The Scorpion's Gate [NOOK Book]


The insider whose warnings about terrorism on U.S. soil went unheeded-and whose book Against All Enemies rocketed to the top of bestseller lists-now presents his first novel: an all-too-believable story of politics, oil, espionage, and the earthshaking consequences that may lie at the end of the road ahead.
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The Scorpion's Gate

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The insider whose warnings about terrorism on U.S. soil went unheeded-and whose book Against All Enemies rocketed to the top of bestseller lists-now presents his first novel: an all-too-believable story of politics, oil, espionage, and the earthshaking consequences that may lie at the end of the road ahead.
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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
Why has Mr. Clarke turned to fiction as a venue for his arguments? No doubt it's a way to say - or imply - things about the Bush administration that he can't quite come out and say in an essay, as well as a way to satirize the intelligence bureaucracy and neo-conservative policy making. It's also a way for Mr. Clarke to dramatize his arguments and try to reach a broader audience.
— The New York Times
Gary Hary
Some readers of The Scorpion's Gate will happily settle for a rapid-deployment plot and political intrigue high and low. Airport sales should make it a success. But a more thoughtful audience will find itself required to give some thought to what the United States is and is not doing in the most volatile region in the world. If Clarke does nothing else but cause some readers to question our ludicrous reliance on unstable oil supplies, wonder whether we have even begun to understand Islamic culture, begin to demand a more subtle and layered approach to the Middle East, doubt our ability to export democracy at the point of a bayonet, or gain maturity in foreign affairs, he will have done a service.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
At its most simplistic, the plot of Clarke's fiction debut pits an American intelligence analyst, a British station chief, a Manhattan newspaper reporter and a former Al Qaeda leader-turned-democracy lover against an evil oil-grubbing U.S. secretary of defense and his Saudi pals whose sinister plan could plunge us into WWIII. Preventing it from becoming a James Bond-style knockoff is the former White House adviser's seasoned knowledge of Middle Eastern geopolitics and his insider's understanding of how things work in the intelligence communities. Unabridged, it poses the daunting aural task of trying to keep track of dozens of characters; a multiplicity of political agenda; constantly shifting locations, schemes and counterschemes; not to mention the deciphering of presumably authentic yet perplexing wonkspeak. A judiciously abridged, less complex story may have made for a more accessible audio version. Reader Dean's eloquent locutions help to clear things up a bit, and he does leaven some of Clarke's more weighty didactic passages. But the author has painted his heroes and villains in primary colors, and Dean follows the numbers a bit too closely. His analyst protagonist speaks in resonant tones that echo truth, justice and the American way. The station chief delivers his plucky Brit lines through a stiff upper lip. Dean's voice develops a harsh edge for the ill-tempered, arrogant defense secretary, twists into a whining mew for his unctuous assistant and slips into a slithery near-hiss for the smarmy Saudis. Too bad the characters' personae aren't a little less obvious and their machinations a little more. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 1). (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The Middle East is falling apart. Partially owing to its own greed, the House of al-Saud has fallen in a coup, and the royal family is sent scrambling. A new country-Islamyah-rises out of the ashes of Saudi Arabia and threatens not only to cut off oil supplies to the world but seems to desire to spread its fundamentalist version of Islam to other Arab countries believed to have fallen under the spell of American dollars. The "scorpions" who come to topple this new government must be stopped at an impregnable "gate," one that may very well lead to nuclear warfare. Clarke has been involved with the intelligence services of the United States since the Nixon administration, and he has often sounded a largely ignored alarm against the weaknesses of American power. His first book, Against All Enemies, made powerful statements critical of American policy, but Scorpion's Gate, set in 2010, offers a chilling vision of what might happen if our dependence on Arabian oil shapes our political reactions to Middle East realities. Many of the characters give extensive monologs, offering Clarke the opportunity to express his personal feelings, which are sure to antagonize many listeners. Robertson Dean is a master at handling the difficult Islamic names, accents ranging from Chinese to British, and at keeping the action moving at a breathtaking pace. Highly recommended to all libraries.-Joseph L. Carlson, Allan Hancock Coll., Lompoc, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A reverse look, in the form of an intriguing, sophisticated thriller, at the conventional view of Middle Eastern terrorist operations, from someone who should know. Clarke, the presidential counter-terrorism advisor at the time of the 9/11 attacks, whose 2004 book, Against All Enemies, criticized harshly the Bush administration's handling of the war on terror, here poses the question: What if the royal House of Saud fell to revolution after America's pullout in Iraq, and in its place a viable fundamentalist state called Islamyah emerges, ruled by a Shura Council and vulnerable to terrorist action by Iran? The new Islamic government is led by an idealist named Abdullah bin Rashid, who recalls younger brother Ahmed from his medical residency in Canada to work in a hospital in Manama, Bahrain, in order to be Abdullah's "eyes and ears in the nest of vipers across the causeway"-that is, Iran. A series of troubling events puts the heads of British Intelligence and American officials on alert. Explosions occur in Bahrain, attributed to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, or Qods Force, and Chinese medium-range ballistic missiles have been mysteriously moved to Islamyah. Ahmed learns that a liquid natural-gas tanker in the Persian Gulf harbor is targeted for explosion by the Qods and leaks the information to sharp-shooting American reporter Kate Delmarco. These events are falsely blamed on the Islamyah regime, British Intelligence officer Brian Douglas learns. Who is really behind the destabilizing attacks, and why? Secretary of Defense Henry Conrad, committed to reinstalling the Sauds, seems to have cut a secret deal with the Iranians, although Tehran proves that it, too, can doublecross. The binRashid brothers vindicate themselves in a chapter that sets forth measures to bring peace to the region. Short on blood and guts, yes, but long on thoughtful, prescient analysis of realignments of power.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101205617
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/25/2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 115,093
  • File size: 329 KB

