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Dead or Alive

(Jack Ryan Universe #13)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  15,536 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews
Jack Ryan, the former president of the United States, is out of office, but not out of the loop about his brainchild, the Campus, a highly effective, counter-terrorism organization that operates outside the Washington hierarchy. But what Ryan doesn't know is that his son, Jack Ryan, Jr., has joined his cousins, Brian and Dominic Caruso, at the shadowy Campus. While a highl ...more
Hardcover, 950 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  15,536 ratings  ·  1,072 reviews

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Rachel C.
Plowed through this book in one day. I went in eager to approve, but didn't like it as much as I'd hoped. This is the first time Clancy has shared a byline on a Jack Ryan book and I'm a bit scared that the floodgates are now open for a ton of Patterson-esque cheap knockoffs.

I guess it was easier to enjoy the Cold War Clancys since there was historical, and therefore psychic, distance. I found it much harder to turn my head off and become immersed in this Middle East / terrorism story. I kept com
Mar 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Most people think Tom Clancy lost his nut on 9/11. And it's true, he's bugfuck insane. But it actually happened earlier than that. His fiction was predicated on the cold war, and the cold war ended, so Clancy flailed around looking for some bad guys to fictionally blow up. He tried the Japanese (Debt of Honor, 1994) and environmentalists (Rainbow Six, 1998). 2001 was actually a good setup for him, because he had a new generational conflict to fictionalize.

The thing is, the brain-eater got him. "
Peri Kinder
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was ok
"Dead or Alive” was boring. There wasn’t that hanging-on-the-edge-of-my-seat suspense that Clancy writes so well. I thought the writing was choppy, the story was bland and the characters were flat–except for the women, who always seem to have large chests. I trudged through 900 pages hoping it would get better–but it never did.

Give me “Hunt for Red October” or “Clear and Present Danger” and I’ll be in espionage heaven. But this one didn’t work. Too bad. But I’m not giving up on Clancy yet, mayb
Jan 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alain Burrese
Aug 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
It had been a long time since reading about the exploits of Jack Ryan, John Clark, "Ding" Chavez, and the Caruso brothers, Brian and Dominic. I've always enjoyed Tom Clancy, and have to admit, "Without Remorse" and "Rainbow Six" were probably my favorites because I really like the character John Clark. So, when "Dead Or Alive" came out, I was excited to read the newest story about Clark that also featured all of the other main characters from Clancy's novels. For whatever reason, the book got se ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This is another book the drives me to mention that we REALLY need a 10 star or a half star system. I switched back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on this one so often I almost needed Dramamine.

Of course the problem there would have been that when the book lost that 4th star it was because it slooooowed wwwwaaaayyyyy dddooowwwnnn... Since Dramamine makes you drowsy you can see the problem.

The book is well plotted as has been Clancy's record. We're following the characters of Jack Ryan, Jack Ry
May 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: myster-thriller
I was not aware, when I started this, that Tom Clancy was dead. Not that it changes anything but that makes me sad.
Uh, this was a fun book. I mean I'm probably the only person who gets bored, decides to read a 950 page book that they probably won't love, and ends up finishing it in less than 24 hours. This book was fast paced and the writing was so smooth and easy to read that I flew through it. I enjoyed the characters, the different POV's, and the length (because 950mpages actually seems very
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a tough book to rate. It was a strange book to read, too. At times, it read like really, really good fanfic. It's been a while since Clancy came out with a Ryan/Clark/Chavez book and maybe that's the reason.

Anyway, I'll keep this spoiler free and just say that the book had a really good ending when the action stopped, but Clancy couldn't stop himself from indulging in a little bit of fantasy/wish fulfillment at the end which was both unnecessary and unfulfilling.

Both Jack Ryans are bac
Russell Brooks
Sep 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
I tried. I really tried to get through this story. But there were too many problems with the way that it was written and put together that I decided that it wasn't worth struggling to like a story that just wasn't moving along. After 509 pages, I'm lost and don't see the point of continuing. I just had to accept that if I'm struggling with the story, then I'm not enjoying it.

To be fair, there were a few good things about it. The detailed military tactical info and a good description of the CIA's
Sep 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
My first-ever Tom Clancy novel. I found a terrifying distopia with an unsettling ending, and nary a hero to be found.

