Above all else, Tom Clancy’s novels garnered mass readership because his plots were either ripped from the headlines, or prognostications of headlines-to-come. Since taking up the mantle of penning the continuing adventures of characters based in the Jack Ryan universe, Grant Blackwood and Mark Greaney have maintained the author’s legacy. Their Jack Ryan novels, like the series’ originator, are rich in technical detail, stuffed with rote “Hooah” characters, and loaded with high-stake gunfights, high-risk espionage operations and political double-crosses. While modern thrillers have become leaner and meaner, Clancy’s novels have fortified their own distinct place in the genre by maintaining the hallmarks that popularised them in the first place. And Mark Greaney’s Truth Faith and Allegiance is a damn fine Tom Clancy novel, and a great addition to the Jack Ryan canon.
When Romanian hacker Alexandru Dalcu unearths a U.S. Office of Personnel Management file containing American security clearance applications, he uses his techno-skills to “weaponise” the data and effectively turn it into a hit-list for American’s enemies; essentially a rolodex of low-level and high-level government officials. A rogue Saudi pays Dalcu to construct a list of key American anti-terror fighters, and sells the information to ISIS, who recruit “cleanskins” — radical sympathisers unknown to the security services – – to attack targets within the United State’s borders. So the shit has seriously hit the fan, and what follows are increasingly brazen terrorist attacks on important personnel. Jack Ryan Jr. — son of former Clancy hero and now president Jack Ryan — alongside his comrades at the black-ops unit run by Hendley Associates known as “the Campus” — are tasked with bringing an end to the attacks.
Truth Faith and Allegiance is chock-full of the features that made Clancy’s works so successful: meticulous military detail, war heroics, and nail-biting action. There are moments you’ll wish the prose could be tightened, and a few scenes streamlined, to bring the next stunning action sequence to the page sooner, but there’s no doubt about it: Mark Greaney is the perfect successor to the big man himself. Even more impressively, Truth Faith and Allegiance has encouraged me to pick up Greaney’s non-Clancy affiliated work. This is a highly satisfying thriller that won’t sway the naysayers, but will satiate long-time fans, and other readers searching for a geopolitical/techno thriller to wile away the hours. An eminently readable, highly enjoyable romp.