Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan, #4)” as Want to Read:
The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan, #4)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  36,850 Ratings  ·  464 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
ebook, 560 pages
Published July 1st 1989 by Berkley Books (first published July 28th 1988)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Cardinal of the Kremlin, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

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)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
Igor Ljubuncic
Apr 04, 2015 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 opionaires. 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, satellite, LASERS, friggin' lasers, narrate that Dr. Evil style, everything you can expect from an 80s cocktail of Texas Ranger meet MIT postgrad meet ...more
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
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.


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
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
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
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
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
Sep 14, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Americans, Patriots
Ahh… 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
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
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
Ed Flynn
Jul 18, 2015 Ed Flynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book

Enjoyed it.
Interesting to read it again many years later.
Plan to read the entire Jack Ryan series in order.
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.
May 31, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#3 in the Jack Ryan series (chronologically it follows The Hunt For Red October (1984).

Jack Ryan series - The Cold War American-Soviet conflict brings focus on Jack Ryan as he steps in to investigate mysterious buildings on the Soviet-Afghan border. Before the examination can continue, the Soviets deactivate a satellite with a ""free electron laser"". Only because of a well placed spy - in the highest ranks of the Kremlin - are the details of this secret activity leaked to the United States gove
May 18, 2016 Max rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another cracking Clancy novel, Cardinal is a well executed six hundred page slice of late Cold War intrigue and one upmanship. Clancy is a master of portraying political theater and all the associated posturing and pandering in the most grand, yet totally believable manner. Along with his grasp of US and Soviet politics though, it's Clancy's vast technical understanding of military hardware and ability to portray it fully detailed, yet in such an entertaining way that makes his novels so grippin ...more
Jan 15, 2016 Brett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book based on a recommendation from a college professor who taught a course on "Intelligence and National Security." He worked in the "Intelligence" field and indicated that this is a good book to read to get an idea of what "spy games" are like. This is the first Clancy book I've read, although I did not realize when I picked it up that it is in the middle of the John Clark/Jack Ryan series. I don't think you need to read them in order, although it may be a good idea because it woul ...more
Sep 15, 2015 Ches rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ches by: stan
So, thanks to a coworker, I was a bit of a Tom Clancy kick. I watched Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger. Then I read this novel, which picks up right after Hunt for Red October ends. The book gives an amazing vertical slice of the cold war, from as low as guerilla conflict in the middle east to as high as the President of the US and the General Secretary of the USSR. There's a large cast of research dudes, military dudes, spy dudes, and politicians.

The strongest p
Jonathan Rivera
Mar 13, 2015 Jonathan Rivera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If one of your loved ones was planning to hurt innocent lives. Would you betray them and go against them? "The Cardinal of the Kremlin", by Tom Clancy is s fantastic militaristic novel. It illustrates the theme of betrayal at its finest. For someone interested in the Cold War, military and science story lines, no author is greater than Tom Clancy. With 17 bestseller novels and over 1000 million copies sold, Tom Clancy uses the theme of betrayal to keep the reader entertained. The main character ...more
Well I feel that this book could've been better from what I've read. The reason being that I am not a big tom Clancy fan and I have not read any other of his books. It was an interesting story for the most part. But the characters are real amazing they make made me feel as if they were real people. So I have to give tom Clancy props for that. He made me anxious to read the next page. Although there were times I was confused and had to reread the sentence.(that's just me)

But for the most part of
Michael Burnam-fink
Sep 04, 2014 Michael Burnam-fink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2014
I've got a fondness for airport reading, and when he's on, Clancy is as good as any. Cardinal of the Kremlin centers around the CIA's top source in Moscow, three time Hero of the Soviet Union Colonel Misha Filitov, who's been passing secrets to for 30 years. But bad luck blows his courier chain, and Jack Ryan and friends have to break every unwritten rule in the CIA-KGB game to get him out. There's lots of tradecraft and spy versus spy. Meanwhile on the tech side of the technothriller, American ...more
Nola Redd
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
Jul 22, 2014 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2015 Pearl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I will not deny it - I am a massive fan of Tom Clancy. He is a master storyteller and his knowledge of politics and political departments is astounding.

This Jack Ryan novel follows on from "The Hunt for Red October" and is set in Russia, Afghanistan and America. It starts quite slowly and my advice to anyone reading it for the first time, pay attention to the characters even in the slow parts because it gets fast-paced later and you find yourself getting mixed up, especially with the Russians.

Sep 21, 2014 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of the 7 or so Tom Clancy novels I've read in the course of my life, I think this one may be the best (and seeing as it's one of his better rated books on Amazon, it's obvious a lot of his fans feel that way as well). His fourth novel (though, chronologically speaking, it is in fact the 5th novel in the Ryanverse), it's perhaps best known among his fans for introducing a number of new characters who would go on to play major roles in future books of the series, such as the husband and wife spy t ...more
Jim C
Feb 21, 2014 Jim C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 07, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ever since I've read it, I've said that The Hunt for Red October was my favorite Science Fiction book. Most people probably don't regard it this way, but it fits the definition rather classically - a story built on the framework of a world altered by a speculative technology. Throw in an oversize cast of characters, subplots, politics, and authenticity, and Mr. Clancy spun a pretty good yarn. Naturally, I was excited to read its sequel, Patriot Games. That one was a bit wide of the mark. Well-wr ...more
Arjit Anant
Aug 02, 2015 Arjit Anant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Awesome. Intriguing. Political. Thrilling. Practical.
Danny M
Jan 12, 2015 Danny M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom Clancy is an American author known around the world for his fast paced action books, usually about the military and spy theme. All his books have a similar story and I feel it is better to do the same review for all the novels, as stated very well by another reviewer, they are pretty much the same. Very long, very detailed, and after a while, very repetitive. If you stop after just a few of his books you'd probably give them 4 or 5 stars, but beyond that they start to tell the same story. Th ...more
Jan 16, 2014 Will rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All fiction readers
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
Aug 10, 2016 Crescentia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: madison-ebooks
Gripping sequel to The Hunt for Red October. A true sequel, featuring characters, politics, and background established in the previous novel. I understood the characters' motivations and was invested in their success. The thing that keeps this book from being 5 stars is the plotline with the laser facilities--perhaps that thread appears again later in the series, but in this book it felt like a distraction.

Having read these two novels, it's clear that one of Clancy's messages is that the bonds
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
please add the book cover from amazon 1 4 May 24, 2015 06:12AM  
Goodreads Librari...: The Cardinal of the Kremlin ISBN conflict 2 15 Jul 28, 2014 09:55PM  
will jack ryan succeed in his mission against the russians? 7 33 Apr 22, 2013 10:59AM  
  • Acts of War (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #4)
  • (Tom Clancy's Power Plays, #2)
  • Texas by the Tail
  • The Archimedes Effect (Tom Clancy's Net Force, #10)
  • The Tin Man (Patrick McLanahan, #7)
  • The Secret Warriors (Men At War, #2)
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 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)

Share This Book

“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
More quotes…