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The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan Universe #5)

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  37,938 Ratings  ·  479 Reviews
Two men possess vital data on Russia’s 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 is the one 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 of the most important ...more
Kindle Edition, 554 pages
Published July 1st 1989 by Berkley (first published July 28th 1988)
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Dazrin Most of the Tom Clancy books have some "adult" themes but not graphic sex or anything. Some language and certainly combat though. More politics and…moreMost of the Tom Clancy books have some "adult" themes but not graphic sex or anything. Some language and certainly combat though. More politics and technical detail than many young teens would enjoy. I read these in my late teens and loved them though.

If s/he hasn't read The Hunt for Red October or Patriot Games yet I would start there though. Both in publication order and chronologically they are prior to this one and, I think, better books. I tend to prefer publication order personally.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Igor Ljubuncic
Oct 12, 2016 Igor Ljubuncic rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tom-clancy
After writing my Clear and Present Danger review, I decided I ought to add a few more Clancy opinionaires. So let's continue with this one. A very solid, entertaining book. Le classique, as the French would say. It's got the right dose of technology, warfare, sci-fi hi-tech stuff, espionage, bad Russians, good Russians, noble Russians, Afghanistan, satellites, LASERS, friggin' lasers, narrate that Dr. Evil style, everything you can expect from an 80s cocktail of Texas Ranger meets MIT postgrad m ...more
Stephen
May 21, 2010 Stephen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, spy-stuff
3.0 to 3.5 stars. This was the first Tom Clancy book that I ever read and it turned out to be my least favorite. On the good side, I loved the introduction of "Mr. Clark" who is my favorite character of the Clancy novels. However, the novel seemed to drag in places and I just found myself wanting the plot to move along. Overall, it was still a god read and by other author's standards would have been a 4 star effort at least. However, I hold Clancy to a higher standard based on his later efforts ...more
Thomas Strömquist
Following the disappointing Patriot Games, Clancy redeemed himself (in my eyes) with a spy thriller with classical ingredients, i.e. the extrication of a Soviet double agent by the Americans. It's been a long while since I've read any Clancy, so caveat lector is in place here. But I would say that should I re-read any of the books, it is this one (and The Sum of All Fears).
Peter Meredith
Dec 19, 2011 Peter Meredith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an author, Clancy brings a workman like approach to The Cardinal of the Kremlin. There is little in the way of fanciful prose, or endearing characters and the story is choppy, however this is far from unusual for him. He relies a good deal on the technical aspects of cutting edge weaponry and good old fashioned spy vs spy action to keep readers turning the page.
Yes, Jack Ryan is back, but even in his second book he is starting to wear thin and thankfully plays only a small, yet important role
...more
Rob
Jan 16, 2012 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cold-war, 2012
The short-short version of what became my review: A gripping spy thriller that brings back all that Cold War Nostalgia; but Tom Clancy has obviously never met a lesbian before in his life.

