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Debt of Honor

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Overview

Every novel by Tom Clancy has been "a jaw-tightener and a nail-biter of the first order," as the San Diego Union described Without Remorse. But Debt of Honor surpasses them all, with Jack Ryan facing his greatest challenge - against a peril that may become all too real. In retrospect, it would seem an odd way to start a war. . . . The end of history. The new world order. Fine phrases, but as Jack Ryan is about to discover, history isn't dead yet - and only the nature of the threat is new. On the Pacific island of...
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Debt of Honor

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Overview

Every novel by Tom Clancy has been "a jaw-tightener and a nail-biter of the first order," as the San Diego Union described Without Remorse. But Debt of Honor surpasses them all, with Jack Ryan facing his greatest challenge - against a peril that may become all too real. In retrospect, it would seem an odd way to start a war. . . . The end of history. The new world order. Fine phrases, but as Jack Ryan is about to discover, history isn't dead yet - and only the nature of the threat is new. On the Pacific island of Saipan, a wealthy Japanese businessman regards his new-bought land with satisfaction. In the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka, a foreign navy begins a series of highly unusual exercises. At the headquarters of America's major stock-clearing corporation, an engineer brings a customized computer program on-line for the first time, and smiles at his own private joke. Three seemingly unrelated incidents, but all just the first links in a chain of events that will stun the world. Called out of retirement to serve as the new President's National Security Advisor, Jack Ryan quickly realizes that the problems of peace are fully as complex as those of war. Enemies have become friends, friends enemies, and even the form of conflict has changed. What he cannot realize, however, is just how close the next conflict is. And when one of those new enemies readies a strike not only at America's territory, but at the heart of her economy, it is Ryan, with the help of CIA officers John Clark and Domingo Chavez, who must prepare an untested President to meet the challenge, if Ryan can only figure out how. For there is a debt of honor to be paid - and the price will be terrifyingly high. . . .

Called out of retirement to serve as the new President's National Security Advisor, Jack Ryan quickly realizes that the problems of peace are fully as complex as those of war. Enemies have become friends, friends enemies, and Ryan has no idea just how close the next conflict is. A timely and gripping novel, filled with the realism and plotting that are Clancy hallmarks.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Jack Ryan, now the President's National Security Adviser, finds himself embroiled in the buildup to a new world war-one in which the stock market and national economic policy are as critical as advanced weaponry. A power-hungry Japanese financier, still blaming America for his parents' deaths in WWII, plans to use his immense wealth to purchase his revenge. A fatal auto accident in the U.S., caused by faulty gas tanks in two Japanese cars, leads to the breakdown of U.S.-Japanese trade agreements. Spies track each other; nuclear weapons are built and hidden; Ryan and an assortment of his old colleagues maneuver ships, planes and spies into harm's way. As always, the author of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger spins out story threads in a rich but bewildering tangle of plot and setting, then vigorously weaves them together. Here, the heart-stopping climax is unexpected, but oddly appropriate. As always, Clancy instructs (sometimes didactically) as he entertains, teaching us about currency trading, Asian business etiquette and the daily life of an American politician. Without taking up Japan-bashing, as Michael Crichton did in Rising Sun, or partisan politics, Clancy warns that recent downsizing in the defense establishment has so depleted our military resources that the country is vulnerable to aggression that can arise anywhere, anytime. 2 million first printing; BOMC selection. (Aug.)
Library Journal
As top gun of a genre with drooping sales figures, Clancy seems poised to give the technothriller a much-needed shot in the arm with this story featuring his most popular creation, Jack Ryan. A BOMC main selection.
School Library Journal
YA-Teens patient enough to allow the multiple plot strands to develop will be treated to nonstop action in this novel of political intrigue. The fiery deaths of five Americans, caused by faulty gas tanks in two new, wildly popular Japanese cars, result in the breakdown of trade relations between the two countries. Jack Ryan, National Security Advisor, is a key player in this and the concurrent complications-the collapse of the stock market and the Japanese military takeover of the Marianas. The details that make the story seem real also provide insight into the Japanese and American business/political cultures and bring into sharp focus the danger of a downsized military. Clancy gives government students a front-seat view of world politics, English students an excellent lesson in point of view, and general readers a thought-provoking and entertaining ride.-Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Patrick Buchanan
Debt of Honor is a premonition of crises that may be over the horizon for an America that has come to believe that foreign crises are the stuff of yesterday. Worth reflecting on; besides, it is another crackling good read.
— The Washington Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425147580
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Series: Jack Ryan Series , #7
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 1008
  • Sales rank: 132,123
  • Product dimensions: 4.33 (w) x 6.93 (h) x 1.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Best-selling author Tom Clancy was an English major at Baltimore’s Loyola College and he had a dream of writing a novel. As a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history, his dream came true with his first effort, The Hunt for Red October. He has since written 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 the Tiger feature the character Jack Ryan, former stock broker and CIA employee. Mr. Clancy’s nonfiction works include a series of guided tours of America’s warfighting assets, Submarine, Armored Cav, Fighter Wing, Marine, and Airborne. He lives in Maryland.

