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Without Remorse

(Jack Ryan Universe #1)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  55,119 ratings  ·  1,127 reviews
His work for the CIA is brilliant, cold-blooded and efficient, but who is he? In a harrowing tour de force, phenomenally bestselling author Tom Clancy shows how an ordinary man named John Kelly crossed the lines of justice and morality to become the CIA legend known as Mr. Clark. It is an unforgettable journey into the heart of darkness, without mercy--without remorse.
Published December 7th 2010 by Random House Audio (first published August 11th 1993)
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Mike Worley Research the books you like/want to read, then put them on your "want to read" list so you won't forget them, and then go to the library (your library…moreResearch the books you like/want to read, then put them on your "want to read" list so you won't forget them, and then go to the library (your library probably has interlibrary loans too) and pick up one of the books on your list and enjoy. (less)
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Community Reviews

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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  55,119 ratings  ·  1,127 reviews

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Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5.0 Stars. Absolutely superb novel focusing on the enigmatic John Clark who is one of best, if not the best, spy novel characters ever. This is one of my favorite Tom Clancy novels despite being a much "smaller" scale story. Highly Recommended!!!!
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-fun
This book was...well, ok. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't as good as I'd hoped, given Clancy's success.

First gripe: There were FAR too many side plots, which I know where there in some attempt to round out the narrative, to show how things happen, but it just got distracting. Stupidly so at times.

Second gripe: What the hell was Clancy thinking when he started calling people by different names? Sometimes a character is referred to by his first name, sometimes by his last, sometimes
Igor Ljubuncic
This book is good for three reasons. One, it's not a Jack Ryan story. It tells us how John Clark came into being, who he is and what he is, and the plot actually happens roughly 15-20 years before the main series.

Two, Vietnam, so it's low tech and gritty Ramboism.

Three, Tom Clancy normally wrote Puritan Republican-voting cardboard emotions for his characters with the full knowledge that they would be portrayed in the cinema, so it must look good. But here, he went the distance with John and actu
Tim Greaton
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So bad yet so good...

Tom Clancy has long been a hit and miss author for me. I should say that a lot of it has to do with his incredibly detailed and dense descriptions of everything military. He earns a lot of kudos for his intense knowledge of his subject matter and his ability to base his fiction in frighteningly realistic circumstances, but there are times when I just want to get on with the story and not learn about a firing pin and its historical significance to military maneuvers in the ea
Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The beginning was slow and mildly interesting. The end is well-done and elevates the rating. 5 of 10 stars
Henri Moreaux
What a fantastic book. Having seen Hunt For Red October/Patriot Games/Sum of all Fears at the movies and finding them to be good movies I thought I'd try out the actual books. Hating to start in the middle of a series I decided if I'm going to read a Tom Clancy book I might as well start at the beginning and enjoy them all (assuming they're any good) and boy am I glad I did!

This book isn't what I expected - I thought it'ld be more action, shooting and explosions with little substance, but no the
Thomas Strömquist
Another 'prequel' in the series (there were to be even more). This one went way back to tell us where John Clark comes from. Long and not so engaging. And John Clarke is not a sympathetic character. Did not care much for this one, but of course worse were to come...
Mike (the Paladin)
This is our first meeting with John Clark...if you follow Clansy's novels that tells you the back ground on this one.

This novel is quite a bit more violent than some of Clancy's other works (that's saying something I know) but that will hold true for the Clark centered novels in the series.

You get fast moving adventure with slightly less of the political twists you get when the books are about "Jack". This is an intense read.
Heaven Yassine
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Ce livre est a recommandé au fan d'Octobre Rouge et du Cardinal du Kremlin , il présente la vie d'un second rôle John Clark , ex SEAL devenu tueur pour la CIA n'y a pas de concessions , c 'est violent , mais justifié.

One of the worst Clancy's books I've ever read. Boring, too much description, too many unnecessary drama... Yes, I know it's about the "making" of the legendary John Clark, but I still cannot enjoy it.
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Executive Summary: I found this book good at times, and tedious at others. It rounded out to be a so-so thriller overall.