Set in a world where an ex-spy was made President of the U.S. for five years, stepped down, and now wants to be reelected. The current administration cuts funding for field agents, but that's OK, because the former President had a plan: set up an ultra-secret spy organization, privately funded and accountable to no one, and trust them with the security of the nation.

On top of *tha
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I feel like it's been forever since I've read a good Tom Clancy novel! And I was kind of skeptical and hesitant when starting Dead or Alive, for 2 reasons, 1, awhile back I had started reading the previous book The Teeth Of The Tiger, and Dead or Alive picks up right after that one, and I had a really hard time getting into Teeth Of The Tiger, and the second reason is this is the first of Clancy's books where it is co-written, so I wasn't sure if it was going to be the same, but after jumping in ...more
Dec 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
Weighing in at well over 700 pages, Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy and aided by Grant Blackwood is a monumental publication. Although in no rush to finish the book, it took me three days to finish and, my overall reaction to reading my first Tom Clancy thriller was one of efficaciousness.

It’s not very often that a book can afford to spend in excess of 200 pages creating a thorough and enviable foundation but Dead or Alive successfully achieves this, all the while creating countless scenarios and on
William Breakstone
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing

“Dead or Alive” by Tom Clancy

Reviewed by Bill Breakstone, January 12, 2011

Tom Clancy’s latest novel, “Dead or Alive,” is a 950-page monster, his 14th in a series that began with his classic “Hunt for Red October,” published way back in 1984. I’ve read 13 of these books, all but “Teeth of the Tiger,” and enjoyed them all. My last Clancy read was in 2000, thus it was a pleasure to return to most of the old characters, with a few new ones tossed in.

Dead or Alive is a complicated, many-l
Paul Pessolano
Jan 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Those of us who read Tom Clancy had to wait almost a decade for this book, and it is co-written.

"Dead or Alive" brings back the men of Rainbow Six, Jack Ryan, and Mary Pat Foley. It seems that Ding and John Clark are being mustered out of the service but find themselves employed by "The Campus". The Campus is a secret agency posing as a financial institute that runs covert operations but has no direct connection to the American Government. The Campus was set up by Jack Ryan before he left the Pr
Dodol Surodol
A long read, Dead or Alive is. I don't know if it's the "with" authorship or Clancy having changed -- lost his edge, if you will -- since '90s, but I find myself longing for the days of Patriot Games and The Cardinal of the Kremlin.

The actions are still good, the I.T. stuff believable (which is better than most books), and all-star setup having me excited. The authors are very in-your-face now with their right leaning. Either you're right or you're incompetent. The good guys even deem torture ne
Ryan Mac
Dec 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have to agree with several of the other reviewers--this was not a bad book but not up to the classic Clancy standards. The book focuses on The Campus, introduced in an earlier book. Several old characters like John Clark, Ding Chavez, the Foleys and others reappear. It was nice to see them again and nice that Clancy gave Jack Ryan, Jr. some personality. It was sorely lacking in the last book. Better than the average book of this genre lately. Don't be fooled by the size of the book (my copy ha ...more
B.J. Richardson
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tom Clancy was one of those authors I devoured as a kid. I remember reading Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Red Storm Rising, and many others in my junior high years. Later in High school and college, I would read Bear and the Dragon, Rainbow Six, etc. I don't know when I stopped but I saw his name come up as an audible suggestion and decided to use my most recent credit to pick back up where I left off. This was a really fun jaunt back into the world populated with people I grew to know an ...more
Hannah Polley
This book felt like such a slog! It's an odd set up book as it is set in our world at the present day but key things are different. The President is a fictional person, the number one wanted terroist in the world is called the 'Emir' and he has stuck into America.

I regularly got confused between the characters in this book and where they were - not because the book was difficult - just because I couldn't be bothered to go back and check.

The biggest problem with this book is that it is a real s
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
President Kealty wants to purge the CIA of its operatives (like John Clark and Ding Chavez) while prosecuting elite soldiers for murder. Ex-President Jack Ryan considers running against him as a result. Meanwhile, Jack Jr. is becoming an good operative in his own right as they all look for The Emir, a terrorist leader with nefarious plans.