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Perhaps it goes without saying, but Tom Clancy's work is not high literature. He will never rank up there with Ernest Hemingway [1] or David Foster Wallace or Angela Carter. He'll be published long after his death as an historical literary study, a snapshot of late-stage Cold War Paranoia--but those are elec
...more
Konaka
Mar 04, 2012 Konaka rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Cardinal of the Kremlin
The Cardinal of the Kremlin by Tom Clancy recounts a fictional story of political intrigue and espionage between the United States of America and the United Soviet Socialist Republic (U.S.S.R.) during the Cold War era. The book is 547 pages long, and was published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons in 1988. The plot revolves around the two nation’s development of a program akin to the Strategic Defense Initiative originally proposed by Ronald Reagan, which was devoted to serve as
...more
Jerome
May 07, 2012 Jerome rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 (name ...more
Hugo
Jan 27, 2014 Hugo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For this reading check, I read a book from Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan series, named, The Cardinal of the Kremlin. As it is a long novel, this is the only title I have read since the break, and while it took quite a bit more than 2 hours per week, I enjoyed it thoroughly.
In The Cardinal of the Kremlin, I liked how Tom Clancy combined action scenes from the tribal groups of the Mujahedin fending off the 1980s invasion of the Soviets, with the technical details of the newly developed arms, to see whic
...more
Jonathan
Dec 14, 2016 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man, one of the underrated casualties of the fall of the Soviet Union was Tom Clancy's career. The spy plot of this book is fun, if hokey, yoked as it is to the author's political agenda ("STAR WARS! It's how today's serious armchair generals stroke their chins and avow hatred for war.") and the demands of writing massive best sellers (CIA's eponymous, undetectable agent: a tough old Red Army superhero who blew up swathes of Nazis and loves his homeland, but who sees the evils of Communism when ...more
Ed
May 10, 2012 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
One of the best stories by one of my favorite authors, which I first read in 1992. Whenever one of Tom Clancy's novels deals with any subject I know a little something about, it always strikes me as being well-written and true-to-life. This novel deals with spies and counter-intelligence, subjects about which I know very little; however, based upon what Clancy has written about on other topics, I am left with the strong impression that this story rings true to life, as well. It is based upon the ...more
Janet
Sep 14, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Americans, Patriots
Ahh…..here at last we see the character development of Tom Clancy as architect of the Jack Ryan reality and in the character Jack Ryan himself who has in The Cardinal of the Kremlin lost the obnoxious edge to his arrogance, icing it down with a more calculated daring. Edging toward a five star rating here, Clancy leaves behind some of the more irritating components of his first novels (namely Jack’s wife and personal life) to focus more fully upon the fascinating world of international espionage ...more
Brian
Jun 01, 2011 Brian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clancy-jack-ryan
The CIA’s most highly-placed agent, codenamed CARDINAL, is Colonel Mikhail Semyonovich Filitov a 3 time hero of the Soviet Union. He begins passing information to the US but is compromised so Ryan leads a CIA operation to extract him. The information includes anti-satellite lasers and other SDI-type weapons, and the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Ryan successfully flips Gerasimov the head of KGB, who has seen the writing on the wall, and fetches Filitov from his confinement using his power as the KG ...more
Edwin Kort
Nov 17, 2016 Edwin Kort rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, 2016
Een van de beste boeken van Tom Clancy. Genoeg spanning, en een hoop techniek. Boek komt soms zeer realistisch over.
Het boek handelt over, onder andere, een hoog geplaatste spion, met de codenaam 'Kardinaal', in de Russische Ministerie van Defensie, die al meer dan 30 jaar informatie doorspeelt. Deze spion dreigt nu echter ontmaskerd te worden. Door zijn hoge status in het ministerie en zijn bekendheid als 'Held van de Sovjet Unie', maken hem bijna onschendbaar.
Terwijl de KGB probeert om de za
...more
Michael
Jack Ryan is doing his thing at the CIA.

In a complicated plot, action takes place in Afghanistan where the United States is helping the Afghans resist the Russian invasion. United States is unofficially providing the Afghans with misseles to use to destroy Russian helicopters.

Another aspect of the story has the United States and Russia competing to develop a Star Wars missile system that could be used to shoot down enemy satillites and control space.

Ryan is involved with Russian spy Colonel Mik
...more
Efka
Feb 05, 2015 Efka rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Aš stengiausi... Tikrai stengiausi. Bet ketvirtoji Jack'o Ryan'o dalis, ypač lyginant su nuostabia trečiaja - Raudonojo spalio medžiokle - pasirodo, yra tikrų tikriausia nuobodybė. Meh. Diiiiidelis nusivylimas.
Douglas
Feb 20, 2010 Douglas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very insightful on real espionage. Many of the techniques used in this book are found in many of the nonfiction espionage books. This is one of the most suspenseful books I have ever read.
Paul West
I found it good when there was some action, but Clancy goes way too deep into Soviet politics and that slows this book WAY down, to almost boring in places.
Michel B.
Feb 07, 2016 Michel B. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-audio
Was ok, but not great. Characters interesting... but a bit cliché at times. More like 2.5 stars.
Ed Flynn
Jul 18, 2015 Ed Flynn rated it really liked it
Good book

Enjoyed it.
Interesting to read it again many years later.
Plan to read the entire Jack Ryan series in order.
itchy
Aug 24, 2015 itchy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: w
Reliving the hair-raising live-drop scenes in this spy fiction made me upgrade my rating to 4-stars. The HRT scenes helped a bit, too.
Arjit Anant
Aug 02, 2015 Arjit Anant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Awesome. Intriguing. Political. Thrilling. Practical.
Devon Aguirre
Aug 26, 2011 Devon Aguirre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of awkward when Tom Clancy hates on the homos
Wilmar Luna
May 21, 2015 Wilmar Luna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Clancy, is the man whose name is on the cover of some of the most popular games and movies of the military genre. Hunt for Red October, Clear and Present Danger, The Sum of All Fears, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, and many more. He was one of the most famous military novel authors of all-time and naturally when I wanted to dip my toes into a military novel, Tom Clancy’s name was the first on my list.