From the Audiobook Download edition.

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    1. Hometown:
      Huntingtown, Maryland
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Baltimore, Maryland
    1. Date of Death:
      October 1, 2013
    2. Place of Death:
      Baltimore, Maryland

Read an Excerpt

Prologue
Sunset, Sunrise

In retrospect, it would seem an odd way to start a war. Only one of the participants knew what was really happening, and even that was a coincidence. The property settlement had been moved up on the calendar due to a death in the attorney's family, and so the attorney was scheduled for a redeye flight, two hours from now, to Hawaii.

It was Mr. Yamata's first property closing on American soil. Though he owned many properties in the continental United States, the actual title transfer had always been handled by other attorneys, invariably American citizens, who had done precisely what they had been paid to do, generally with oversight by one of Mr. Yamata's employees. But not this time. There were several reasons for it. One was that the purchase was personal and not corporate. Another was that it was close, only two hours by private jet from his home. Mr. Yamata had told the settlement attorney that the property would be used for a weekend getaway house. With the astronomical price of real estate in Tokyo, he could buy several hundred acres for the price of a modestly large penthouse apartment in his city of residence. The view from the house he planned to build on the promontory would be breathtaking, a vista of the blue Pacific, other islands of the Marianas Archipelago in the distance, air as clean as any on the face of the earth. For all those reasons Mr. Yamata had offered a princely fee, and done so with a charming smile.
And for one reason more.

The various documents slid clockwise around the circular table, stopping at each chair so that signatures could be affixed at the proper place, marked with yellow Post-it notes, and then it was time for Mr. Yamata to reach into his coat pocket and withdraw an envelope. He took out the check and handed it to the attorney.

"Thank you, sir," the lawyer said in a respectful voice, as Americans always did when money was on the table. It was remarkable how money made them do anything. Until three years before, the purchase of land here by a Japanese citizen would have been illegal, but the right lawyer, and the right case, and the right amount of money had fixed that, too. "The title transfer will be recorded this afternoon."

Yamata looked at the seller with a polite smile and a nod, then he rose and left the building. A car was waiting outside. Yamata got in the front passenger seat and motioned peremptorily for the driver to head off. The settlement was complete, and with it the need for charm.

Like most Pacific islands, Saipan is of volcanic origin. Immediately to the east is the Marianas Trench, a chasm fully seven miles deep where one geological plate dives under another. The result is a collection of towering coneshaped mountains, of which the islands themselves are merely the tips. The Toyota Land Cruiser followed a moderately smooth road north, winding around Mount Achugao and the Mariana Country Club toward Marpi Point. There it stopped.

Yamata alighted from the vehicle, his gaze resting on some farm structures that would soon be erased, but instead of walking to the building site for his new house, he headed toward the rocky edge of the cliff. Though a man in his early sixties, his stride was strong and purposeful as he moved across the uneven field. If it had been a farm, then it had been a poor one, he saw, inhospitable to life. As this place had been, more than once, and from more than one cause.

His face was impassive as he reached the edge of what the locals called Banzai Cliff. An onshore wind was blowing, and he could see and hear the waves marching in their endless ranks to smash against the rocks at the base of the cliff — the same rocks that had smashed the bodies of his parents and siblings after they, and so many others, had jumped off to evade capture by the advancing U.S. Marines. The sight had horrified the Marines, but Mr. Yamata would never appreciate or acknowledge that.

The businessman clapped his hands once and bowed his head, both to call the attention of the lingering spirits to his presence and to show proper obeisance to their influence over his destiny. It was fitting, he thought, that his purchase of this parcel of land now meant that 50.016% of the real estate on Saipan was again in Japanese hands, more than fifty years since his family's death at American hands.

He felt a sudden chill, and ascribed it to the emotion of the moment, or perhaps the nearness of his ancestors' spirits. Though their bodies had been swept away in the endless surf, surely their kami had never left this place, and awaited his return. He shuddered, and buttoned his coat. Yes, he'd build here, but only after he'd done what was necessary first.

First, he had to destroy.

