Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive

by Tom Clancy, Grant Blackwood

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101544358
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/27/2011
Series: Jack Ryan Series , #13
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 704
Sales rank: 24,293
File size: 1 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

A little more than thirty years ago Tom Clancy was a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history. Years before, he had been an English major at Baltimore’s Loyola College and had always dreamed of writing a novel. His first effort, The Hunt for Red October—the first of the phenomenally successful Jack Ryan novels—sold briskly as a result of rave reviews, then catapulted onto the New York Times bestseller list after President Reagan pronounced it “the perfect yarn.” From that day forward, Clancy established himself as an undisputed master at blending exceptional realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. He passed away in October 2013.

Grant Blackwood, a U.S. Navy veteran, spent three years aboard a guided missile frigate as operations specialist and pilot rescue swimmer. He is coauthor, with Clive Cussler, of the New York Times bestsellers Spartan Gold and Lost Empire. He is also the author of the Briggs Tanner series—The End of Enemies, The Wall of Night, and An Echo of War. He lives in Colorado.


Huntingtown, Maryland

Date of Birth:

April 12, 1947

Date of Death:

October 1, 2013

Place of Birth:

Baltimore, Maryland


Loyola High School in Towson, Maryland, 1965; B.A. in English, Loyola College, 1969

Read an Excerpt


LIGHT TROOPS—Eleven-Bravo light infantrymen, according to the United States Army’s MOS (military occupational specialty) system—are supposed to be “pretty” spit-and-polish troops with spotless uniforms and clean-shaven faces, but First Sergeant Sam Driscoll wasn’t one of those anymore, and hadn’t been for some time. The concept of camouflage often involved more than patterned BDUs. No, wait, they weren’t called that anymore, were they? Now they were called “Army combat uniforms,” ACUs. Same, same.

Driscoll’s beard was fully four inches long, with enough flecks of white in it that his men had taken to calling him Santa—rather annoying to a man hardly thirty-six years old, but when most of your compatriots were an average of ten years younger than you . . . Oh, well. Could be worse. Could be “Pops” or “Gramps.”

He was even more annoyed to have long hair. It was dark and shaggy and greasy, and his beard coarse, which was useful here, where the facial hair was important to his cover and the local people rarely bothered with haircuts. His dress was entirely local in character, and this was true of his team as well. There were fifteen of them. Their company commander, a captain, was down with a broken leg from a misstep—which was all it took to sideline you in this terrain—sitting on a hilltop and waiting for the Chinook to evac him, along with one of the team’s two medics who’d stayed behind to make sure he didn’t go into shock. That left Driscoll in command for the mission. He didn’t mind. He had more time in the field than Captain Wilson had, though the captain had a college degree, and Driscoll didn’t have his yet. One thing at a time. He had to survive this deployment still, and after that he could go back to his classes at the University of Georgia. Funny, he thought, that it had taken him nearly three decades to start enjoying school. Well, hell, better late than never, he supposed.

He was tired, the kind of mind-numbing, bone-grinding fatigue Rangers knew only too well. He knew how to sleep like a dog on a granite block with only a rifle stock for a pillow, knew how to stay alert when his brain and body were screaming at him to lie down. Problem was, now that he was closer to forty than thirty, he felt the aches and pains a little more than he had when he was twenty, and it took twice as long to work out the kinks in the morning. Then again, those aches were offset by wisdom and experience. He’d learned over the years that despite it being a cliché, it was in fact mind over matter. He’d learned to largely block out pain, which was a handy skill when you were leading much younger men whose packs undoubtedly felt much lighter on their shoulders than Driscoll’s did on his own. Life, he decided, was all about trade-offs.

They’d been in the hills for two days, all of it on the move, sleeping two to three hours a night. He was part of the Special Operations team of the 75th Ranger Regiment, based permanently at Fort Benning, Georgia, where there was a nice NCO club with good beer on tap. By closing his eyes and concentrating, he imagined he could still taste the cold beer, but that moment passed quickly. He had to focus here, every second. They were fifteen thousand feet above sea level, in the Hindu Kush mountains, in that gray zone that was both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and neither—at least to the locals. Lines on maps didn’t make borders, Driscoll knew, especially in Indian country like this. He’d check his GPS equipment to be sure of his position, but latitude and longitude really didn’t matter to his mission. What mattered was where they were headed, regardless of where it fell on the map.

