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The Cardinal of the Kremlin (A Jack Ryan Novel, Book 4) [Format Kindle]

Tom Clancy
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Descriptions du produit


Two men possess vital information on Russias Star Wars missile defense system. One of them is CARDINAL--America's highest agent in the Kremlin--and he's about to be terminated by the KGB. The other one is the American who can save CARDINAL and lead the world to the brink of peace ... or war. Here is author Tom Clancy's heart-stopping masterpiece--a riveting novel about one of the most intriguing issues of our time.


Threats -- Old, New, and Timeless

They called him the Archer. It was an honorable title, though his countrymen had cast aside their reflex bows over a century before, as soon as they had learned about firearms. In part, the name reflected the timeless nature of the struggle. The first of the Western invaders -- for that was how they thought of them -- had been Alexander the Great, and more had followed since. Ultimately, all had failed. The Afghan tribesmen held their Islamic faith as the reason for their resistance, but the obstinate courage of these men was as much a part of their racial heritage as their dark pitiless eyes.

The Archer was a young man, and an old one. On those occasions that he had both the desire and the opportunity to bathe in a mountain stream, anyone could see the youthful muscles on his thirty-year-old body. They were the smooth muscles of one for whom a thousand-foot climb over bare rock was as unremarkable a part of life as a stroll to the mailbox.

It was his eyes that were old. The Afghans are a handsome people whose forthright features and fair skin suffer quickly from wind and sun and dust, too often making them older than their years. For the Archer, the damage had not been done by wind. A teacher of mathematics until three years before, a college graduate in a country where most deemed it enough to be able to read the holy Koran, he'd married young, as was the custom in his land, and fathered two children. But his wife and daughter were dead, killed by rockets fired from a Sukhoi-24 attack-fighter. His son was gone. Kidnapped. After the Soviets had flattened the village of his wife's family with air power, their ground troops had come, killing the remaining adults and sweeping up all the orphans for shipment to the Soviet Union, where they would be educated and trained in other modern ways. All because his wife had wanted her mother to see the grandchildren before she died, the Archer remembered, all because a Soviet patrol had been fired upon a few kilometers from the village. On the day he'd learned this -- a week after it had actually happened -- the teacher of algebra and geometry had neatly stacked the books on his desk and walked out of the small town of Ghazni into the hills. A week later he'd returned to the town after dark with three other men and proved that he was worthy of his heritage by killing three Soviet soldiers and taking their arms. He still carried that first Kalashnikov.

But that was not why he was known as the Archer. The chief of his little band of mudjaheddin -- the name means "Freedom Fighter" -- was a perceptive leader who did not look down upon the new arrival who'd spent his youth in classrooms, learning foreign ways. Nor did he hold the young man's initial lack of faith against him. When the teacher joined the group, he'd had only the most cursory knowledge of Islam, and the headman remembered the bitter tears falling like rain from the young man's eyes as their imam had counseled him in Allah's will. Within a month he'd become the most ruthless -- and most effective -- man in the band, clearly an expression of God's own plan. And it was he whom the leader had chosen to travel to Pakistan, where he could use his knowledge of science and numbers to learn the use of surface-to-air missiles. The first SAMS with which the quiet, serious man from Amerikastan had equipped the mudjaheddin had been the Soviets' own SA-7, known by the Russians as strela, "arrow." The first "man-portable" SAM, it was not overly effective unless used with great skill. Only a few had such skill. Among them the arithmetic teacher was the best, and for his successes with the Russian "arrows," the men in the group took to calling him the Archer.

He waited with a new missile at the moment, the American one called Stinger, but all of the surface-to-air missiles in this group -- indeed, throughout the whole area -- were merely called arrows now: tools for the Archer. He lay on the knife-edge of a ridge, a hundred meters below the summit of the hill, from which he could survey the length of a glacial valley. Beside him was his spotter, Abdul. The name appropriately meant "servant," since the teenager carried two additional missiles for his launcher and, more importantly, had the eyes of a falcon. They were burning eyes. He was an orphan.
The Archer's eyes searched the mountainous terrain, especially the ridgelines, with an expression that reflected a millennium of combat. A serious man, the Archer. Though friendly enough, he was rarely seen to smile; he showed no interest in a new bride, not even to join his lonely grief to that of a newly made widow. His life had room for but a single passion.