————————————————

It was one of those perfect moments, half a world away. The driver came smoothly back, away from the ball, in a perfect arc, stopped for the briefest of moments, then accelerated back along the same path, downward now, gaining speed as it fell. The man holding the club shifted his weight from one leg to the other. At the proper moment, his hands turned over as they should, which caused the club head to rotate around the vertical axis, so that when the head hit the ball it was exactly perpendicular to the intended flight path. The sound told the tale — a perfect tink (it was a metal-headed driver). That, and the tactile impulse transmitted through the graphite shaft, told the golfer everything he needed to know. He didn't even have to look. The club finished its follow-through path before the man's head turned to track the flight of the ball.

Unfortunately, Ryan wasn't the one holding the club.

Jack shook his head with a rueful grin as he bent to tee up his ball. "Nice hit, Robby."

Rear Admiral (lower half) Robert Jefferson Jackson, USN, held his pose, his aviator's eyes watching the ball start its descent, then bounce on the fairway about two hundred fifty yards away. The bounces carried it another thirty or so. He didn't speak until it stopped, dead center. "I meant to draw it a little."

"Life's a bitch, ain't it?" Ryan observed, as he went through his setup ritual. Knees bent, back fairly straight, head down but not too much, the grip, yes, that's about right. He did everything the club pro had told him the previous week, and the week before then, and the week . . . bringing the club back . . . and down . . .

. . . and it wasn't too bad, just off the fairway to the right, a hundred eighty yards, the best first-tee drive he'd hit in . . . forever. And approximately the same distance with his driver that Robby would have gotten with a firm seven-iron. About the only good news was that it was only 7:45 A.M., and there was nobody around to share his embarrassment.

At least you cleared the water.

"Been playing how long, Jack?"

"Two whole months."

Jackson grinned as he headed down to where the cart was parked. "I started in my second year at Annapolis. I have a head start, boy. Hell, enjoy the day."

There was that. The Greenbrier is set among the mountains of West Virginia. A retreat that dates back to the late eighteenth century, on this October morning the white mass of the main hotel building was framed with yellows and scarlets as the hardwood trees entered their yearly cycle of autumn fire.

"Well, I don't expect to beat you," Ryan allowed as he sat down in the cart.

A turn, a grin. "You won't. Just thank God you're not working today, Jack. I am."

Neither man was in the vacation business, as much as each needed it, nor was either man currently satisfied with success. For Robby it meant a flag desk in the Pentagon. For Ryan, much to his surprise even now, it had been a return to the business world instead of to the academic slot that he'd wanted — or at least thought he'd wanted — standing there in Saudi Arabia, two and a half years before. Perhaps it was the action, he thought — had he become addicted to it? Jack asked himself, selecting a three-iron. It wouldn't be enough club to make the green, but he hadn't fairway woods yet. Yeah, it was the action he craved even more than his occasional escape from it.

"Take your time, and don't try to kill it. The ball's already dead, okay?"

"Yes, sir, Admiral, sir," Jack replied.

"Keep your head down. I'll do the watching."

"All right, Robby." The knowledge that Robby would not laugh at him, no matter how bad the shot, was somehow worse than the suspicion that he might. On last reflection, he stood a little straighter before swinging. His reward was a welcome sound:

Swat. The ball was thirty yards away before his head came up to see it, still heading left . . . but already showing a fade back to the right.

"Jack?"

"Yeah," Ryan answered without turning his head.

"Your three-iron," Jackson said, chuckling, his eyes computing the flight path. "Don't change anything. Do it just like that, every time."

Somehow Jack managed to put his iron back in the bag without trying to wrap the shaft around his friend's head. He started laughing when the cart moved again, up the right-side rough toward Robby's ball, the single white spot on the green, even carpet.

"Miss flying?" he asked gently.

Robby looked at him. "You play dirty, too," he observed. But that was just the way things went. He'd finished his last flying job, screened for flag, then been considered for the post of commander of the Naval Aviation Test Center at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, where his real title would have been Chief Test Pilot, U.S. Navy. But instead Jackson was working in J-3, the operations directorate for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. War Plans, an odd slot for a warrior in a world where war was becoming a thing of the past. It was more career-enhancing, but far less satisfying than the flying billet he'd really wanted. Jackson tried to shrug it off. He'd done his flying, after all. He'd started in Phantoms and graduated to Tomcats, commanded his squadron, and a carrier air wing, then screened early for flag rank on the basis of a solid and distinguished career during which he'd never put a foot wrong. His next job, if he got it, would be as commander of a carrier battle group, something that had once seemed to him a goal beyond the grasp of Fortune itself. Now that he was there, he wondered where all the time had gone, and what lay ahead. "What happens when we get old?"

"Some of us take up golf, Rob."

"Or go back to stocks and bonds," Jackson countered. An eight-iron, he thought, a soft one. Ryan followed him to his ball.