The local population knew little about borders, and didn’t especially care. For them reality was which tribe you were in, which family you were a part of, and which flavor of Muslim you were. Here memories lasted a hundred years, and the stories even longer. And grudges even longer than that. The locals still boasted that their ancestors had driven Alexander the Great out of the country, and some of them still remembered the names of the warriors who had bested the Macedonian spearmen who had up until then conquered every other place they’d wandered into. Most of all, though, the locals spoke of the Russians, and how many of those they’d killed, mostly by ambush, some with knives, face-to-face. They smiled and laughed with those stories, legends passed on from father to son. Driscoll doubted the Russian soldiers who made it out of Afghanistan did much laughing about the experience. No, sir, these were not nice folks, he knew. They were scary-tough, hardened by weather, war, famine, and just generally trying to stay alive in a country that seemed to be doing its best to kill you most of the time. Driscoll knew he ought to feel some sympathy for them. God had just dealt them a bad hand, and maybe that wasn’t their fault, but it wasn’t Driscoll’s fault, either, nor his concern. They were enemies of Driscoll’s country, and the powers-that-be had pointed the stick at them and ordered “Go,” and so here they were. That was the central truth of the moment, the reason he was in these goddamned mountains.

One more ridge was the other central truth, especially here, it seemed. They’d legged it fifteen klicks, almost all of it uphill and over sharp rock and scree, since they’d hopped off the CH-47 Chinook helicopter, a Delta variant, the only one at their disposal that could handle the altitude here.

There . . . the ridgeline. Fifty meters.

Driscoll slowed his pace. He was walking point, leading the patrol as the senior NCO present, with his men stretched out a hundred meters to his rear, alert, eyes sweeping left and right, up and down, M4 carbines at ready-low and trained at their sectors. They expected there to be a few sentries on the ridgeline. The locals might be uneducated in the traditional sense, but they weren’t stupid by any measure, which was why the Rangers were running this op at night—0144, or a quarter to two in the morning—according to his digital watch. No moon tonight, and high clouds thick enough to block whatever light came from the stars. Good hunting weather, he thought.

His eyes traced more down than up. He didn’t want to make any noise, and noise came from the feet. One damned rock, kicked loose and rolling down the hillside, could betray them all. Couldn’t have that, could he? Couldn’t waste the three days and fifteen klicks it had taken them to get this close.

Twenty meters to the ridgeline. Sixty-five feet.

His eyes searched the line for movement. Nothing close. A few more steps, looking left and right, his noise-suppressed carbine cradled to his chest at ready-low, finger resting lightly on the trigger, just enough to know it was there.

It was hard to explain to people how hard this was, how tiring and debilitating—far more so than a hike in the woods—knowing there might be someone with an AK-47 in his hands and his finger on a trigger, the selector switch set to full auto, ready to cut your ass in half. His men would take care of such a person, but that wouldn’t do him any good, Driscoll knew. Still, he consoled himself, if it happened, the odds were that he wouldn’t even know it. He’d dispatched enough enemies to know how it worked: One moment you’re stepping forward, eyes scanning ahead, ears tuned, listening for danger . . . the next nothing. Death.

Driscoll knew the rule out here, in the badlands, in the dead of night: Slow is fast. Move slow, walk slow, step carefully. It had served him well lo these many years.

Just six months earlier he’d finished third in the Best Ranger Competition, the Super Bowl of Special Operations troops. Driscoll and Captain Wilson, in fact, entered as Team 21. The captain had to be pissed at the broken leg. He was a pretty good Ranger, Driscoll thought, but a broken tibia was a broken tibia. When a bone broke, there wasn’t a whole hell of a lot to be done about it. A torn muscle hurt like hell but got better rapidly. On the other hand, a broken bone had to knit and mend, and that meant lying on your back for a few weeks at an Army hospital before the docs let you put weight on it again. Then you had to learn to run again, after you relearned how to walk. What a pain in the ass that would be.... He’d been lucky in his career, having suffered nothing worse than a twisted ankle, a broken pinkie, and a bone-bruised hip, none of which had sidelined him for much longer than a week. Not so much as a bullet or shrapnel graze. The Ranger gods had smiled on him for sure.

Five more steps . . .

Okay, there you are . . . Yep. As he’d expected, there was the sentry, right where he should be. Twenty-five meters to his right. It was just too obvious a spot for a sentry, though this particular one was doing a piss-poor job of it, sitting there, looking backward mostly, probably bored and half asleep and counting the minutes until his relief arrived. Well, boredom could kill you, and it was about to kill this guy in less than a minute, though he’d never even realize it. Unless I miss the shot, Driscoll reminded himself, knowing he wouldn’t.

