Tom Clancy Support and Defend: A Campus Novel
I approached this review with mixed emotions. While I was excited to be spending quality time with some of the terrific characters of the Tom Clancy universe once again, it was sad to recognize that the person responsible for this tale is no longer with us.
When Tom Clancy passed away in untimely fashion in October 2013, the world lost a ground-breaking novelist who propelled the political thriller to new heights. Ever since his first novel, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, was blurbed by then-President Ronald Reagan, people began to notice Clancy, and his novels --- mostly featuring Jack Ryan --- are all instant classics.
Mark Greaney has now quite ably picked up the gauntlet and kept the Clancy universe alive and well. SUPPORT AND DEFEND continues the saga of young Dominic Caruso, who has worked for the FBI and gained exceptional skills in the intelligence game. He now spends his time working for an ultra-secret U.S. intelligence unit that operates completely off the books and is known simply as The Campus.
"The action is nonstop, and SUPPORT AND DEFEND contains all the prerequisite political details Clancy fans have come to expect. Kudos to Greaney for keeping the story going while also blazing out his own path."
The impetus for this novel clearly is torn from the pages of today's headlines. Specifically, the issue surrounding ex-NSA employee Edward Snowden and the damage caused by his defecting the country and leaking tons of top-secret information is a reality our country has had to deal with. More importantly, steps must be put in place to keep such an event from occurring in the future.
Caruso is faced with just such a situation in SUPPORT AND DEFEND, which opens with a prologue that depicts an incident on a ship off the coast of India. A militant group of the Palestinian political organization Hamas has infiltrated the ship and targeted the captain for death. The group fulfills their deadly promise and await martyrdom as a result of their actions. This event will be tied to others later on.
Meanwhile, Caruso is dealing with the grief of losing his twin brother in an operation two years earlier and has chosen to study the martial arts technique Krav Maga under the guidance of a former Israeli special forces officer. This peaceful regiment is shattered when a group of Middle Eastern terrorists storm the home of Caruso's mentor, killing his entire family in the process.
Caruso eventually returns home to the United States deeply shaken and seeking revenge for the murder of his friends. His own investigation into these events leads him to one man, Ethan Ross, an up-and-comer in the intelligence game working as a mid-level staffer for the National Security Council. Seeking to jumpstart his career, Ross has decided to share top-secret information with members of the media. This includes the names and locations of all U.S. intelligence operatives working around the world. If this information, now located on an electronic device called a “scrape,” were to fall into enemy hands, the results would be devastating.
Caruso realizes that this leaked information is what targeted his Israeli colleague for death, and that may be only the beginning. In true Tom Clancy fashion, Greaney weaves a political firestorm of a thriller that finds Caruso chasing down Ross from the U.S. to the Caribbean and eventually to Geneva, Switzerland. The action is nonstop, and SUPPORT AND DEFEND contains all the prerequisite political details Clancy fans have come to expect. Kudos to Greaney for keeping the story going while also blazing out his own path. President Jack Ryan is only briefly referred to; the focus is firmly on Dominic Caruso in a tale of vengeance and global intrigue that is sure to please all who climb on board for this adventure.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on August 15, 2014