"Merchant banking," Jack proffered. "It's worked out for you, hasn't it?"

That made the aviator — active or not, Robby would always be a pilot to himself and his friends — look up and grin. "Well, you turned my hundred thou' into something special, Sir John." With that, he took his shot. It was one way to get even. The ball landed, bounced, and finally stopped about twenty feet from the pin.

"Enough to buy me lessons?"

"You sure as hell need 'em." Robby paused and allowed his face to change. "A lot of years, Jack. We changed the world." And that was a good thing, wasn't it?

"After a fashion," Jack conceded with a tight smile. Some people called it an end to history, but Ryan's doctorate was in that field, and he had trouble with the thought.
"You really like it, what you're doing now?"

"I'm home every night, usually before six. I get to see all the Little League games in the summer, and most of the soccer games in the fall. And when Sally's ready for her first date, I won't be in some goddamned VC-20B halfway to nowhere for a meeting that doesn't mean much of anything anyway." Jack smiled in a most comfortable way. "And I think I prefer that even to playing good golf."

"Well, that's a good thing, 'cuz I don't even think Arnold Palmer can fix your swing. But I'll try," Robby added, "just because Cathy asked me to."

Jack's pitch was too strong, forcing him to chip back onto the green — badly — where three putts carded him a seven to Robby's par four.

"A golfer who plays like you should swear more," Jackson said on the way to the second tee. Ryan didn't have a chance for a rejoinder.

He had a beeper on his belt, of course. It was a satellite beeper, the kind that could get you almost anywhere. Tunnels under mountains or bodies of water offered some protection, but not much. Jack plucked it off his belt. It was probably the Silicon Alchemy deal, he thought, even though he'd left instructions. Maybe someone had run out of paper clips. He looked at the number of the LCD display.

"I thought your home office was New York," Robby noted. The area code on the display was 202, not the 212 Jack had expect to see.

"It is. I can teleconference most of my work out of Baltimore, but at least once a week I have to catch the Metroliner up there." Ryan frowned. 757-5000. The White House Signals Office. He checked his watch. It was 7:55 in the morning, and the time announced the urgency of the call more clearly than anything else could. It wasn't exactly a surprise, though, was it? he asked himself. Not with what he'd been reading in the papers every day. The only thing unexpected was the timing. He'd expected the call much sooner. He walked to the cart and the golf bag, where he kept his cellular phone. It was the one thing in the bag, actually, that he knew how to use.

It took only three minutes, as an amused Robby waited in the cart. Yes, he was at The Greenbrier. Yes, he knew that there was an airport not too far from there. Four hours? Less than an hour out and back, no more than an hour at his destination. Back in time for dinner. He'd even have time to finish his round of golf, shower, and change before he left, Jack told himself, folding the phone back up and dropping it in the pocket of the golf bag. That was one advantage of the world's best chauffeur service. The problem was that once they had you, they never liked to let go. The convenience of it was designed only to make it a more comfortable mode of confinement. Jack shook his head as he stood at the tee, and his distraction had a strange effect. The drive up the second fairway landed on the short grass, two hundred ten yards downrange, and Ryan walked back to the cart without a single word, wondering what he'd tell Cathy.

———————————————

The facility was brand-new and spotless, but there was something obscene about it, the engineer thought. His countrymen hated fire, but they positively loathed the class of object that this room was designed to fabricate. He couldn't shake it off. It was like the buzz of an insect in the room — unlikely, since every molecule of air in this clean-room had gone through the best filtration system his country could devise. His colleagues' engineering excellence was a source of pride to this man, especially since he was among the best of them. It would be that pride that sustained him, he knew, dismissing the imaginary buzz as he inspected the fabrication machinery. After all, if the Americans could do it, and the Russians, and the English, and the French, and the Chinese, and even the Indians and Pakistanis, then why not them? There was a symmetry to it, after all.

In another part of the building, the special material was being roughly shaped even now. Purchasing agents had spent quite some time acquiring the unique components. There were precious few. Most had been made elsewhere, but some had been made in his country for use abroad. They had been invented for one purpose, then adapted for others, but the possibility had always existed — distant but real — that the original application beckoned. It had become an institutional joke for the production people in the various corporations, something not to take seriously.

But they'd take it seriously now, the engineer thought. He switched off the lights and pulled the door shut behind him. He had a deadline to meet, and he would start today, after only a few hours of sleep.

