The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan, #4)
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The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan #4)

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  26,771 ratings  ·  338 reviews
Two men possess vital information 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 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...more
Kindle Edition, 554 pages
Published July 1st 1989 by Berkley (first published January 1st 1988)
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Stephen
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
Peter Meredith
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
Hugo
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
Jerome
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
Janet
Sep 14, 2008 Janet rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Konaka
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
Ed
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
Rob
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.

---

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
Nola
When Charlie Wilson's war hit theaters, I was surprised that many of my 80s-born friends only just learned that America had been involved in Afghanistan. I had known it for years - ever since I first read Clancy's The Cardinal of the Kremlin.

Most of Clancy's works are military and action based, so it should be no surprise that this is his slowest novel in the Jack Ryan series. The story is probably his biggest spy piece, complete with brush passes and dead drops, and probably more in tune with t...more
Dave
Like the first and second published Jack Ryan books, this is my second time through it, and I definitely enjoyed it more the second time. I gave the other books the same rating, but I actually think I like this one a little more because of the political intrigue and the larger aspect of the spy games and the ops role as well.

This book has Jack, still as a CIA employee, working for the U.S. during arms negotiations with the U.S.S.R. while his agency works to free one of their most valuable source...more
Jim C
A novel set in the Jack Ryan universe. This one is about a Russian hero who is giving secrets to the Americans has been discovered. This takes place during the height of the Cold War and most of the setting is in Russia.

Being a child in the late 70's and early 80's I loved the setting and the subject matter as it brought me back to that time. It had everything I remembered about the Cold War including enough nuclear arms to destroy the world several times over and the Star Wars defense system. T...more
Will
If you had to pick a novel with the greatest storyline of all time, The Cardinal of the Kremlin is it. As I read this book I could only admire the intellect of the author who concocted it. I am an author of action plots, and I can assure you that Tom Clancy made his bones with this book. The knowledge of the Cold War nuances, tripwires, breaking points and diplomacy reflected in this novel is pure genius. Perhaps one of the greatest reads of my life, and I was very glad it was so long that the t...more
Douglas
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.
Hilmi Isa
Dengan tidak disengajakan,Amerika Syarikat (AS) menyedari bahawa Kesatuan Soviet (SU) telah mencapai kemajuan di dalam projek sistem laser anti peluru berpandu balistiknya,yang diberi nama 'Bright Star'. AS dan Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) berasa bimbang dengan situasi ini. Oleh itu,seorang pemberi maklumat atau perisik yang diberi nama kod 'Cardinal' ditugaskan untuk memberikan maklumat yang diperlukan itu. Selaku pembantu peribadi kepada Menteri Pertahanan SU, Kolonel Mikhail Semyonovich...more
Zack
This book is a fantastic fit for anyone who loves a fun-filled, fast action paced novel. Tom Clancy already a well known excellent writer of action novels always keeps the reader on edge in this thriller. The Cardinal of the Kremlin is a grouping of two different interwoven stories. The two main characters are a CIA agent named Jack Ryan, and a former Soviet hero turned spy named Colonel Filitov. Both of the characters find themselves in deep trouble for different reasons but both need each othe...more
James Korsmo
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
Brian Eshleman
One would not think the author could build an exciting story around something as predictable and scripted as an international summit, but when Tom Clancy's hero Jack Ryan is the aide charged with helping to write the script of the summit, the excitement will follow him. Indeed, international political currents co-mingle with individual rooting interests as those in high positions of the US government must decide how much risk repaying one man's loyalty is worth.

Clancy's storytelling continues to...more
Bruce Snell
Book 5 in the Jack Ryan series by Tom Clancy. (3.5 Stars) The story is set in the late 1980s, to the background of the arms control talks between the Soviet Union and the United States. Both countries are clandestinely working on anti-missile defense systems based on using lasers to shoot down incoming missiles. The CIA's most highly protected agent within the USSR is known as the Cardinal, and he is sending information about the Soviet system to the US, but a small mistake, combined with coinci...more
Voyou
The collapse of the Soviet Union was a great blow to hopes for international socialism but, perhaps more importantly, had a deleterious effect on the novels of Tom Clancy. This is Clancy's last book to take place against the backdrop of the cold war, and probably also his best book. What makes the difference is that, during the cold war, Clancy found an enemy he (and we as readers) could respect. This has two effects on the book. First, the sense of genuine threat: the USSR is a danger to the in...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
Martin
I absolutely LOVE Tom Clancy's books! His ability to weave historical and current events into a believable alternative and (perhaps) fictional story is beyond amazing.