Audiobook: Much like the other Clancy books he's narrated, Michael Prichard does a fine job, but nothing spectacular. He speaks clearly and with good volume. He doesn't add anything extra to the story nor does he detract from it. Audio is a decent option here.

Full Review
This book is largely split into two parts: Military/CIA thriller, and domestic vigilante action crime dram
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Started with audio and then found that I could not tell when scene and character changed. I pulled a hard copy off the to-read shelf and had a great experience. I remember the time frame of the story and understand the military, the drug situation as presented.
I recommend this to people on both ends of political spectrum....Nixon is president after the LBJ admins. complete cockup in South East Asia totally destroyed the political power of centrists and conservative Democrats.
Justin Poe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew Esham
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kelly is a Navy Seal back in the states as Vietnam rages half way across the globe. He's done his service, and well, and is now working as an underwater demolitions expert.

Of course, that all changes when his pregnant wife is accidentally killed. Several months pass. Then on a wimhe picks up a female hitch hiker while he is on the way to his boat. (he lives on an island somewhere off the coast of MD that used to be a military site).

The hitch hiker has a horrendous past, she's running from some
Feb 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cold-war
51/100 Zweieinhalb Sterne hätten für diesen allzu umfangreich geratenen Racheporno gereicht, den TC später nachgeliefert hat, um die Entstehung eines Helden seines Universums besser zu unterfüttern. So ehrenhaft der Versuch auch sein mag, die Niederlage in Vietnam durch Verrat auf politisch-militärischer Ebene zu erklären, so fehlt es TC und eventuellen Mitarbeitern, am technischen Geschick die Handlungsfäden zu einem stimmigen Ganzen miteinander zu verbinden.
Die zahlreichen Handlungsstränge mit
Bill Varon
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good book, but the part that will stick with me forever is the torture episode that takes place on a very small unmapped military island on the Chesapeake Bay. Don't gang rape and murder someone's girlfriend if you're not able to defend yourself against her angry, psycho, highly trained military boyfriend, John Clark. Especially gruesome because the torturee was kept alive for days after being placed in a decompression chamber turned up and up and up and up, until one by one his ear drums ...more
Jake C.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All I need to say Is John Kelly is a BAD ASS! This was my first Tom Clancy book and won't be the last, I read this book because my friends have talked about how great of a writer Tom Clancy is. So I took a look at some of his books. And to be honest at first I did judge his books by their covers, because there was always some sort of gun or weapon on the cover. So I figured he would be the Michael Bay of literature, all explosions, a weak plot, and characters without any depth. But I was pleasan ...more
3.5 Stars.

A tense, well written thriller by the master of the genre. While the military operation plot was somewhat dragged out and bloated the revenge plotline was one of the most gripping stories of it's type that I've read. There were a number of likeable and memorable (although in some ways similar) characters in the cast and Clark/Kelly was a pretty cool protagonist, especially when he was fucking shit up.

Full review to come...
Jul 01, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Tom Clancy was the Steven Seagal of writers
Kevin Murphy
Jun 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ah, yes. Now I remember. I remember why I so enjoyed Tom Clancy in high school/college. This book has motivated me to re-read the entire Ryanverse set of novels (save for "Red Rabbit," which I just finished and was less than impressed with). I tried 4 or 5 times over the last 15 years to read this book, but never got into it. The reasons elude me. Perhaps it was a matter of maturity, but it's hard to say. Either way, a top notch thriller. Had a hard time going to sleep at reasonable times during ...more
Dec 11, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cool People
This one gets 4 stars (even though its from Tom Clancy) because the main character //ISNT// Jack Ryan (shudder), kills a dude in a deep sead diving pressure chamber. Also because John Kelly (main character) becomes John Clark, who was the mission briefer in all the Rainbow Six games I used to play as a kid. (Wooo Ding Chavez!!) -- yeah he's in the other books, but so is Jack Ryan ='()
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tom-clancy
The first time I picked up a Tom Clancy book was almost 10 years ago. I remember back then "The Cardinal of the Kremlin" turned out to be a bit too much for me. The technical detail was so mind-boggling that I couldn't continue beyond 100 pages.

