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 #4)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  45,897 ratings  ·  659 reviews
In a rolling sea off the coast of South America, a target disappears in a puff of green light. In the Soviet hills of Dushanbe near the Afghanistan border, an otherworldly array of pillars and domes rises into the night. To the two greatest nations on earth, no contest is more urgent than the race to build the first Star Wars missile defense system, and no one knows that ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 547 pages
Published August 14th 1989 by Berkley Publishing Group (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
Robert Alot of his books are dated. I would say, Red Storm Rising, Hunt for Red October, Cardinal of the Kremlin, and CLear and Present Dangers, etc are ok…moreAlot of his books are dated. I would say, Red Storm Rising, Hunt for Red October, Cardinal of the Kremlin, and CLear and Present Dangers, etc are ok for a teen to read....(less)
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
Best Spy Novels
1,043 books — 1,922 voters
The Spy Who Came In from the Cold by John le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarréThe Day of the Jackal by Frederick ForsythThe Bourne Identity by Robert LudlumThe Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy
870 books — 1,105 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  45,897 ratings  ·  659 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Cardinal of the Kremlin (Jack Ryan, #4)
Igor Ljubuncic
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 ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 08, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Ken Hammond
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Cardinal of the Kremlin by Tom Clancy. Colonel Mikhail Semyonovich “Misha” 3 time winner of the medal Hero of the Soviet Union during WW2. By the 60s he had become disillusioned with everything incompetent leaders and wasteful loss of lives. CIA Recruited Misha after the deaths of his wife and 2 sons becoming its most valuable asset in the upper echelons of Soviet power. After a bungled effort to get information regarding USSR Star Wars program the much vaunted anti nuclear balĺistic missile ...more
Executive Summary: I found this one a bit uneven. The start was pretty slow, but the pace picked up as it went on. Good, but not great.

Audiobook: Michael Prichard did a decent job narrating. He spoke clearly with good inflection and volume, but didn't really add anything to the book. Audio a good option, but definitely not a must listen.

Full Review
I mostly read SFF, so it's always nice to take a break with another genre. I hadn't exactly planned to listen to this one, but I had put a hold in
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Classic Clancy. Perhaps his best work. Gripping, insightful, exciting. He was truly a master storyteller, the likes of which we probably won't see again in the political/military/espionage world. The first appearance by John Clark, the first appearance of Sergey Golovko, a few cameos from 'The Hunt for Red October' and a stunning ending.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
“The Cardinal Of The Kremlin” (TCOTK) is the fourth book written by the late Tom Clancy and the third featuring John Ryan. Written in 1988 it’s set in the tail end of the Cold War and is primarily based in Washington DC, Moscow, and Afghanistan. A time when it was the Russians fighting the Afghans instead of the US today (oh how allegiances and enemies can change over time).

Tom Clancy is an author I love and hate all rolled up into one. Many of his novels are classified as techno-thrillers...and
Jun 01, 2011 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 ...more
Luke Hays
Jun 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I just finished this novel this afternoon and oh man, great Clancy thriller! Tom Clancy does it again, he balances multiple storylines and brings them all together in the end. I like the historical backdrop, unlike Red Rabbit where we had a United States vs Soviet Union, this time we get a story set in Afghanistan dealing with the Russians vs the Middle East. Now, I did find it a bit hard to keep everything together as there where a lot of characters coming in and out. Many times I forgot who ...more
Brian Eshleman
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it
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
L.M. Mountford
Apr 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Yet another interesting work of cold war propaganda from Mr Clancy.

The story of this book had me scratching my head... what is this about? Firstly it starts off as Iraq freedom fighters, then disarmament talks, then an experimental anti-missile weaponry, then spies in Moscow, then KGB operatives kidnapping an American scientist... it just went on and on leaving me no team to understand the characters or their motivation. Four times it even had me drifting off to sleep.

Again the characters are
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
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
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
Dave Jones
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, spy, fiction
If I had the option, I would give this book 3.5 stars. It was a good, entertaining read although perhaps not up to the level of other Clancy stories. However, I found the plot resolution mostly predictable. Still I was fascinated by the characters and various plot threads. It was interesting to pick up on characters from earlier novels – even all the way back to Red October.

I actually did not intend to read this book at this time but two years ago, I moved from Bloomington to adjacent Normal.
Aug 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have already read this book, years ago, however, a friend just gave me the book tape, and as I can not remember how it ended, and I have tons of ironing to do, this book on tape will be welcome.

Story, takes place in Russia and Washington, the Americans are spying on the Russians, the Russians are spying on the Americans, the war goes on in Afghanistan and everyone who is spying believes they are doing it for a just cause!

In comes Ryan, who tries to sort it all out, for the best of both
dead letter office
Apr 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
have you seen tom clancy posing on the flaps of his more recent books, with his aviator sunglasses and his macho swagger? that is the picture of a guy who bought too much of his own shit. here is another picture of a guy who bought too much of his own shit. these people love flightsuits.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another terrific Jack Ryan adventure. I'm pretty sure I never read this one before now, but it is definitely one of my favorites. The action never stops, and of course, the good guys win in the end.

Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a twice read book. I did not know who the spy was until the end on second read. There had to be a hint somewhere within the book, but I could not find it. Probably I was too "tensed up" reading this page turner.
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great oldie to read now. The worries of Mutual Assured Destruction for USA and the Soviet Union in the pre-9/11 world with many political concerns thrown in—the ideas still apply. And if you are a Jack Ryan fan, these are his early days.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Solid story. Probably more like 3.5. Worth a look
Nana Dona
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Again crazy ... really? .... but always a Clancy! But I missed some of his best characters. Enjoyed it!
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it
The second half is better than the first. There are lots of little holes in the plot. Too much works out too well. But it is dramatic.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Icarus Agenda
  • Acts of War (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #4)
  • Hidden Agendas (Tom Clancy's Net Force, #2)
  • Under Siege (Jake Grafton #5)
  • Bio-Strike (Tom Clancy's Power Plays, #4)
  • Support and Defend (Jack Ryan Jr, #6)
  • Full Force and Effect (Jack Ryan, #10)
  • Breaking Point (Tom Clancy's Net Force, #4)
  • State of Siege (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #6)
  • Virtual Vandals (Tom Clancy's Net Force Explorers, #1)
  • Games of State (Tom Clancy's Op-Center, #3)
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (Jason Bourne, #3)
  • Fallout (Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, #4)
  • Politika (Tom Clancy's Power Plays, #1)
  • Under Fire (Jack Ryan Universe, #19)
  • Duty and Honor (Jack Ryan Universe, #21)
  • Sahara (Dirk Pitt, #11)
  • The Fighting Agents (Men At War, #4)
See similar books…
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 12 books)
  • Patriot Games (Jack Ryan, #1)
  • Red Rabbit (Jack Ryan, #2)
  • The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan, #3)
  • Clear and Present Danger (Jack Ryan, #5)
  • The Sum of All Fears (Jack Ryan, #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)
“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.” 9 likes
“All field agents have some cowboy in them – even the ones from New York.” 9 likes
More quotes…