"The Cardinal" is a deep cover source in the Soviet Ministry of Defense about whom the readers have heard in previous books.

He's been offered extraction and assylum before but always refused but now his cover is about to be blown and the offer is made again.

Will he accept? If so, how on earth can it be done?

Only Tom Clancy could de...more
Joel
It is interesting to put yourself back into the paradigm of the cold war. I'd forgotten the fear we used to have that the Russians might launch atomic weapons at us. I like Tom Clancy's books. His greatest talent is the ability to put you in the shoes of every person involved in the plot. For example, I found myself at times hoping the Russian Official acting as a US Spy would escape and other times I was rooting for the Russian police trying to catch the spy. At another time I was hoping the Af...more
Zach Langenkamp
I read this right after Patriot Games, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Perhaps because there hasn't been a movie made from this book and was therefore completely new to me, I found this entry more gripping and engaging than the previous. Clancy's characters and his clear expertise continue to shine through. I especially enjoyed the glimpse into Cardinal himself - a patriot who loves his country to the point he becomes the highest level defector.
Robert
Given the change in the world since this book was released the plot seems a little dated. Aside from that this book is also probably the most compelling that Clany has witten. It also relies to some extent on characters from past Clancy novels which may it a little confusing for first time readers.

I didn't find the plot as entralling or suspensful as other Clancy works like the Hunt for Red October or Clear and Present Danger. I still however enjoy Clancy's writing style and plot development and...more
Brett
I read this book because I wanted to finally read a Tom Clancy book and see what the rave was all about. It turned out that as I randomly picked this among all the Tom Clancy books at the second hand store that it was about missile defense and I was working for missile defense at the time. It was a pleasant coincidence.

It was interesting to read a dramatized story based on the very interesting developments of missile defense and lazers. Even though this book was written a long time ago (in tech...more
Jay
This book had the slowest start of any Clancy novel and for a while I worried it wouldn't "get interesting". Much time is spent by the author describing Russian government officials sitting in their offices and just thinking. As always, focus shifts periodically between several concurrent events including storylines in Washington/Langley, Russian government, a defense installation, a US submarine, and an Afghan freedom fighter; two thirds way through the book this last timeline still doesn't ha...more
Marie-aimée
Du suspense jusqu'à la fin, le cardinal du Kremlin fait honneur à "Octobre Rouge". Il met en scène, rivalité scientifique et rivalité politique telle que dans l'Histoire de la guerre froide. J'ai adoré cette histoire d'espionnage, de rivalité entre la CIA et le KGB.

"Dissuasion nucléaire : prévention de la guerre par la menace d'un holocauste mutuel. Chaque défense disait à l'autre, en somme : Si vous tuez nos civils sans défense, nous tuerons les vôtres. La défense ne revenait plus à la protecti...more
Jamie Rogers
The first half of this was somewhat slow, boring, superfluous. I almost gave up on it. I don't like quitting books and so I kept on. The second half was much better. More action. Faster paced. Good ending. Didn't see the point in all the details about the Bright Star program or the American equivalent, Tea Clipper. WAY too detailed on that front. Nor did I see a point in the storyline following the Afghan Archer character other than making the Soviets more hated and "bad guy" - like. But I guess...more
James Kingman
This is the hardest of the Ryan novels to hold up, because the methods, the dispute, and the enemy have changed so much. But it is always interesting to read about hard-boiled espionage. The creepiest thing is the subplot regarding The Archer and American Stinger missiles against Russian invaders.
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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...
The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan, #3) Patriot Games (Jack Ryan, #1) Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan, #5) Red Storm Rising Without Remorse (John Clark, #1)

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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.” 6 likes
“One presidential advisor to another: "If the world made sense, we'd all have to find honest work.” 4 likes
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