"There," Abdul said quietly, pointing.

"I see it."

The battle on the valley floor -- one of several that day -- had been under way for thirty minutes, about the proper time for the Soviet soldiers to get support from their helicopter base twenty kilometers over the next line of mountains. The sun glinted briefly off the Mi-24's glass-covered nose, enough for them to see it, ten miles off, skirting over the ridgeline. Farther overhead, and well beyond his reach, circled a single Antonov-26 twin-engine transport. It was filled with observation equipment and radios to coordinate the ground and air action. But the Archer's eyes followed only the Mi-24, a Hind attack helicopter loaded with rockets and cannon shells that even now was getting information from the circling command aircraft.

The Stinger had come as a rude surprise to the Russians, and their air tactics were changing on a daily basis as they struggled to come to terms with the new threat. The valley was deep, but more narrow than the rule. For the pilot to hit the Archer's fellow guerrillas, he had to come straight down the rocky avenue. He'd stay high, at least a thousand meters over the rocky floor for fear that a Stinger team might be down there with the riflemen. The Archer watched the helicopter zigzag in flight as the pilot surveyed the land and chose his path. As expected, the pilot approached from leeward so that the wind would delay the sound of his rotor for the few extra seconds that might be crucial. The radio in the circling transport would be tuned to the frequencies known to be used by the mudjaheddin so that the Russians could detect a warning of its approach, and also an indication where the missile team might be. Abdul did indeed carry a radio, switched off and tucked in the folds of his clothing.

Slowly, the Archer raised the launcher and trained its two-element sight on the approaching helicopter. His thumb went sideways and down on the activation switch, and he nestled his cheekbone on the conductance bar. He was instantly rewarded with the warbling screech of the launcher's seeker unit. The pilot had made his assessment, and his decision. He came down the far side of the valley, just beyond missile range, for his first firing run. The Hind's nose was down, and the gunner, sitting in his seat in front of and slightly below the pilot, was training his sights on the area where the fighters were. Smoke appeared on the valley floor. The Soviets used mortar shells to indicate where their tormentors were, and the helicopter altered course slightly. It was almost time. Flames shot out of the helicopter's rocket pods, and the first salvo of ordnance streaked downward.

Then another smoke trail came up. The helicopter lurched left as the smoke raced into the sky, well clear of the Hind, but still a positive indication of danger ahead; or so the pilot thought. The Archer's hands tightened on the launcher. The helicopter was sideslipping right at him now, expanding around the inner ring of the sight. It was now in range. The Archer punched the forward button with his left thumb, "uncaging" the missile and giving the infrared seeker-head on the Stinger its first look at the heat radiating from the Mi-24's turboshaft engines. The sound carried through his cheekbone into his ear changed. The missile was now tracking the target. The Hind's pilot decided to hit the area from which the "missile" had been launched at him, bringing the aircraft farther left, and turning slightly. Unwittingly, he turned his jet exhaust almost right at the Archer as he warily surveyed the rocks from which the rocket had come.

The missile screamed its readiness at the Archer now, but still he was patient. He put his mind into that of his target, and judged that the pilot would come closer still before his helicopter had the shot he wanted at the hated Afghans. And so he did. When the Hind was only a thousand meters off, the Archer took a deep breath, superelevated his sight, and whispered a brief prayer of vengeance. The trigger was pulled almost of its own accord.

The launcher bucked in his hands as the Stinger looped slightly upward before dropping down to home on its target. The Archer's eyes were sharp enough to see it despite the almost invisible smoke trail it left behind. The missile deployed its maneuvering fins, and these moved a few fractions of a millimeter in obedience to the orders generated by its computer brain -- a microchip the size of a postage stamp. Aloft in the circling An-26, an observer saw a tiny puff of dust and began to reach for a microphone to relay a warning, but his hand had barely touched the plastic instrument before the missile struck.
The missile ran directly into one of the helicopter's engines and exploded. The helicopter was crippled instantly. The driveshaft for the tail rotor was cut, and the Hind began spinning violently to the left while the pilot tried to auto-rotate the aircraft down, frantically looking for a flat place while his gunner radioed a shrill call for rescue. The pilot brought the engine to idle, unloading his collective to control torque, locked his eyes on a flat space the size of a tennis court, then cut his switches and activated the onboard extinguishing system. Like most fliers he feared fire above all things, though he would learn the error soon enough.