He turned one last time, scanning the area through his PVS-17 night-vision goggles. Nobody else close. Okay. He settled down, tucked the carbine to his right shoulder and centered the sights on the guy’s right ear, controlled his breathing—

To his right, down a narrow trail, came the rasp of leather on rock.

Driscoll froze.

He did a quick mental recheck, placing the rest of the team in his mind’s eye. Anyone down that way? No. Most of the team was spread out behind him and to his right. Moving with exaggerated slowness, Driscoll rotated his head in the direction of the sound. Nothing in the night vision. He lowered his carbine, laying it diagonally across his chest. He looked left. Ten feet away, Collins crouched behind a rock. Driscoll gestured: Sound to the left; take two men. Collins nodded and crab-walked backward out of sight. Driscoll did the same, then laid himself flat between a pair of scrub bushes.

Down the trail, another sound now: liquid splattering against stone. This brought a smile to Driscoll’s lips. The call of nature. The urinating tapered off, then stopped. Footsteps began padding down the trail. Twenty feet away, Driscoll estimated, around the bend.

Moments later a figure appeared on the trail. His gait was unhurried, almost lazy. In the night vision Driscoll could see an AK-47 slung over his shoulder, barrel down. The guard kept coming. Driscoll didn’t move. Fifteen feet . . . ten.

A figure rose up from the shadows along the trail and slipped in behind the guard. A hand appeared over the guard’s shoulder, then the flash of a blade came over the other shoulder. Collins twisted the man to the right and down to the ground, and their shadows melted together. Ten seconds passed. Collins rose, ducked off the trail, and dragged the guard out of sight.

Textbook sentry takedown, Driscoll thought. Movie portrayals aside, knifework was something of a rarity in their business. Even so, Collins clearly hadn’t lost the skill.

Moments later Collins reappeared on Driscoll’s right.

Driscoll returned his attention to the sentry on the ridge. Still there. Hadn’t moved at all. Driscoll brought his M4 up, settled the sights on the nape of the man’s neck, and then tightened his finger on the trigger.

Easy, easy . . . squeeze ...

Pop. Not much of a sound. Hard to hear at all at a range of more than fifty meters, but the bullet flew true and transited the target’s head, leaving a puff of green vapor behind, and he went off to see Allah, or whatever god he acknowledged; at twentyodd years old, growing and eating and learning, and probably fighting, came to an abrupt and unwarned end.

The target crumpled, folding sideways out of sight.

Tough luck, Gomer, Driscoll thought. But we’re after bigger game than you tonight.

“Sentry down,” Driscoll said quietly into his radio. “The ridgeline is clear. Move on up. Keep it nice and tight.” That last bit wasn’t really necessary—not with these guys.

He looked back to see his men moving a little faster now. They were excited but under control, ready to get down to business. He could see it in their postures, the economy of movement that separated real shooters from wannabees and in-and-outers who were just waiting to return to civilian life.

Their real target might be less than a hundred meters away now, and they’d worked hard over the previous three months to bag this bastard. Mountain climbing was not anyone’s idea of fun, except for maybe those nutjobs who pined after Everest and K2. Be that as it may, this was part of the job, and part of their current mission, so everybody sucked it up and kept moving.

The fifteen men formed up in three fire teams of five Rangers each. One would stay here with their heavy weapons—they’d brought two M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) machine guns for fire cover on overwatch. No telling how many bad guys there might be about, and the SAW was a great equalizer. Satellites could give you only so much intel; some variables you just had to deal with as they came to you. All his men were scanning the rocks, looking for movement. Any movement. Maybe just a bad guy who came out to take a dump. In this neck of the woods, there was a ninety percent chance that anybody you encountered was a bad guy. Made their job that much easier, Driscoll thought.

Moving even more slowly now, he stalked forward, eyes flicking from his feet, watching each placement for loose rocks and twigs, then ahead, scanning, scanning.... This was another benefit of wisdom, he thought, knowing how to quash the excitement of being so close to the goal line. This is often where rookies and dead men made their mistakes, thinking the hard part was behind them and their target was so close. And that, Driscoll knew, is when Old Man Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame, usually snuck up behind you, tapped you on the shoulder, and handed you an ugly surprise. Anticipation and expectation were lethal sides of the same coin. Either one in the right dose at the wrong moment would get you killed.

