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The Sum of All Fears

(Jack Ryan #6)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  58,449 ratings  ·  778 reviews
How do you save the United States President from himself? What if the President is incompetent to deal with the greatest crisis of all? Jack Ryan never thought he would have to ask those questions as, the world order changing, he prepares the ground for the Middle Eastern peace plan that, at last, might be the one to work.

But too many groups have invested too much blood. S

Mass Market Paperback, 928 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Berkley (first published August 14th 1991)
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Adam I don't know if it's too late, but definitely read Clear and Present Danger before this. I almost skipped it because I'm not interested in drug wars, …moreI don't know if it's too late, but definitely read Clear and Present Danger before this. I almost skipped it because I'm not interested in drug wars, but I'm glad I read it. It made so much more of this book clearer.(less)
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Richard Wright
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Oh thank God. Thank God it's over. I picked this up en route to Goa a few weeks ago, and I seem to have been reading it forever. As always, Clancy's world is incredibly detailed and credible, in many ways all the more impressive for its sometime parallels to the world we live in today. As ever, the central plot is great. As ever, there's just too bloody much detail for anybody outside of the military to maintain much interest. The characters are for the most part the same seven or eight core peo ...more
Darren Burton
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It has been rumored that permission to publish this book had to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and ever since then there is a standing court order that the CIA, FBI, and NSA receive advance copies of every Tom Clancy book a month before it goes to the publisher. Why? Well this book tells you step by step, in layman's language, in exacting detail how you build a hydrogen bomb. About the only thing that is left out is the exact amount of plutonium you would need. This did not sit well wi ...more
Igor Ljubuncic
Wow, wow, slow down. What? You never wrote a review for this book! I didn't? No, I didn't.

Let's rectify that.

In general, I like Clancy's books. They are formulaic and cliche, but also very entertaining, convoluted, with a good mix of politics, technology and Ramboism. The Sum of All Fears tries to tick all them boxes, but it also adds another - naivety.

It is rare to see giddy optimism in Clancy's books, but he tried to wrap this one with an extra dose of sugar-coated 'We are the World' whereby g
Thomas Strömquist
Together with The Cardinal of the Kremlin, my favorite Clancy. Sure, the stories stars to be a bit repetitive by now, but if you know what you are in for and look upon this as it's own work, it's brutally effective! The Sum of all Fears, is just that - there are so many things converging that the sum is overwhelming. The suspense and intensity does this story, even if it is a long and not always fast moving one. Forget about the horrible movie adaption, the double mistake of casting Ben Affleck ...more
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This really had me going when I read it because it all seemed totally within the realm of possibility. Gripping tale.
Brett C
Nov 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
This was a decent story but was very long in my opinion. I struggled to follow with all the subplots and backstory information.
Asghar Abbas
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was ok

Ben Affleck as Jack Ryan, bahahaha!

Jack Ryan is the Mary Sueist of all the characters in the history of this world.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
I finally got interested at about 600 pages - no kidding - for about 75 pages.

This was the worst book I've ever read (there've been some other bad ones, but I had the common sense not to finish them). If I could take stars AWAY from a book, I would. At about 700 pages, it got so tedious that I thought I wouldn't finish; why was I wasting my time? (I had this thought a number of times while plowing through it.) After that, I was saying, 'Oh, come on!' because it became so outrageous. A better ti
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
3.0 to 3.5 stars. I am a big fan of Tom Clancy, especially of his characters Jack Ryan and John Clark, both of whom figure prominently in this Middle East thriller centering on Nuclear proliferation. As good as Clancy is and as compelling as the story can be, this one felt just TOO LONG to rate any higher. With some strategic editing, this one could have been amazing. As it is, it is still very good.
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
My copy has 1,199 pages
Mike Hickey
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Working through the Jack Ryan series, I thought this on would be slow based on the early going. Not so. Clancy once again delivers gripping action and parallel storylines that come together seamlessly. My eyes couldn’t read fast enough in the final chapters as the two Cold War superpowers edge to the brink of global thermonuclear war.
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a Tom Clancy novel where the movie is better than the book (like The Hunt for Red October). The Sum of All Fears is so crammed full of everything Tom Clancy learned about building a two-stage nuclear weapon and about submarines and submarine warfare that it really detracts from the interesting plot, which could have been pulled together in half or one third of the space. And if you haven't read earlier Clancy books you won't get some of the references to hero Jack Ryan's earlier adventur ...more
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ys
now to make a bomb of my own...

rest in peace, tom

and oh, one thing i didn't notice when i first read this (this was way back in the '90s): black sunday was referenced three times, though in film form (and not the book) in all instances
Lance Howell
Aug 30, 2008 rated it liked it
I think I now know how to make a nuclear bomb...
Chad Sayban
Sep 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Sum of All Fears isn’t Tom Clancy’s best written book in the series, but as the title suggests, it is certainly the most frightening – especially when it was written during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the thaw of the Cold War. It is a sobering look at what can happen when dysfunctional Washington leadership is confronted with an unthinkable attack and how things can spiral out of control. Considering it was written ten years before 9/11, it is startling how it foreshadowed the worst ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Penthouse Letters:

You'll never believe what happened one day when I was sitting in the library, flipping through the latest copy of "Jane's Guide to Military Technology"--let's just say that my passive sonar went active!