The Archer watched the Mi-24 hit nose-down on a rocky ledge five hundred feet below his perch. Surprisingly, it didn't burn as the aircraft came apart. The helicopter cartwheeled viciously, the tail whipping forward and over the nose before it came to rest on its side. The Archer raced down the hill with Abdul right behind. It took five minutes.

The pilot fought with his straps as he hung upside down. He was in pain, but he knew that only the living felt pain. The new model helicopter had had improved safety systems built in. Between those and his own skill he'd survived the crash. Not his gunner, he noticed briefly. The man in front hung motionless, his neck broken, his hands limply reaching for the ground. The pilot had no time for that. His seat was bent, and the chopper's canopy had shattered, its metal frame now a prison for the flyer. The emergency release latch was jammed, the explosive release bolts unwilling to fire. He took his pistol from the shoulder holster and started blasting at the metal framework, one piece at a time. He wondered if the An-26 had gotten the emergency call. Wondered if the rescue helicopter at his base was on the way. His rescue radio was in a pants pocket, and he'd activate it soon as he got away from his broken bird. The pilot cut his hands to ribbons as he pried the metal away, giving himself a clear path out. He thanked his luck again that he was not ending his life in a pillar of greasy smoke as he released his straps and climbed out of the aircraft to the rocky ground.

His left leg was broken. The jagged end of a white bone stuck clear out of his flight suit; though he was too deeply in shock to feel it, the sight of the injury horrified him. He holstered his empty pistol and grabbed a loose piece of metal to serve as a cane. He had to get away. He hobbled to the far end of the ledge and saw a path. It was three kilometers to friendly forces. He was about to start down when he heard something and turned. Hope changed to horror in an instant, and the pilot realized that a fiery death would have been a blessing.

The Archer blessed Allah's name as he withdrew his knife from its sheath.


There couldn't be much left of her, Ryan thought. The hull was mainly intact -- at least superficially -- but you could see the rough surgery made by the welders as clearly as the stitches made on Frankenstein's monster. An apt-enough comparison, he thought silently. Man had made these things, but they could one day destroy their makers in the space of an hour.

"God, it's amazing how big they look on the outside . . ."

"And so small on the inside?" Marko asked. There was a wistful sadness in his voice. Not so long before, Captain Marko Ramius of the Voyenno Morskoi Flot had conned his ship into this very drydock. He hadn't been there to watch U.S. Navy technicians dissect her like pathologists over a cadaver, removing the missiles, the reactor plant, the sonars, the onboard computers and communications gear, the periscopes, and even the galley stoves for analysis at bases spread all over the United States. His absence had been at his own request. Ramius' hatred for the Soviet system did not extend to the ships that system built. He'd sailed this one well and Red October had saved his life.

And Ryan's. Jack fingered the hairline scar on his forehead and wondered if they'd ever cleaned his blood off the helmsman's console. "I'm surprised you didn't want to take her out," he observed to Ramius.

"No." Marko shook his head. "I only want to say good-bye. He was good ship."

"Good enough," Jack agreed quietly. He looked at the half-repaired hole that the Alfa's torpedo had made in the port side and shook his head in silence. Good enough to save my ass when that torpedo hit. The two men watched in silence, separated from the sailors and Marines who'd secured the area since the previous December.

The drydock was flooding now, the filthy water from the Elizabeth river rushing into the concrete box. They'd take her out tonight. Six American fast-attack submarines were even now "sanitizing" the ocean east of the Norfolk Navy Base, ostensibly part of an exercise that would also involve a few surface ships. It was nine o'clock on a moonless night. It would taken an hour to flood the drydock. A crew of thirty was already aboard. They'd fire up the ship's diesel engines and sail her out for her second and final voyage, to the deep ocean trench north of Puerto Rico, where she would be scuttled in twenty-five thousand feet of water.