Not this time, though. Not on my damned watch. And not with a team as good as his.

Driscoll saw the ridgeline looming ahead not more than ten feet away, and he hunched over, careful to keep his head below the lip, lest he present a tantalizing silhouette target for some alert gomer. He covered the last few feet on flat feet, then leaned forward, left hand flat against the rock, and peeked his head up.

And there you are . . . The cave.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Heart-stopping action…entertaining and eminently topical.” —The Washington Post

“The best characters from all of Clancy’s previous novels are on the case.…For fans of the genre, Dead or Alive is likely to provide a long weekend’s pleasure.”—Los Angeles Times

“Clancy is back at the top of his game…In-depth research, continuous suspense, and scores of fascinating characters.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Customer Reviews

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Dead or Alive 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1492 reviews.
Octurian More than 1 year ago
As an avid Clancy fan, I have for years missed his writing. I have been looking forward to this book since I heard it was coming out and I was not disappointed at all. It was a great pleasure to see all the old "friends" again. John Clark, Ding, and of course Jack Ryan Sr. Even jr. wasn't a disappointment. I hope this is a harbinger that the real Tom Clancy has returned to writing. I highly recommend this to any Tom Clancy fan out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would appreciate a review of the book NOT the ebook price complaints. You are no help to those of us thinking of PURCHASING the book and saving someone's job!!
johnclark99 More than 1 year ago
I read an early copy of this book and I am glad to say it was good. up to par with the others in the past. Although I miss the Jack Ryan character.
Shamron More than 1 year ago
The real Tom Clancy is back! I first read his Jack Ryan novels 5 years ago and was left wanting more, even though THE TEETH OF THE TIGER was not up to par. When I heard this book was coming out, I reread every Ryan novel. This book was definitely worth the wait. It was great to read about John Clark, Ding Chavez, and Mary Pat Foley again, as well as appearances from other characters from the seires. I was quite surprised at much I enjoyed reading about the Caruso brothers and Jack Jr. this time. The font is rather on the large side with wide margins making the book longer, but either way, once I started reading I couldn't put it down. I thought this would be Clancy's last attempt at reviving this franchise, but the as the plot develops, it's obvious there is still more to come. The return of Jack Ryan Sr., the rise of Jack Jr., and the reemergence of the legendary John Clark will leave you spellbound. You can complain about the price all you want, whether its hardback (that's what I bought) or on ebook, but you will easily get your money's worth. Quit whining, buy the book, read it, and you will be glad you did it!
BlueQuasar More than 1 year ago
Have gotten to read the first couple of chapters, and it looks -- from that limited sample -- like the old Clancy is back at work. You know, the one who actually wrote (most of) his (own) stuff? Like Red Storm, etc.? About time!
Altadis More than 1 year ago
In hardcover the book's cover price is 28.95, the in-store price will be 20.27 without a membership and 17.37 with the member card. For the commenter that mentioned s/he will wait for the paperback, that will be out sometime next year, most of the mass market paperbacks are printed on very cheap recycled paper, a step above newsprint, which is part of the reason why they feel like garbage. There is still a 2.38 cents saving purchasing the e-book over the physical format. The reason new e-book prices have been creeping upwards is that the publishers are setting the e-book prices with the caveat that there is no discount applied to that price, or they will refuse to issue further titles in e-book format. Publishers are doing this for a few reasons, one, they are afraid of e-books eroding their total profits. Total unit sales have been declining as books are facing stiff competition for the limited entertainment hours available to public from movies, television, the internet and video games. Piracy is another concern for publishers, they see how it has nearly crippled the music industry. Publishers also feel that their physical format is being undervalued by mass market channels such as internet retailers, large book retailers and large discount chains. If you have a gripe about an e-book's price point, I highly suggest writing a letter, or email to the publisher, don't rail against a perfectly good e-reading device, threaten to throw said device into the trash, or give poor ratings to a book because of it's price, rate the book on the merits of the story, if it caused a genuine emotional reaction, and how well the author executed his craft.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Instead of all of your complaining about the price, how about writing an actual review of the book? If you haven't read it, then shut up. This is a major release that many die hards have been anticipating for years, and your negative reviews BASED on the price are ridiculous. Now I am going to take my own advice and shut up.
LillyParksONBooks More than 1 year ago
