This is the book that finished my interest in reading Tom Clancy novels. It's a real shame, too, as I thought Clancy's previous one, Debt of Honor
, had an inventive set-up (necessary, as the Cold War ended too soon for the man) and a plot that kept things humming along entertainingly. Yet the end of that novel saw a contrived situation that set up the stage for this one, with Clancy's main protagonist/avatar now President of the United States. This gave Clancy an opportunity to sound of on American politics, a field which he demonstrates far less command than that of the military hardware that were a distinguishing hallmark of his previous novels. Moreover, Ryan is now completely detached from the action, which means large stretches of the novel are consumed with Clancy's attempts to write a political thriller, an area where he demonstrates far less skill than he did as an action novelist. By the end of it, I was through with Clancy, wishing only that I had stopped reading his books at the previous novel so I could have maintained a better opinion of the author than I have now.