Ryan and Ramius watched as the water covered the wooden blocks that supported the hull, wetting the submarine's keel for the first time in nearly a year. The water came in more quickly now, creeping up the plimsoll marks painted fore and aft. On the submarine's deck, a handful of seamen wearing bright orange lifejackets for safety paced around, making ready to slip the fourteen stout mooring lines that held her steady.
The ship herself remained quiet. Red October gave no sign of welcome for the water. Perhaps she knew the fate that awaited her, Ryan said to himself. It was a foolish thought -- but he also knew that for millennia sailors had imputed personalities to the ships they served.

Finally she started to move. The water buoyed the hull off the wooden blocks. There was a muted series of thuds, more felt than heard as she rose off them ever so slowly, rocking back and forth a few inches at a time.

A few minutes later the ship's diesel engine rumbled to life, and the line handlers on the ship and the drydock began to take in the lines. At the same time, the canvas that covered the seaward end of the drydock was taken down, and all could see the fog that hung on the water outside. Conditions were perfect for the operation. Conditions had to be perfect; the Navy had waited six weeks for them, a moonless night and the thick seasonal fog that plagued the Chesapeake Bay region at this time of year. When the last line was slipped, an officer atop the submarine's sail raised a hand-held air horn and blew a single blast.
"Under way!" his voice called, and the sailors at the bow struck the jack and put down the staff. For the first time, Ryan noticed that it was the Soviet jack. He smiled. It was a nice touch. On the sail's aft end, another seaman ran up the Soviet naval ensign, its bright red star emblazoned with the shield of the Red Banner Northern Fleet. The Navy, ever mindful of traditions, was saluting the man who stood at his side.

Ryan and Ramius watched the submarine start to move under her own power, her twin bronze propellers turning gently in reverse as she backed out into the river. One of the tugs helped her turn to face north. Within another minute she was gone from sight. Only the lingering rumble of her diesel came across the oily water of the navy yard.

Marko blew his nose once and blinked a half-dozen times. When he turned away from the water, his voice was firm.

"So, Ryan, they fly you home from England for this?"

"No, I came back a few weeks ago. New job."

"Can you say what job is?" Marko asked.

"Arms control. They want me to coordinate the intelligence side for the negotiations team. We have to fly over in January."


"Yes, it's a preliminary session -- setting the agenda and doing some technical stuff, that sort of thing. How about you?"

"I work at AUTEC in Bahamas. Much sun and sand. You see my tan?" Ramius grinned. "I come to Washington every two-three months. I fly back in five hours. We work on new quieting project." Another smile. "Is classified."

"Great! I want you to come over to my house then. I still owe you a dinner." Jack handed over a card. "Here's my number. Call me a few days before you fly in, and I'll set things up with the Agency." Ramius and his officers were under a very strict protection regime from CIA security officers. The really amazing thing, Jack thought, was that the story hadn't leaked. None of the news media had gotten word, and if security really was that tight, probably the Russians also didn't know the fate of their missile submarine Krazny Oktyabr. She'd be turning east about now, Jack thought, to pass over the Hampton Roads tunnel. Roughly an hour after that she'd dive and head southeast. He shook his head.
Ryan's sadness at the submarine's fate was tempered by the thought of what she'd been built for. He remembered his own reaction, in the sub's missile room a year before, the first time he'd been so close to the ghastly things. Jack accepted the fact that nuclear weapons kept the peace -- if you could really call the world's condition peace -- but like most of the people who thought about the subject, he wished for a better way. Well, this was one less submarine, twenty-six less missiles, and one hundred eighty-two less warheads. Statistically, Ryan told himself, it didn't count for much.

But it was something.


Ten thousand miles away and eight thousand feet above sea level the problem was unseasonable weather. The place was in the Tadzhik Soviet Socialist Republic, and the wind came from the south, still bearing moisture from the Indian Ocean that fell as miserably cold drizzle. Soon it would be the real winter that always came early here, usually on the heels of the blazing, airless summer, and all that fell would be cold and white.

The workers were mostly young, eager members of the Komsomol. They had been brought in to help finish a construction project that had been begun in 1983. One of them, a masters candidate at Moscow State University's school of physics, rubbed the rain from his eyes and straightened to ease a crick in his back. This was no way to utilize a promising young engineer, Morozov thought. Instead of playing with this surveyor's instrument, he could be building lasers in his laboratory, but he wanted full membership in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and wanted even more to avoid military service. The combination of his school deferment and his Komsomol work had helped mightily to this end.

