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The Cardinal of the Kremlin

(Jack Ryan Universe #5)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  43,349 ratings  ·  586 reviews
Two men possess vital data 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 is the one 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 of the most important ...more
Kindle Edition, 554 pages
Published July 1st 1989 by Berkley (first published July 28th 1988)
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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)
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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 m ...more
Aug 20, 2008 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
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  ·  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
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 f
Jul 08, 2007 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
He leído una versión de la novela con mala traducción y con mala maquetación, así que la lectura no ha sido agradable.

La introducción al meollo de esta novela de espías, donde presenta el estado de la “guerra de las galaxias” me ha parecido demasiado larga.

Jack Ryan (Harrison Ford en las pelis) tiene un protagonismo discreto durante gran, gran parte de la novela. Vale, a partir de la mitad gana en protagonismo.

Lo siento, pero ver a los fedayines (al menos no son mujahidines) como “buenos” me ha
May 03, 2012 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
Mar 04, 2012 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 07, 2012 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
Jan 27, 2014 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
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 30, 2008 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 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
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
L.M. Mountford
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 u
Dave Jones
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spy, fiction, ebooks
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. Th
Aug 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marcia Lechleitner
I found this book difficult to read because so many characters are introduced and it is confusing.
Nana Dona
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again crazy ... really? .... but always a Clancy! But I missed some of his best characters. Enjoyed it!
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 KG ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, thriller
Een van de beste boeken van Tom Clancy. Genoeg spanning, en een hoop techniek. Boek komt soms zeer realistisch over.
Het boek handelt over, onder andere, een hoog geplaatste spion, met de codenaam 'Kardinaal', in de Russische Ministerie van Defensie, die al meer dan 30 jaar informatie doorspeelt. Deze spion dreigt nu echter ontmaskerd te worden. Door zijn hoge status in het ministerie en zijn bekendheid als 'Held van de Sovjet Unie', maken hem bijna onschendbaar.
Terwijl de KGB probeert om de za
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
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 countr
dead letter office
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.
Brian Sandish
Nov 01, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Could've told the story in 300 pgs instead of 700. Too many meaningless characters. Predictable ending. BORING meandering gibberish plot line. Jingoism at its worst. Complete waste of time. Clancy is the most overrated writer of words (can't call him an author) of our time.
Oct 26, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Aš stengiausi... Tikrai stengiausi. Bet ketvirtoji Jack'o Ryan'o dalis, ypač lyginant su nuostabia trečiaja - Raudonojo spalio medžiokle - pasirodo, yra tikrų tikriausia nuobodybė. Meh. Diiiiidelis nusivylimas.
Feb 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Arjit Anant
Jul 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Awesome. Intriguing. Political. Thrilling. Practical.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please update details 3 14 Nov 26, 2018 05:03PM  
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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

Other books in the series

Jack Ryan Universe (1 - 10 of 27 books)
  • Without Remorse (Jack Ryan Universe, #1)
  • Patriot Games (Jack Ryan, #1; 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)
“One presidential advisor to another: "If the world made sense, we'd all have to find honest work.” 8 likes
“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
More quotes…