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The Scorpion's Gate

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  574 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Fiction can often tell the truth better than nonfiction. And there is a lot of truth that needs to be told.
-Richard A. Clarke

From the noted counterterrorism expert and #1 bestselling author comes an astonishing fiction debut-a novel of terrorism, warring nations, and political treachery... that could happen tomorrow.

For three decades, Richard A. Clarke worked in the W
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Putnam Adult
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3.35  · 
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 ·  574 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Will Byrnes
This is not a novelist’s novel. Clark is a good writer but not a gifted fiction writer. Still, the point of the book is not the literary merit. Clark is trying to show one possible result of “if things go on as they have been.” It is not a pretty sight. He populates his tale with players designed for their expository value. It is clear that the viewpoints presented are intended to represent viewpoints held by specific actors in the real stage of international politics. I enjoyed reading the book ...more
marcus miller
Clarke isn't a great novelist as it is clear he is writing to make a point-which if is that US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East is a mess. Based on his experience as a security adviser under Reagan, Clinton, and the last Bush he makes it clear in his "story" that there is a limited understanding of the Middle East, of Islam and its many varieties. He is particularly hard on Saudi Arabia and the willingness of the US to continue to back a dictatorial monarchy which supports the most ...more
This book takes place in the United States and the Middle East, 5 years or so in the future. Russell MacdIntyre and Brian Douglas are the protagonists with Ahmed bin Rashid as the antagonist. Clarke writes about his military experiences in fiction to better tell the truth about the United States' future relations. The country of Saudi Arabia has been taken over by a revolutionary regime and has a new name, Islamyah. A series of bombings and Chinese missles mysteriously show up in the same place ...more
Lawrence Arnow
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
I would recommend this. Clarke can only get better as a writer by writing more of the same stuff. Counter-terroism by an expert in the field. good stuff.
May 05, 2009 rated it did not like it
Dull Dull Dull
Greg Stoll
Mar 07, 2017 rated it liked it
The tagline for the book is “Sometimes you can tell more truth through fiction”, and the book seems fairly realistic. It’s a tad…idealistic, maybe, that a few people could stop such a major thing from happening, but then again maybe that’s how it works. The secretary of defense is evil, and although his name isn’t Rumsfeld, you get the idea. It’s a pretty good thriller, similar to Tom Clancy but a lot shorter.
May 13, 2008 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jim Johnson
Jun 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel is a work of fiction published in 2005 by an author with experience working for government agencies concerned with national security issues. He primarily focuses on the relationship between Saudi Arabian Islamyeh (a rebel group he depicts as having recently taken control of Saudi Arabia) and the nation of Iran. The novel begins with a terrorist attack on Bahrain, a small island nation off the eastern edge of Saudi Arabia and in the Persian Gulf. This begins a series of International a ...more
Richard Shepard
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Given this author's background in the bowels of several federal administrations working on national security issues and the tagline -- "Fiction can often tell the truth better than nonfiction." -- I had to wonder what "truth" he was talking about.

In short, he confirmed what serious government watchers have known for ages. There are factions within any administration fighting for the chance to advance their own agenda, be that agenda popular or generally opposed, or for good or ill--thus confirmi
Susan Beamon
Dec 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a great read, full of excitement and thrilling action. I like geopolitical thrillers as long as they are not spy heavy. While there are a good many intelligence operatives in the story, there are also reporters and government functionaries and military men and people who want a good future for
themselves and their families. There are also, because we are acting in a region with a currently vital natural resource, people who are interested in the power and money controlling those res
Jul 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book is horrible. The plot employs every tired cliche known. Characters are grating stereotypes. The editing, fact checking, and proof reading are sub-par. Some examples from the hardcover edition:

p58: "The Marine...cocked the M60 machine gun..."
The M60 is no longer in service with the U.S. military and would not be in use at the time of this story, ~2010. This annoys as the author takes obvious pride in his knowledge of military gear.

p88: "He looked up from the water to see flames from
May 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Richard Clarke served for eight years as National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism under Presidents Clinton and Bush, plus lots of years before that working for the Department of Defense and previous presidents. I’d read his non-fiction book about 9/11 Against All Enemies and found it compelling, shocking and well-told.
However, this spymaster is no novelist. He knows how to write, but not how to write characters, the quick cut of settings is a jumble, and the plot is so confusing.
Cody Tolmasoff
Sep 15, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: someone bored on a flight
This seemed to be one of those books that started as a script for an action movie. It was an interesting story line in the sense of how it played upon current events in the middle east. However it was hard to keep track of all the characters (there were a lot).