Ping-ping-ping went my heart at the thought of sturdily-designed hardware like the Israeli Merkava tank...the shaft of its 120mm MG253 smoothbore gun, capable of firing APDS as well as HEAT rounds looming over me, making me quiver...I couldn't help but imagine the feel of i
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clancy
Clancy's gripping depiction of just how fragile the nature of leadership can be in the midst of crisis is shockingly frightening. When emotions run high and the ever-present voice of reason (who else but Jack Ryan) is ignored, Clancy masterfully paints his most intense piece yet. ...more
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
long in some parts but loved interweaving story.
L.G. Cullens
Seeing an update here on Goodreads, I remember I read this back in the 90s(?). I don't remember much of the detail of the book now, other than the nuclear bomb and the football stadium, but back when I was reading Tom Clancy's novels it seems it entertained me. ...more
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Tom Clancy's books are like having sex for the first time: It starts out exciting, gets a little awkward in the middle as you have no idea what's going on and are waiting for something to happen; it becomes intense toward the end but it ends too quickly and you feel unsatisfied.

All major conflicts in the book are too well-resolved. Clancy expertly builds suspense when Cathy is convinced Jack is having an affair, only for it to end anticlimactically with Clark explaining it all
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Like most of his work, Clancy's "The Sum of All Fears" starts pretty uneventful. The events have played out pretty much as you would have expected from the end of "Clear and Present Danger" and the new president and his cabinet have settled into their new roles and with Ryan's help are looking towards a more more peaceful future. As you can expect that doesn't go as planned.

The biggest criticism I've seen/heard/read about "The Sum of All Fears" is how long it takes for any real action to takes p
Scot Parker
Jun 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other-fiction
This novel was quite suspenseful and engaging; were it not for the heavy doses of racism, sexism, and anti-left propaganda, it would have earned 3-4 stars from me. In my experience, Clancy's novels are often characterized by racism, sexism, and right-wing propaganda, but these themes reached new heights in The Sum of All Fears, and bigotry is about the fastest way to earn a 1-star review from me. ...more
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Slow first third of the book. The rest was action packed
Executive Summary: After how much I enjoyed Clear and Present Danger this one was a pretty big letdown. It dragged a lot in places, but the ending helped make up for it a little. 2.5 Stars.

Audiobook: Scott Brick does his usual fine job. He does a few accents (in particular Russian) to add a little something extra. For the most he just reads in his normal voice though. Doing the audio for this book both helped and hurt.

There were times when I was bored that I might have put the text down and the
May 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
While this book was not terrible, I found it much worse than other Clancy works. Clancy has always been a bit "long-winded," but I never noticed it quite like in The Sum of All Fears. Clancy's penchant for throwing endless trips to Carol Zimmer's store (and that annoying way he writes her accent), endless football banter between the "SecDef" and others, and other tedious paragraphs (he must have Marvin Russell fantasize about revenge for his brother's death at least 5 times - in nearly the exact ...more
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll do the same review for all Clancy's novels because they're all 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 grate. Especially where Jack Ryan is involved. I mean, Clancy spends hundreds of pages getting his details just right, the settings perfect etc., then he has Ryan dodging more bullets than James Bond! I finally threw my hands up and surr ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'd echo the top review: "Thank God it's over." This was a long slog--it took me two years of off-and-on reading to finish. Oh, the data dumps! I eventually learned to skip over the tedious technical descriptions of buttons and mechanisms that didn't alter outcomes in the story one iota. But it was still slow.

And this book switched mid-page from one setting and cast of characters to another, with "scenes" often lasting only a single paragraph before switching back to some other group. Awkward/ch
Jan 05, 2008 rated it it was ok
I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. I liked the plot well enough, and was happy with where the story went in many areas but the technical jargon was in abundance and definitely way over my head. I had thoughts of giving up on this book many times, but the story line kept me reading, despite struggling with what I felt were too many technical details, so that says something for the story, I guess. ...more
Jun 15, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: abandoned
I tried so hard. I've been lugging this book around since Arizona and I thought I should read at least one Tom Clancy novel in my lifetime.

I can't. My body/mind refuse. I'll pick it up on the metro, read a page, and decide I'd rather stare into space for the remaining 40 minutes of my commute than read this.

Maybe if the terrorists had cyborgs... or if Jack Ryan was a paladin or something?
Khairul Hezry
Oct 21, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
I liked this book. However, I cringe every time the bad guys talk to each other. It's just not...real. Clancy loves to describe military hardware but when it comes to writing realistic conversation, he fails. Still, not a bad book. ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Jack Ryan (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Patriot Games (Jack Ryan, #1)
  • Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan, #2)
  • The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan, #3)
  • The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan, #4)
  • Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan, #5; Jack Ryan Universe, #6)
  • Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan, #7)
  • Executive Orders (Jack Ryan, #8)
  • Command Authority (Jack Ryan, #9)
  • Full Force and Effect (Jack Ryan, #10)
  • Commander-in-Chief (Jack Ryan, #11)

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