"Well?" Morozov turned to see one of the site engineers. A civil engineer, he was, who described himself as a man who knew concrete.

"I read the position as correct, Comrade Engineer."

The older man stooped down to look through the sighting scope. "I agree," the man said. "And that's the last one, the gods be praised." Both men jumped with the sound of a distant explosion. Engineers from the Red Army obliterating yet another rocky outcropping outside of the fenced perimeter. You didn't need to be a soldier to understand what that was all about, Morozov thought to himself.

"You have a fine touch with optical instruments. Perhaps you will become a civil engineer, too, eh? Build useful things for the State?"

"No, Comrade. I study high-energy physics -- mainly lasers." These, too, are useful things.

The man grunted and shook his head. "Then you might come back here, God help you."

"Is this -- "

"You didn't hear anything from me," the engineer said, just a touch of firmness in his voice.

"I understand," Morozov replied quietly. "I suspected as much."

"I would be careful voicing that suspicion," the other said conversationally as he turned to look at something.

"This must be a fine place to watch the stars," Morozov observed, hoping for the right response.

"I wouldn't know," the civil engineer replied with an insider's smile. "I've never met an astronomer."

Morozov smiled to himself. He'd guessed right after all. They had just plotted the position of the six points on which mirrors would be set. These were equidistant from a central point located in a building guarded by men with rifles. Such precision, he knew, had only two applications. One was astronomy, which collected light coming down. The other application involved light going up. The young engineer told himself that here was where he wanted to come. This place would change the world.

-- from The Cardinal of the Kremlin
by Tom Clancy
Copyright ? 1989 by Jack Ryan Enterprises Ltd.