The end of the book was surprising. The story line was building up to a huge conflict with only a handful of pages to wrap everything up. I had no idea as to how it was going to end, but I was left satisfied. There were a few moments I th
Nov 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Certainly has faults that make it clear that it was written by a first-time novelist. Fascinating to get an accurate view of certain aspects of intelligence work from someone who know's what they're talking about. The writing style was fine, but the plot was weak, especially at the end. The characters were compelling, but there were a few too many to keep track of with so little text. The affair mini-plot was completely unneccesary and detracted from the book. The A-Team style shenanigan's at th ...more
May 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Richard A. Clarke was a high-ranking state department official until he differed with the Bush administration.
This book is not a great novel story-wise but is very informative as he depicts a future world in which the Saudi family is ousted from Saudi Arabia and a entire new alignment starts to shape involves Iran, China etc. and an historic look at Islam.
Quite fascinating if you're a current affairs buff.
May 10, 2009 rated it it was ok
I bought this book because Dick Clarke has few equals in this country in terms of his knowledge of intelligence, terrorism, and national security. It was also on the bargain shelf. For good reason. After the first few pages, I was curious how such poorly written dialogue could make it past an editor of high caliber, which I'm sure Clarke has access to, given his high profile. It reads quick and the plot is intriguing, if you can stomach some really mediocre fiction writing.
Apr 12, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a good read - the message (i.e. wake up and look past the nonsense the media is paid to feed you or the world will go to poop) and the premise (counterintelligence spy stuff in a slighty futuristic post Iraq era) are both good, and was executed better than many of this genre I've read recently. I particularly noted the clarity in which the military operations are described - it was very easy to visualize what was going on, unlike many from this genre.
Jan 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read this because "Against All Enemies" was a five star for me (and very exciting to read!). Clarke's fiction isn't quite up to his biography, but I did appreciate the epilogue detailing the "science fiction-type" technologies that appear throughout this book: they're real or under development. And, indeed I know that to be true because I'm working for a startup that makes an amazing bionic knee!
Apr 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Clark's fiction has the USA Sec. of Def. as a bad guy trying to return his oil allies from the old Sauds to the newly formed Islamyah and leading the USA to the brink of war with China and Iran. Well written and easy to follow this story warns of possible doomsday issues if and when unscrupulous politicians are in power in our country.
Vikas Datta
Feb 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a plausible scenario and well executed mostly though towards the end, there is a feeling of events being telescoped and there isn't a full sense of closure but I don't think the story ends here. Mr Clarke tells a most interesting story of what could happen in this volatile region - though I'm not very certain of the Iranian angle he takes
Apr 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
The story and plot lines seem to be believable, however the writing wasn't that great. I seemed to get lost in some sections, perhaps the author being a little too technical in some areas and the final third of the book I found it labourous to read and a little hard to follow in some places.
Certainly not a great book, but at the least a good book.
Matt Heavner
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the intrigue and "one future if we don't get our act together" aspect of this book. The final end game (military action) was less interesting to me than the politics and intel presented in the first 3/4 of the book. An interesting look at politics from an import and well informed author. Fairly depressing...
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting as far as its views on current events but did seem to be rather dry as far as fictional storytelling goes. Clarke IS very knowledgeable on the Middle East but tells his story as if at times it was a briefing instead of a story. His later books were better, and this book all in all is not bad.
Jun 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: thrillers

Well, Clarke certainly knows the ins & outs of the intelligence game, and this book packs a powerful message for us in the real world. As for the craft of writing and all that goes with, much is left to be desired, such as narrative, multi-dimensional characters, etc (you get the idea). So, at least you're warned (both ways):-)
J. Ewbank
This book by Richard A. Clarke was a very interesting and rewarding book. Sometimes I lose it in the alphabet soup which our country uses for various departments. However, the characters were well designed, and the plot was interesting, so it was a good read for me.

J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'"
Donna Kubiak
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
pretty illuminating on how our future world could operate...hopefully books by Mr. Clarke will warn people to pay more attention to the current events and not believe everything that is said about potential enemies.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Alternate history novel about s post-Saudi Middle East. Lots of plausible detail about the toys of the National Security State, and set speeches about democracy and such.

Moves along and the conceits are interesting if you follow such matters, and the atmosphere is convincing.
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a book written by a political insider. It gives some insight, although I don't necessarily believe it is completely accurate - possibly for security reasons. It purports to be fictioin based on fact. But it's intersting and reads easily.
John Sargent
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Putnam publishing house should employ a better proof reader. Mistakes make the story a little hard to stay with. A lot of letters (no glossary) muddled my concentration. All in all, a tough read for me.
Frederick Bingham
A novel about terrorism and mideast politics. It is set in the future. Saudi Arabia has been taken over by a rebel group. War is imminent between them and the US and Iran.Clarke writes non-fiction better than fiction.
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Richard Alan Clarke was a U.S. government employee for 30 years, 1973–2003. He worked for the State Department during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to chair the Counter-terrorism Security Group and to a seat on the United States National Security Council. President Bill Clinton retained Clarke and in 1998 promoted him to be the National Coordina ...more