Obviously I would be in for a treat that would blow my mind, right? Right?



WRONG!



Th
...more
Kirsten
Nov 08, 2016 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-challenge
I was really into Tom Clancy books back in high school, and I still enjoy them, even though they feel a bit dated now. I especially like the attention to detail regarding the science, the spycraft, and the politics, and have always appreciated how tightly the plots of his books hold together. While this book is not my very favorite of his, it's definitely up there. Filitov is a very sympathetic character, so it works well to have the story centered around him, and several of my favorite characte ...more
Kristen Holland Shear
A sequel to The Hunt for Red October, The Cardinal of the Kremlin is the story of how two men know the details of Russia's missile defense system - one of them is a decorated Russian war hero who was been sharing secrets with the U.S. for decades. The other is the one American who can save Cardinal and prevent World War III. Though the book is exhaustingly plodding at times, Tom Clancy kept me at the edge of my seat through the final chapters. Rarely have I wanted to jump up and cheer as much as ...more
Jack
Jan 19, 2017 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My favorite Jack Ryan book so far. It moved a lot quicker than Red October or Patriot Games. It had four or five complex stories that seemed to be independent from one another, but slowly morphed into one great espionage thriller. It's interesting to read these books after the point in time they were written to see how the world has changed. One of the protagonists in the story is an Afghan warrior that the US arms to fight the Soviets. How does that turn out for the US again? Overall a really c ...more
James Korsmo
Aug 03, 2011 James Korsmo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both America and the USSR are pushing for supremecy in the arms race, and the focus has turned to missle defense. Both sides are working feverishly on laser-based missile defense systems, to fry satelites and shoot down ballistic missiles before they can do damage to their targets. The US has a highly placed spy, the Cardinal, in the Kremlin, who has been passing them information for decades. Colonol Filiotov was a Hero of the Soviet Union, decorated for his valor in battle numerous times, but h ...more
Carrie Mulligan
Nov 30, 2016 Carrie Mulligan rated it really liked it
Interesting

I just begun reading all the Jack Ryan books in order , the first three were good but it took until about halfway through the book to get really interesting. This novel was interesting almost from the very beginning and kept me intrigued throughout . Lots of twists and turns. Looking forward to the next one.
Teri Pre
Oct 24, 2016 Teri Pre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: oct2016
Not nearly as good as Patriot Games but it got me thinking about when we supported Afghanistan against Russia. How times have changed.
Connied
Jan 21, 2017 Connied rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Clancy, gripping but a little confusing ending
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Tom Clancy was an English major at Baltimore’s Loyola College. As a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history, his dream of writing a novel came true with his first effort, The Hunt for Red October (1984).

He since wrote more than a dozen novels, which have a blend of realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. Ten of the novels, including The Teeth of
...more
More about Tom Clancy...

Other Books in the Series

Jack Ryan Universe (1 - 10 of 22 books)
  • Without Remorse (Jack Ryan Universe, #1)
  • Patriot Games (Jack Ryan Universe, #2)
  • Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan Universe, #3)
  • The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan Universe, #4)
  • Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan Universe, #6)
  • The Sum of All Fears (Jack Ryan Universe, #7)
  • Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan Universe, #8)
  • Executive Orders (Jack Ryan Universe, #9)
  • Rainbow Six (Jack Ryan Universe, #10)
  • The Bear and the Dragon (Jack Ryan Universe, #11)

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“So few people were left who knew what combat was like. People were so easy to frighten. Combat taught a man what to fear – and what to ignore.” 8 likes
“All field agents have some cowboy in them – even the ones from New York.” 7 likes
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