BY NICK OWCHAR

Los Angeles Times

“AGAINST ALL ENEMIES”

By Tom Clancy with Peter Telep

Putnam

756 pages, $28.95

The big news for the Tom Clancy brotherhood was the return of the Jack Ryans, father and son, last December in “Dead or Alive” — until then, the Ryan saga hadn’t made an appearance since 2003’s “The Teeth of the Tiger.” It was easy to assume that, with a seven-year gap, Clancy was just slowing down.

That assumption is wrong. Another thriller, “Against All Enemies,” landed in June and is chock full of espionage and treachery and rivaled only by the Yellow Pages in size. Where Clancy had been helped with “Dead or Alive” by Grant Blackwood, Clancy is aided in this new one, which introduces us to hero Maxwell Moore, by Peter Telep (though Clancy’s is the only face you’ll see on the book’s dust jacket).

Coauthors and with-authors are nothing new — they’re a routine part of the James Patterson brand (he employs multiple co-scriveners to keep his varied heroes in action). Clancy’s hardly the only one: You see the same thing with other biggies in the mystery and thriller genres. For instance, Clive Cussler and Mary Higgins Clark have made cowriters a family affair, sharing the bylines of some of their books with their children. Come to think of it, didn’t the great master of 19th century doorstoppers, Alexandre Dumas, have a cowriter of some kind? If that’s the case, then Clancy and everyone else are in very good company.

“Against All Enemies” revolves around the world of Moore, a former Navy SEAL and CIA paramilitary operations officer. The book opens with a devastating attack off the coast of Pakistan. A U.S. ship carrying a Taliban prisoner finds itself suddenly under attack in a scene that’s signature Clancy:

“A flare burst overhead, peeling back the night and drawing deep shadows across the decks of both patrol boats. Moore looked across the sea and saw it, a thousand meters out, rising up out of the waves, a nightmare with imposing black sail and dull black decks fully awash as she breached, her bow pointed at them.”

A rocket attack destroys the ship and Moore’s the sole survivor. What drives him, like many heroes in Clancy’s books, is revenge.

Of course “Against All Enemies” doesn’t have that Cold War-era mystique that Clancy’s earlier books possess. But there are still plenty of bits of what his fans have always enjoyed most — the gadgetry.

“Against All Enemies” gives Clancy fans ideal reading for the summer months. At 756 pages, though, I’d recommend reading it as an e-book instead.


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