Meet the Author

Richard A. Clarke began his federal service in 1973 in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In the Reagan administration, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. In the first Bush administration, he was the Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs and then a member of the National Security Council staff. He served for eight years as a special assistant to President Clinton and was National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism for both President Clinton and President George W. Bush. From 2001 to 2003, he was the Special Adviser to the President for Cyberspace Security, and chairman of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. He is now chairman of Good Harbor Consulting. Besides Against All Enemies, he is most recently the author of the much-discussed "Ten Years Later," a future history of the war on terror published in The Atlantic Monthly.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2014

    Just came across this, more than six years old now, but it does

    Just came across this, more than six years old now, but it does anticipate the rising China risks, and the various security themes and threats he emphasizes are on-target, but the character interactions fell flat and not believable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2011

    Good Book

    Anyone interested in current events should find this book very interesting. Had to believe it was written in 2005 - it really hits some "buttons".

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    Felt I learned something

    Good entertaining story.Don't have a problem with an author having political beliefs as long as I enjoyed reading the book.If I think the author's writings are all that disagreeable to me, I stay away from his/her books. Really thought I learned something about what is going on in the middle east and why.Would definitely read more books by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2006

    A Pultizer prize-winning writer accepts a last-minute booty call?

    the 45-year-old female reporter accepts a late-night booty call from a younger, married man who has been drinking? then, he expresses mixed feelings about their one-night stand the next morning, to her face. not exactly star-crossed love. geez, are these high-powered characters too cool or too busy to be in healthy, loving relationships? this slam-bam 'love' life was past depressing to debasement. wouldn't a woman this successful have better options? everything else was enthralling and worth reading. a unique author, a unique perspective...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2006

    A great blend of fiction and fact he should have been listened to.