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  • Format : Format Kindle
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  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 817 pages
  • Editeur : Berkley (22 janvier 2009)
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  • Langue : Anglais
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A gripping story 28 août 2005
Par Doris
The cardinal of the kremlin is a great story with interacting an plot and amazing characters. This is one of those books you can't put down easily. Also recommended: The Union Moujik,Russia in search of itself,Spy Handler
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tom Clancy, a lire et relire 5 mai 2012
Format:Poche|Achat vérifié
Tom Clancy, a lire et relire - plutot in English - surtout pour les aventures de Jack Ryan et de Clark-Kelly AKA Mister C.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  338 commentaires
31 internautes sur 34 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Don't overlook this one.... 17 août 2000
Par hannibalsmith - Publié sur Amazon.com
Kardinal of the Kremlin is one of the best, if most often overlooked, books in the Jack Ryan series.
The plot of Kardinal basically involves three related story lines.
First, both the Russians and the US are attempting to create a ground based laser defense system to shoot down enemy sattelites and nuclear weapons. At its base, the story focuses on both side's efforts to build their respective systems, and to gather intellegence on the other side's progress.
Second, the U.S. has a very high level intellegence source inside the Kremlin itself. A lot of the story focuses on the U.S.'s attempts to maintain his cover, and its actions to save him after he is discovered.
Finally, a backdrop to the story is ongoing strategic arms talks in Moscow, which is eventually used as a cover by the US to arrange the defection of another high ranking Russian official.
Kardinal gives the reader a true insite into the workings of the US government, particularly the CIA, as only Tom Clancy can. The story is very immersive and suspenseful. My one warning to people who have read other Clancy books is that there aren't really any large scale battles or all out wars as in some of his other books. Here, Clancy focuses more on the fine art of playing spy :)
Asside from being a great book on its own, Kardinal does a great job tying in events and characters from earlier books in the Jack Ryan timeline, specifically from The Hunt For Red October and Patriot games.
Just as importantly to all Clancy fans, events related in Kardinal (perhaps more so than any of his other books) are referred to in the novels that Clancy wrote later on.
57 internautes sur 68 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Cardinal of the Kremlin - An exceptional novel! 13 septembre 2003
Par K. Wyatt - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Of all of Tom Clancy's novels that I've either read or reread, I would think it would be difficult to sit back and say, this novel or that one is the best of them, but if forced to choose, I'd say that "The Cardinal of the Kremlin" is the best one. Contained within the pages of this novel is some of the most fluid writing that one can find in a novel from this genre. From taut political intrigue to suspenseful military action this novel scores in every area.
The particularly great thing that one can anticipate and not be disappointed in when contemplating a Clancy novel, is that he covers all of the bases and leave nothing out. The scope and detail that Clancy worked into this novel is mind boggling as he sets up so many variables and then works you through to the conclusion of every one of those variables.
"The Cardinal of the Kremlin" is author Tom Clancy's fourth novel overall and more importantly, the third in his "Ryanverse." One of the more important things about reading a Clancy novel is the fact that he seems to have set things up for himself rather nicely because you will find "possible" hints at where he's going with either his next book or one down the road. You will find references to the Cardinal, throughout his previous books as well as other references in his earlier novels that are leading to his later novels.
Taut political intriguing + suspenseful military action + in depth characterizations + a plot of epic proportion = "The Cardinal of the Kremlin."
The premise:
"The Cardinal of the Kremlin" is so large in its scope and detail that it may be difficult to summarize the plot here, in so few words available.
What drives this novel, first and foremost, is Dr. Jack Ryan who is by the release of this novel the well known lead character from "The Hunt for Red October" and "Patriot Games." As the novel begins, we find that Dr. Ryan is still working as an analyst for the CIA's DDI, Deputy Director of Intelligence. He's presently trying to work up a paper based the current negotiations between the United States and the USSR on ICBM's.
We're then taken to the "Archer" who is an Afghanistan resistance fighter and part of the mudjaheddin. Due to what the Soviets have done to him and his family, he has no love lost for them, they even captured his son and taken him to the Soviet Union for "reeducation," hence his intense desire to fight and kill as many Soviets as he can.
From there we're introduced to the "Cardinal" of the Kremlin, Misha Filitov who is a Colonel in the Soviet Army and a three time Hero of the Soviet Union from his days as a tank commander in the Great War. Hinted at in previous Clancy novels, this Colonel has been disillusioned by the way of life in the Soviet Union which has caused the death of his wife and his son, hence his having been turned by American agents. In his present position with the Defense Ministry, he has been passing Soviets secrets to the Americans for thirty years.
What follows from there is one of author; Tom Clancy's most intriguing and entertaining novels to date that will have you, the reader, turning the pages voraciously trying to get to the end of it to see how it ends. The scope and detail of this novel is simply incredible.
I highly recommend not only this Clancy novel but all of his novels for he is truly the master of this genre. {ssintrepid}
21 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A true Spy Novel 26 juin 2000
Par C. E. Miles - Publié sur Amazon.com
I am a Tom Clancy fan. I have read most of his material, and I have always found his books entertaining. "Cardinal of the Kremlin" is no exception. Probably the most true spy novel in the Jack Ryan series, "Cardinal" has all of the elements that make an exciting story; mystery, intrigue, honor and vengeance. Clancy takes the time to develop his characters, explaining why each of them has chosen the path they are on, instead of just throwing an exciting scenario at you and letting you figure it out. I also like the way Clancy incorporates characters from previous books, like Captain Ramius from "The Hunt for Red October". Also if you plan to read more of Tom Clancy's work in the future, take note of the brief appearance of "Mr. Clark" because you see much more of him in the books to come. Many believe that this is Clancy's best work, but I disagree. It is a very good book and I would recommend you read it, but I think Clancy's best book is "Without Remorse."