——————————————

Even as often as he'd been here, Ryan had never lost his mystical appreciation for the place, and today's manner of arrival hadn't been contrived to make him look for the ordinary. A discreet call to his hotel had arranged for the drive to the airport. The aircraft had been waiting, of course, a twin-prop business bird sitting at the far end of the ramp, ordinary except for the USAF markings and the fact that the flight crew had been dressed in olive-green nomex. Friendly smiles, again of course, deferential. A sergeant to make sure he knew how to use the seat belt, and the perfunctory discussion of safety and emergency procedures. The look-back from the pilot who had a schedule to meet, and off they went, with Ryan wondering where the briefing papers were, and sipping a U.S. Air Force Coca-Cola. Wishing he'd changed into his good suit, and remembering that he had deliberately decided not to do so. Stupid, beneath himself. Flight time of forty-seven minutes, and a direct approach into Andrews. The only thing they left out was the helicopter ride in from Andrews, but that would only have attracted attention. Met by a deferential Air Force major who'd walked him over to a cheap official car and a quiet driver, Ryan settled back in his seat and closed his eyes while the major took the front seat. He tried to nap. He'd seen Suitland Parkway before, and knew the route by heart. Suitland Parkway to I-295, immediately off that and onto I-395, take the Maine Avenue Exit. The time of day, just after lunch, guaranteed rapid progress, and sure enough, the car stopped at the guard shack on West Executive Drive, where the guard, most unusually, just waved them through. The canopied entrance to the White House basement level beckoned, as did a familiar face.

"Hi, Arnie." Jack held his hand out to the President's chief of staff. Arnold van Damm was just too good, and Roger Durling had needed him to help with the transition. Soon enough President Durling had measured his senior staffer against Arnie, and found his own man wanting. He hadn't changed much, Ryan saw. The same L. L. Bean shirts, and the same rough honesty on his face, but Arnie was older and tireder than before. Well, who wasn't? "The last time we talked here, you were kicking me loose," Jack said next, to get a quick read on the situation.

"We all make mistakes, Jack."

Uh-oh. Ryan went instantly on guard, but the handshake pulled him through the door anyway. The Secret Service agents on post had a pass all ready for him, and things went smoothly until he set off the metal detector. Ryan handed over his hotel room key and tried again, hearing yet another ping. The only other metal on his body except for his watch turned out to be his divot tool.

"When did you take up golf?" van Damm asked with a chuckle that matched the expression of the nearest agent.

"Nice to know you haven't been following me around. Two months, and I haven't broken one-ten yet."

The chief of staff waved Ryan to the hidden stairs to the left. "You know why they call it 'golf'?"

"Yeah, because 'shit' was already taken." Ryan stopped on the landing. "What gives, Arnie?"

"I think you know," was all the answer he got.

"Hello, Dr. Ryan!" Special Agent Helen D'Agustino was as pretty as ever, and still part of the Presidential Detail. "Please come with me."

The presidency is not a job calculated to bring youth to a man. Roger Durling had once been a paratrooper who'd climbed hills in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, he was still a jogger, and reportedly liked to play squash to keep fit, but for all that he looked a weary man this afternoon. More to the point, Jack reflected quickly, he'd come straight in to see the President, no waiting in one of the many anterooms, and the smiles on the faces he'd seen on the way in carried a message of their own. Durling rose with a speed intended to show his pleasure at seeing his guest. Or maybe something else.

"How's the brokerage business, Jack?" The handshake that accompanied the question was dry and hard, but with an urgency to it.

"It keeps me busy, Mr. President."

"Not too busy. Golf in West Virginia?" Durling asked, waving Ryan to a seat by the fireplace. "That'll be all," he told the two Secret Service agents who'd followed Ryan in. "Thank you."

"My newest vice, sir," Ryan said, hearing the door close behind him. It was unusual to be so close to the Chief Executive without the protective presence of Secret Service guards, especially since he had been so long out of government service.

Durling took his seat, and leaned back into it. His body language showed vigor, the kind that emanated from the mind rather than the body. It was time to talk business. "I could say I'm sorry to interrupt your vacation, but I won't," the President of the United States told him. "You've had a two-year vacation, Dr. Ryan. It's over now."

Two years. For the first two months of it, he'd done exactly nothing, pondered a few teaching posts in the sanctity of his study, watched his wife leave early every morning for her medical practice at Johns Hopkins, fixed the kids' school lunches and told himself how wonderful it was to relax. It had taken those two months before he'd admitted to himself that the absence of activity was more stressful than anything he'd ever done. Only three interviews had landed him a job back in the investment business, enabled him to race his wife out of the house each morning, and bitch about the pace — and just maybe prevent himself from going insane. Along the way he'd made some money, but even that, he admitted to himself, had begun to pall. He still hadn't found his place, and wondered if he ever really would.

"Mr. President, the draft ended a lot of years ago," Jack offered with a smile. It was a flippant observation, and one he was ashamed of even as he said it.