When I was growing up, I regularly used to hear the Tom Clancy name associated with video games like Splinter Cell and Ghost Recon. So, when my eyes chanced across that name again all these years later, I couldn't stop myself from revisiting his writing.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-book, bard
This was an excellent novel except for the prolific profanity. I deducted 2 stars for it.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievably my first Tom Clancy book, but will not be my last! This is the story of John Kelly a man who lost his wife, found a new love, and had her taken away from him by the drug lords who enslaved her and tortured her. John has a mission: to rid the streets of the drug dealers who take young girls off the streets,turn them into prostitutes, addict them to drugs, then throw them away. John's other mission: working with the government to rescue 20 prisoners of war from a North Vietnamese pris ...more
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
4 Stars ~ My 90's reading contained many of Clancy's Jack Ryan stories including this one, which is John Kelly's (Mr. Clark) story. Jack's father Emmett is a detective that plays an integral role throughout this story. There's a brief scene with a very young Jack who is about to enlist in the Marines.

I had forgotten how intricate the plots are in Tom Clancy's books. This book opens with several sub-plots; Kelly's wife's death; the capture of an airline Colonel in Vietnam; the rapidly growing dru
Michael Barnett
Feb 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is by far, my favorite Tom Clancy book. Clancy departs from Jack Ryan being the center of attention, and focuses on a minor character--but a good one--from his other books, which we have never known well, but would like to. In this book, we get to know John Kelly (alias Mr. Clark), better than at times, we would like. Clancy takes us on a raw and powerful journey through Mr. Clark's life, with every dramatic twist and turn, showing us what it takes to create such a cold-blooded and effectiv ...more
Ian Sandusky
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In what is easily the best book I've ever read, Tom Clancy creates a cast of characters that trancend the series of Jack Ryan.

John Kelly, the main character of the novel, is easily the most astounding person I've ever read about. From his times in Vietnam as part of the Third Special Operation Group, to the harrowing tale embodying the main plot of Without Remorse, you just can't help but be taken away with the perfect machismo and badass-ness of the character.

The storyline in itself is excelle
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this back when it was first published. As a Clancy fan I was up to date until Rainbow Six,then the novels started going off in all directions with collaborations and I lost track and although I've bought more of Tom's books I can't stand reading a series out of order. But if you're a fan and you know where I'm up to you'll understand when I say nigh twenty years after reading it is the most memorable of all his novels. For its unswerving violence in the name of revenge. I'd recommend this ...more
Aug 01, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksread
This book is the best of Clancy's. It is also a must read for anyone who has read or is planning on reading any of Clancy's other books (at least up through Rainbow-Six, which is as far as I have gotten). Definitely adds a lot of background information that seeps into other characters and storylines in the series.
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  • Acts of War (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #4)
  • Shadow Watch (Tom Clancy's Power Plays, #3)
  • Sky Masters (Patrick McLanahan, #3)
  • Point of Impact (Tom Clancy's Net Force, #5)
  • Texas by the Tail
  • The Captains (Brotherhood of War, #2)
  • Under Siege (Jake Grafton #5)
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

Other books in the series

Jack Ryan Universe (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Patriot Games (Jack Ryan, #1; Jack Ryan Universe, #2)
  • Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan Universe, #3)
  • The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan Universe, #4)
  • The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan Universe, #5)
  • 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)
“The nice thing about enemies is you know where they stand. This is not always true of friends."

--General Sergey Voloshin”
“Christ, how did you ever get this screwed up! his mind demanded of
him. He knew the answer, but even that was not a full explanation.
Different segments of the organism called John Terrance Kelly knew
different parts of the whole story,
but somehow they'd never all come together, leaving the separate
fragments of what had ...once been a tough, smart, decisive and to blunder
about in confusion - and despair! There was a happy thought.”
More quotes…