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Enjoyable, but not desperately thrilling 27 août 2001
Par niall o'gaiblain - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is the second Tom Clancy book I've read (the other was Clear and Present Danger) and he is clearly a writer who can sustain several sub-plots and tie them up neatly at the end. This book focuses on arms control negotiations between the US and the soviet Union towards the end of the cold war, and specifically the development of the Strategic Defence Initiative, and the covert side to these that you are sure would have happened, but would never know about. It is all expertly explained and you do detect an effort by the author to avoid over demonising the villains. The main problem seemed to be the author wearing his heart so firmly on his sleeve with regard to right and wrong in the issues explored in the book. I found that this lead to a lack of tension, being able to predict the fates of characters in advance (I don't mean just Jack Ryan - of COURSE he'll come out smelling of roses - no problem there, but when you are equally confident about the outcome for various other minor characters in the book it does result in a serious loss of tension). That said however the book was a reasonably enjoyable read, enough to persuade me to try another in his jack Ryan series in the future.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Enjoyable classic Cold War spy thriller 8 juin 2004
Par Tim F. Martin - Publié sur Amazon.com
I had been meaning to read "Cardinal of the Kremlin" now for several years. Published in 1988, it is one of the older Jack Ryan technothrillers, one that I had bypassed when I started reading Clancy's works, first "Red Storm Rising" and then beginning the Jack Ryan saga with "Clear and Present Danger." I had - with the exception of "Without Remorse" and the newly published "Red Rabbit"- read all of the other subsequent books, and those books that I did not read I had seen the movie version (namely "The Hunt For Red October" and "Patriot Games"). I had resisted reading this one, or perhaps I should say I hadn't placed a high priority on this one, as they never filmed it, and it was a book very much steeped in Cold War intrigue, much of the novel taking place in the Soviet Union and involving two staples of the last years of the Cold War; "Star Wars" or the Strategic Defense Initiative (or to be more precise, something equivalent to it in the novel, a high-tech antiballistic missile or ABM system) and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. I was worried it would be antiquated, or that it would depict a Soviet Union that didn't really exist, as the collapse of the USSR in the late 1980s/early 1990s showed that how little the West really understood what the reality of the Soviet Union actually was.
I decided to read the book recently, partially to say I had read all of the Jack Ryan novels, partially because I wanted to know more of Ryan's history (events in this novel were referenced several times in Clancy's later works), and partially because I had decided to treat it as a period piece (and I have in the past enjoyed good tales of Cold War intrigue). I figured it would show an interesting, early Ryan, quite a bit different from the powerful and experienced one who eventually becomes President of the United States later on in the "Ryanverse" series.
I must say I enjoyed it. It wasn't my favorite of the Ryan series but it certainly held my interest and I found it a fast read. It was actually a rather enlightened novel, as it showed the Russians as real people; some were good, some were bad. The Soviets depicted were for the most part fairly well rounded individuals, who just like Americans simply wanted more or less the same thing out of life; basically success and happiness. Some were not good people but even they weren't depicted as moustache-twirling, cackling Cold War villains, though to be sure there were bad guys in the piece. While it is not surprising that the title character of the book - the Cardinal, Colonel Mikhail Filitov, a highly placed spy in the Soviet military - is shown as a good person, it was somewhat surprising that many of those opposed to his actions were not shown as evil or vile but simply as often good people doing their job. In essence, Clancy showed that while the Soviet regime was bad, its people weren't necessarily so. His view of governments versus people - particularly with regards to the Russians - holds true in his later works as well, showing a good deal of consistency in his writing. Perhaps I didn't give Clancy enough credit in this regard, I don't know. In any event I found myself occasionally rooting for characters in the novel who were actually opposed to Filitov, Ryan, and the other protagonists.
The novel itself was as some have said more of a straightforward spy novel than some of the other volumes in the Jack Ryan series, with many classic espionage scenes taking place in Moscow and involving the KGB. Five major plotlines are followed in the novel, with four of these plotlines tightly interwoven; the Soviet Union is pursuing a largely ground-based ABM system (Bright Star), the United States is also pursuing one named Tea Clipper (these plots also involved those in one program trying to spy on the other nation's efforts), Colonel Filitov is spying for the Americans (and related to that plotline, there are Russians trying to uncover him), and Jack Ryan and others in the American government are conducting arms reduction negotiations in Moscow (ultimately the latter storyline becomes subservient to the others) The fifth plotline revolves around an Afghan mudjaheddin named the "Archer" and his actions in Afghanistan against Soviet forces and doesn't tie in hardly at all at first though it does in the end (more or less I think).
Action-wise the book was middle of the road (if anything fairly light) until the end when several plotlines end in some violence (particularly the Archer plot). The storyline with Filitov ended with some surprise for me, though it was an ending hinted at in the later Ryan books I had read.
I am glad I read the book and have an appetite for more, both from Clancy and from another similar author who I have really grown to respect, James W. Huston (I highly recommend his works). Often overlooked by Clancy fans - it certainly was by me - I think it is a shame more haven't read it.
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