"You've said 'no' to your country once." The rebuke put an end to the smiles. Was Durling that stressed-out? Well, he had every right to be, and with the stress had come impatience, which was surprising in a man whose main function for the public was being pleasant and reassuring. But Ryan was not part of the public, was he?

"Sir, I was burned out then. I don't think I would have been — "

"Fine. I've seen your file, all of it," Durling added. "I even know that I might not be here now except for what you did down in Colombia a few years ago. You've served your country well, Dr. Ryan, and now you've had your time off, and you've played the money game some more — rather well, it would seem — and now it's time to come back."

"What post, sir?" Jack asked.

"Down the hall and around the corner. The last few residents haven't distinguished themselves there," Durling noted. Cutter and Elliot had been bad enough. Durling's own National Security Advisor had simply not been up to the task. His name was Tom Loch, and he was on the way out, the morning paper had told Ryan. It would seem that the press had it right for once. "I'm not going to beat around the bush. We need you. I need you."

"Mr. President, that's a very flattering statement, but the truth of the matter is — "

"The truth of the matter is that I have too much of a domestic agenda, and the day only has twenty-four hours, and my administration has fumbled the ball too many times. In the process we have not served the country as well as we should have. I can't say that anywhere but inside this room, but I can and must say it here. State is weak. Defense is weak."

"Fiedler in Treasury is excellent," Ryan allowed. "And if you want advice about State, move Scott Adler up. He's young, but he's very good on process and pretty good on vision."

"Not without good oversight from this building, and I don't have the time for that. I will pass your approbation on to Buzz Fiedler," Durling added with a smile.

"He's a brilliant technician, and that's what you need across the street. If you're going to catch the inflation, for God's sake, do it now — "

"And take the political heat," Durling said. "That's exactly what his orders are. Protect the dollar and hammer inflation down to zero. I think he can do it. The initial signs are promising."

Ryan nodded. "I think you're right." Okay, get on with it.

Durling handed over the briefing book. "Read."

"Yes, sir." Jack flipped open the binder's cover, and kept flipping past the usual stiff pages that warned of all manner of legal sanctions for revealing what he was about to read. As usual, the information United States Code protected wasn't all that different from what any citizen could get in Time, but it wasn't as well written. His right hand reached out for a coffee cup, annoyingly not the handleless mug he preferred. The White House china was long on elegance but short on practicality. Coming here was always like visiting a particularly rich boss. So many of the appointments were just a little too —

"I know about some of this, but I didn't know it was this . . . interesting," Jack murmured.

"'Interesting'?" Durling replied with an unseen smile. "That's a nice choice of words."

"Mary Pat's the Deputy Director of Operations now?" Ryan looked up to see the curt nod.
"She was in here a month ago to plead her case for upgrading her side of the house. She was very persuasive. Al Trent just got the authorization through committee yesterday."

Jack chuckled. "Agriculture or Interior this time?" That part of CIA's budget was almost never in the open. The Directorate of Operations always got part of its funding through legerdemain.

"Health and Human Services, I think."

"But it'll still be two or three years before — "

"I know." Durling fidgeted in his seat. "Look, Jack, if it mattered to you that much, then why — "

"Sir, if you've read through my file, you know why." Dear God, Jack wanted to say, how much am I expected to — But he couldn't, not here, not to this man, and so he didn't. Instead he went back into the briefing book, flipping pages, and read as rapidly as comprehension permitted.

"I know, it was a mistake to downplay the human-intelligence side of the house. Trent and Fellows said so. Mrs. Foley said so. You can get overloaded in this office, Jack."
Ryan looked up and almost smiled until he saw the President's face. There was a tiredness around the eyes that Durling was unable to conceal. But then Durling saw the expression on Jack's own face.

"When can you start?" the President of the United States asked.

———————————————-

The engineer was back, flipping on the lights and looking at his machine tools. His supervisory office was almost all glass, and elevated slightly so that he could see all the activity in the shop with no more effort than a raised head. In a few minutes his staff would start arriving, and his presence in the office earlier than any of the team — in a country where showing up two hours early was the norm — would set the proper tone. The first man arrived only ten minutes later, hung up his coat, and headed to the far corner to start the coffee. Not tea, both men thought at the same time. Surprisingly Western. The others arrived in a bunch, both resentful and envious of their colleague, because they all noticed that the chief's office was lit and occupied. A few exercised at their worktables, both to loosen themselves up and to show their devotion. At start-time minus two hours, the chief walked out of his office and called for his team to gather around for the first morning's talk about what they were doing. They all knew, of course, but they had to be told anyway. And this was not at all a strange way for a war to begin.