For fans of the Jack Ryan series – as I am – this is another good book, and every Clancy book that can be read for the first time is a treasure now that the au
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it
The Campus is a clandestine group set by past President Jack Ryan and the members find themselves tracking down an Islamic Radical terrorist group that is implementing attacks would wide and around the US. The Current President is a Trumpish character who is making chances and policies that are encouraging the terrorists to continue their attacks. Jack Ryan is being to again enter the race for president in the next election. At 950 pages there is plenty of room for action in this one.
92 chapters and almost 21 hours of hearing every single character -- mostly top-ranking government officials and Special Ops -- calling terrorists and enemy combatants "the bad guys." I just can't take this book seriously.
Angela H.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller, audible, mystery
Tom Clancy delivers the usual thriller action. I love how his book incorporates Jack Ryan sr and Jack Ryan jr in the plot.

Even though I read his books out of order, I can see how the author develop the character of the main protagonists in the series. I highly recommend reading Tom Clancy books if you are looking for a simple thriller book!

I gave this book a 3 star because this book did not stand out to me in the Tom Clancy books I read so far.
Stan Usher
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best Clancy books I have read, and that is saying something! Superb plot, and even though this was written in 2010, the parallels between the sitting president in the book and Trump now are scarily accurate!
Tom Foley
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Typical Clancy. Book probably could have been 100-200 pages shorter without the political portions that did very little to drive the actual story.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Never judge Tom Clancy against the yardstick of literature, but do take his measure by the other books he has written. Reading his stuff should be a guilty pleasure, done for the fun of it. Sadly, reading his latest book “Dead or Alive” was more of a guilty chore.

The book weighs in at a hefty 900+ pages. There is lots of white space around the words. The story's pace never makes it out of second gear. The action jogs along at a sedate pace, not at the red-hot speed of a ripping page-turner. It r
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm going to rate this as a guilty pleasure 4 stars

I can't help but compare this to David Weber's "A Mighty Fortress", which I reviewed recently.

* Both books are the latest entry in a series of indeterminate length.
* Both books are ... let's say "plus sized"; Clancy's coming in at over 900 pages.
* Both authors are "Franchises".

Maybe I should explain what I mean by that. Besides writing their own books, both writers have enlisted other writers to write books in their "universe". A great way to ea
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
I had not picked up a Tom Clancy book in almost 10 years. I was a tremendous fan of his books through the late 80's and into the 90's. So let's start with what is good: Tom Clancy, as always, DOES HIS RESEARCH. He is a master at getting into the nitty-gritty technical details that it really makes you believe that he is writing from well inside some super-secret-squirrel compartment dug well inside the catacombs of government. His understanding of the military and tactics is also impressive and c ...more
Mar 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: spy-tech-etc
I have fond memories of clancy books - I seem to remember really enjoying a lot of his books, and given the size of his books, well, let's face it - we get our money's worth.

On the other hand, I just barely remember reading the last few of his books. I remember enjoying Rainbow Six (late 90s), and I think I remember enjoying up through the Bear and the Dragon (early 2000s) - though the idea of a war with Japan and the events that fell out of that seemed ludicrous at the time, and even sillier no
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nobody does intelligence/spy thrillers as well as Tom Clancy. I am not sure why he has a collaborator on this book, but you cannot tell, it reads just like his other Jack Ryan novels. Unlike other spy fiction that focuses solely on the agents in the field, Clancy covers the entire intelligence community, agents, analysts and the political structure of various agencies and how they interact, or fail to interact, with each other.

The scenarios are more realistic, sometimes the intelligence is there
Jan 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If I were asked to provide a quote for a cover blurb, I think "not quite as crap as the last one" would just about cover it. Still crap though.

A boring paint by the numbers plot, and while I've long thought that Clancy's fame for excellent research was unjustified the moment he went beyond the US borders or military topics, this one is particularly bad.

An example: One character flies from Moscow-Domodedovo to Berlin-Tempelhof in a KLM Boeing 747. That sentence alone contains five mistakes:
1. Tem
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Can This Be Read as a Stand-Alone? 7 60 Jun 04, 2014 10:41AM  

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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 Universe (1 - 10 of 30 books)
  • Without Remorse (John Clark, #1; Jack Ryan Universe Publication Order #6)
  • 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)
  • The Sum of All Fears (Jack Ryan, #6)
  • Debt of Honor (Jack Ryan, #7)
  • Executive Orders (Jack Ryan, #8)
  • Rainbow Six (John Clark, #2; Jack Ryan Universe, #10)

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