RIP.

I have never been so disappointed in a book as I was with this one. The biggest disappointment being that Clancy centered this novel around Jack Ryan, Jr. and his cousins, making only vague references to Jack Sr and other well known and highly admired characters he has developed over the years such as John Clark and Chavez. For example, a completely unbelievable event happening to Robby, referred to in the past tense, that should have occupied a major portion of a much better novel. I could perhaps have accepted this possible future series, if there had been a transitional book to span the years he left out such as Robby's event, Jack's final years as president, John Clark, etc.

In addition to my above explained disappointment, this was for the most part a boring, poorly written book filled with way too much personal comptemplation by most of the characters.

Please somebody advise Clancy to go back and write that transitional book. I am ready to retire as a Clancy fan.
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