    This blend of fact and fiction written by a former advisor to several Presidents, including the current one, for a time, has many valid points. He should have been listened to prior to 9/11. Though it is unlike that a real coup d'etat that would depose the Saudi royal family seems unlikely it could happen? This fiction could reflect (one day perhaps) fact.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2006

    A fast-paced thriller

    Reads like a Tom Clancy novel but without the right-wing spin. Richard Clarke uses his substantial knowledge of the Middle East to create a disturbing vision of that area of the world in the near future.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2006

    good thriller read, should have been longer

    I read a review of this book that says it should do good on airport sales. I wish it was for international flights, not NY to LA. Clarke does the intricate plot, technical details, and multiple story lines well. The3 characters are even reasonably believable, well, except the Secretary of Defense. I guess Clarke REALLY doesn't like Rummy. I call this a good political thriller with an inspiring end but it should have been longer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2006

    Great Plot, Wooden Characters

    For those of us who have found the extreme right bias of most popular spy fiction tediously predictable , it is a refreshing change to read a book that puts love of country front and center, instead of ideology. While Clarke explicitly denies this is a roman a clef, the portrait of the Secretary of Defense - borderline psychotic and gullible - is deliciously recognizable. So is the Armenian-American Wolfowitz clone. I wish the other characters were as well drawn, but the plot is so fantastic - and so realistic for the most part - you get swept along anyway.

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  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    If anyone has the credentials to write a novel concerning present day terrorism, political chicanery, and war, it is Richard A. Clarke. During the Reagan administration he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence. Clarke's responsibilities increased during the first Bush Administration when he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Politico-Military Affairs, and then as a member of the National Security Council staff. He served as special assistant to President Clinton for some eight years, and from 2001 to 2003 he was chairman of the president's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board. There is more but, obviously this is a man to be heard and as he has said 'Fiction can often tell the truth better than nonfiction. And there is a lot of truth that needs to be told.' Setting his story five years in the future Clarke has woven a compelling, often frightening action drama that takes place over 30 days. Listeners are catapulted into a world gone awry with the terrorist bombing of a luxury hotel in Manama Bahrain. The question is exactly who was responsible and what do they want? There are elements at home and in the Middle East eager for war, not war as we have known but a nuclear war. All are in need of oil and Saudi sheiks have been ousted. We are in peril, and it's questionable whether or not anyone can save us. Film and television actor Robertson Dean provides an exciting yet serious reading of this mesmerizing tale. He's an experienced performer who knows there's no need for added vocal drama in the performance of such a stunning narrative. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2005

    Could have been a recommended book but?

    The book did have good action and storyline but the biased slant detracted from the story. The political view of the author only hurt the story. I did continue to read because the book had a good premise. I just had to laugh at the bias and skip the paragraphs that were obviously a rage against the current administration in Washington. Hope another book can come out that is not so slanted left.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fabulous thriller

    In 2010, Supported by the Chinese, a coup has taken out the despotic leaders of Saudi Arabia replacing it with the Republic of Islamyah. The zealots in charge begin to bring their anti-western fundamentalist Islamic fervor to nearby Bahrain by blowing up favorite haunts where the hated infidels reside. The area is quickly falling into chaos with the Chinese pushing for more discontent to further extricate the west out of the region. Secretary of Defense Henry Conrad pushes a military solution to the Middle East crisis as he wants to invade Islamyah so that the United States can regain control of the oil. Others want to take over the entire region by force while some believe we must use diplomacy to mute the growing influence of the Chinese. Though the middle of winter in DC, the heat is on in the capital and not just because the weather is spring-like as both sides escalate the hostilities with nuclear war between the United States and China imminent unless cooler heads prevail. --- THE SCORPION¿S GATE is a fabulous thriller in which anti-terrorist expert Richard A. Clarke extrapolates what the future might hold based on what if consequences of decisions made by the current administration. The story line is frightening as the scenario seems plausible as Mr. Bush¿s legacy to the world (it will solve the long term solvency of the social security issue). Though Mr. Clarke makes the error of many first time novelists of trying to get everything into the plot, futurologists will appreciate this strong look at what might be forthcoming (who in the 1970s predicted we would still be fighting the war against drugs today?). --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 13 Customer Reviews

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