—————————————————

Dinner was elegant, served in the enormous high-ceilinged dining room to the sound of piano, violin, and the occasional ting of crystal. The table chatter was ordinary, or so it seemed to Jack as he sipped his dinner wine and worked his way through the main course. Sally and little Jack were doing well at school, and Kathleen would turn two in another month, as she toddled around the house at Peregrine Cliff, the dominating and assertive apple of her father's eye, and the terror of her day-care center. Robby and Sissy, childless despite all their efforts, were surrogate aunt and uncle to the Ryan trio, and took as much pride in the brood as Jack and Cathy did. There was a sadness to it, Jack thought, but those were the breaks, and he wondered if Sissy still cried about it when alone in bed. Robby was closer than a brother could ever have been, and his friend deserved better luck. And Sissy, well, she was just an angel.

"I wonder how the office is doing."

"Probably conjuring up a plan for the invasion of Bangladesh," Jack said, looking up and reentering the conversation.

"That was last week," Jackson said with a grin.

"How do they manage without us?" Cathy wondered aloud, probably worrying about a patient.

"Well, concert season doesn't start for me until next month," Sissy observed.

"Mmmm," Ryan noted, looking back down at his plate, wondering how he was going to break the news.

"Jack, I know," Cathy finally said. "You're not good at hiding it."

"Who — "

"She asked where you were," Robby said from across the table. "A naval officer can't lie."

"Did you think I'd be mad?" Cathy asked her husband.

"Yes."

"You don't know what he's like," Cathy told the others. "Every morning, gets his paper and grumbles. Every night, catches the news and grumbles. Every Sunday, watches the interview shows and grumbles. Jack," she said quietly, "do you think I could ever stop doing surgery?"

"Probably not, but it's not the same — "

"No, it's not, but it's the same for you. When do you start?" Caroline Ryan asked.

— from Debt of Honor
by Tom Clancy
Copyright ©1995 Jack Ryan Limited Partnership

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 161 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 162 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2010

    eBook formant not recommended

    I found the story "Debt of Honor" excellent. It would have been much better if I were not constantly distracted with typographical errors. Every few pages had an error. Words hyphenated in the middle of the line. Last names split into two words. The most common error is using the number one "1" in place of the word "I." It appears Barnes and Nobles just scanned a hardcopy book and said, "Okay Nook Readers, here's your book." It seems the text was never proofread. Barnes and Noble makes a considerable profit on selling ebooks over paperbacks when one considers the cost of printing, shipping, etc. The ebook version of "Debt of Honor" sells for ten cents less than the paperback version. I'm almost sorry I bought a Nook. I paid $139 for the Nook to save ten cents on a book and worse of all, the ebook version is full of mistakes. Shame on you Barnes and Nobile, I would have expected better from you.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2006

    The Creme de la Creme

    In my opinion, this IS Tom Clancy's best novel. From the first page I was drawn into a web of intrigue that was as visually stunning as the best movie Hollywood has to offer with an ending that left my jaw on the floor and me in a state of shock for hours after. This is the book that I would recommend to a stranger or my best friend.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2004

    Couldn't Put It Down

    I first read this book when I was deployed to Qatar in 1995 while in the Air Force. Even with all the work we had, every spare moment I had was spent reading Debt of Honor. I became so glued to Tom Clancy, that I had my wife send me more titles to Qatar to get me through my 120 days.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2004

    Good but not his best

    Debt of Honor takes place in a post-Cold War era about two years after The Sum of All Fears. In the beginning, Jack Ryan, Clancy's alter-ego, is called back into government service by President Durling as his National Security Advisor. Playing Condaleeza Rice for the vast majority of the novel, Ryan must convince Durling and his other Cabinet members that he is right about ensueing hostilities with Japan. With monotonous information about the world economy, the first 500 pages don't really move, until Raizo Yamata, the Japanese economic mastermind, makes the American Stock Market crash. With that, political corruption, covertly constructed nukes, and tactical naval warfare string the plotline at an amazingly fast speed. But the novel can't end like that...oh no. Durling, without a VP due to a sex scandal, appoints Ryan as Vice-President until the next inauguration day. So, just minutes before he is sworn in before a joint session of Congress, a disgruntled Japan Airlines pilot flies his 747 into the concrete dome of the Capitol building, leaving only the Ryan family and a handful of the security detail alive. Ryan, now sworn in as the new President, must now try to pick up the pieces of a fallen era. Although Clancy, in a remarkably eerie way, predicted September 11 with amazing accuracy, (read the first 100 pages of Executive Orders to get what I mean) you can tell he struggled somewhat to understand Japanese culture and how it would affect their plan of battle. Clancy is a Cold-warrior, and although his previous books were awesome, they dealt directly with the Soviet Union. Although this was an insanely good book, it wasn't his greatest.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2002

    Debt of Honour

    One of the best Jack Ryan novels, in my opinion. I think that the end of the novel is probably the best thing I've ever read. I made the mistake of reading Executive Orders first, so I knew what was coming and that spoiled it a bit, but it was still brilliant.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2002

    Clancey rights another masterpiece!

    Clancey's debt of honor is breathetaking. Debt of Honor has great suspense and a shocking ending. You can clearly not put down this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    B&N Get with the program

    Here' s the facts, B&N customer service is non existant. They overcharge for every thing and don't care about quality. I like the Nook but only buy e-books when I have to because of the over charge and poor quality. Amazon has a larger inventory of e-books and better service. I am saving for a Kindle Fire. So far two of my co-workers have purchased Kindles, and serveral more will choose Kindle over Nook based on my recomendation. B&N if you are reading this...WAKE UP!

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    I am throwing my Nook away.

    It is getting tiring over-paying for these books. I am going to turn this thing off and go to Sam's club to by the book at aa discount. Screw you B&N.

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 22, 2011

    A good read but full of errors and typos in the ebook version

    I counted at least 20 misspellings, run together words, incorrect characters, and funny symbols in the ebook version.

    Why is that something I have to pay money for?

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2002

    Final 200 pages phenominal. WOW!

    One of the better books I have ever read and September 11th sheds a new light on it. (Finish the book to figure out what I mean). When 5 Americans die in a fiery car accident due to a simple mistake in a Japanese manufacturing, it leads into war. Behind the mastermind of Raizo Yamata, some anti-American members of the Japanese zaibatsu attempt to defeat America both economically and physically. This book keeps you gripped the whole way through and never lets up. The last 8 pages are quite possibly the best in the book. Great lead-in book to Executive Orders which I will read soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2013

    loved

    this is my second fav Clancy! Without Remorse is a must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Good book

    Enjoyed it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Great Book

    I am glad to get it, I now have all of the Jack Ryan series on CD.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    A great book about what a country may have to deal with in the future

    Debt of Honor is a fictional book about a scenario which a leader may have to deal with someday. While being extremely entertaining it is also informative as to what a leader and his government have to deal with. Things ranging from political speeches and foreign relations to a president's, CIA field agent's, National Security Advisor's, and naval admiral's tasks and life are included.

    The main scenario in the story is that a National Security Advisor has to deal with multiple, major issues in the world. He has to fix an economy attacked by the Japanese, somehow manage to take back a chain of islands stolen by the Japanese with little to no army or navy, and help Russia with their problem with China and Japan planning to steal Siberia's vast resources.

    The story gives information as to how our government works indirectly. Some scenes such as where the Secretary of State has to do negotiations with the Japanese ambassador to America about the current control of the Marianas, a chain of islands stolen by the Japanese. That scene specifically shows how not only your choice of words, but your choice of tone and attitude determines the outcome of the negotiation.

    Two characters in the book are CIA field agents deployed to Japan. These men have covers as Russian journalists. The book really shows how significant one or two men can have in an entire war. They had the job of taking down some of Japan's main radar aircraft. If they hadn't done that then the navy and air force wouldn't have been able to infiltrate the Marianas.

    I would recommend this book to anyone above thirteen with an interest in public, foreign, and domestic relations.

    This book should be brought with you to anywhere where you would have any amount of free time. Once you get a decent way into the book you're going to want to keep on going till the end.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2004

    Come On

    I love the Jack Ryan thrillers more than a lot of other thrill series. But, this book was the first of Tom Clancy that I couldn't wait to finish! And, as always, the action doesn't kick in until the last hundred pages.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2003

    Tom Clancy at his finest

    Debt of Honar is your typical Clancy novel on steriods. The first few chapters are chocked full of techno babble and business talk, but being a Clancy novel this is to be expected. The later half of the book will keep you up at night until the last, heart pounding chapter that will leave you spellbound.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2003

    Great Book

    This book was the first Clany book that I read, and I just couldn't put the book down when i finished it. After this book i read almost everything that Mr. Clany offers, but this one is my favourite.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2003

    Long.....

    I liked the book but it was a bit long to read for the first 2-300 pages but then it picked up pace and my interest quickly. A very good book to bring on a long flight overseas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2003

    Long, But Still Awesome.

    This book is a long 767 pages in hardcover. I had to read it as a school assignment. I choose it because i had heard that it was very good. And it is. Very Very Good. I highly recomend it to anyone who like a.)espionage b.)economy c.) war. It's very good.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 162 Customer Reviews

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