Mr Clancy is a superb writer with insight into conspiracies, military weapons and procedures. He gives us great plots and heroes that we can root for, but this book gave me very little to cheer about. It should have because the book is the size of a "door stopper". One would think that with all the side stories being bounced around in the story there would be a great read. It never happened for me. Very disappointed in the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always been a Clancy fan, and there was once a time I rushed to the bookstore for every new release. Recently, I've waited until paperbacks became available at a local used bookstore. But Dead or Alive might bring me back to waiting anxiously for the next release. The "Campus" theme in Dead or Alive is working well, and brings Clancy right up there with my other favorite author - Vince Flynn. You won't be disappointed.
phyrngn More than 1 year ago
It was evident that Clancy hasn't written a book in the Ryan series for several years. Too much time was spent catching everyone up, the plot was too predictable, and the ending anti-climactic. It won't deter me from future Clancy books, I had just expected more. Also, and perhaps this is the difference between the Nookbook and Print, but I found a lot of typos.
Mikki_Reyna More than 1 year ago
Unlike some on this board, I come to read actual reviews of a book before making the decision of whether to buy or not. If enough people give a negative review and give compeling reasons for their opinion, I generally will not waste my money. I have seen approximately 2 helpful reviews on this board. The rest of you (none of whom have actually read the book) should just shut up. No one is forcing you to buy the Nook or the book! And here I am submitting yet another unhelpful review. I plan to buy this book, in electronic format, and I anticipate fully enjoying it. And for those of you who came here expecting to read actual reviews of this book, I offer my humblest apology.
SgtWalt More than 1 year ago
This is a books that starts out slow giving you technical information so that you can understand as the plot progresses. As you read further, you find yourself unable to put it down. It is an excellent book. Very much in Tom Clancy's style
RangerVN More than 1 year ago
Tom Clancy used to spin an engrossing yarn with strong and realistic characters, both protagonists and antagonists... As he has become highly successful and turned into a business enterprise however, his personal politics and ego appear to have come to distort his plot and characters. His villians have become one dimentionally evil, and civilian authority figures one dimentionally stupid and machiavellian, devoid of "grays".... His plotting in Dead or Alive remains interesting, and one can not deny a need for violence in life or the action book business, but where he used to be nuianced and his characters torn (often constrained or even motivated) by ethical dilemma, that quality has diminished to the point where it is unclear how his "good guys" differ from his "bad guys" in other than skin tone and national origin. For both, the ends pretty much justify the means. Rather than cleverness and guile, his heros readily resort to purposeless "termination" and remorseless torture. I miss the "old Clancy", who wove a lot of gray and moral reflection, as well as exciting action, into his works.
Reads-to-live More than 1 year ago
I've love all Clancy's "Jack" books. In fact, I reread them often. After reading this one, I'm amazed the same man wrote them. I was 200 pages into the book and caught myself wondering when it was going to start. Lots of things going on: people dying various ways, miscellaneous things being stolen, lots of hints that something horrible is going to happen. I didn't care! I didn't care about the people, found the stealing boring and didn't need the's a Clancy book. 300 pages into the book I took to skipping long sections just to get to the "Jack" (father and son) parts. 500 pages in and I set my jaw just to get through it. Only sheer stubbornness got me to the end. Next "Jack" book comes from the library. Not going to take a chance on wasting any more money.
ToniB11 More than 1 year ago
so timely, like Clancey sees into the future as he writes...Toni B
Sto-vo-kor More than 1 year ago
This carries on the family business for the Ryan family
TK70 More than 1 year ago
Tom Clancy is back!! Great book!! No he just needs to hurry up and come out with another one!
technoteacher More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, I had a hard time putting it down! I always thought Tom Clancy books were geared for guys. I was wrong, it was a page turner despite the military verbiage.
Jara More than 1 year ago
At first I thought it must be me. Boring story, typos throughout and blatant political views that seem extreme compared to Clancy's previous works. So I checked the other reviews on this site. No it's not just me. This book is terrible. For the first time ever, I am putting this one down and will not attempt to finish it. Very sad. Red Storm Rising was one of the greatest novels I ever read. Sum of All Fears, Without Remorse, Red October were all fantastic page turners. This one comes up well short of Clancy's mediocre books let alone his best. I am about as disappointed as I can be. Don't waste your time. This book is awful.
Kid-Shrink More than 1 year ago
I was really looking foward to Tom Clancy's new novel. I have read everything he has written and have enjoyed them all very much. This one was by far, the worst he's written. He threw in many characters and didn't develop them and then just brought in all of the characters from his other books. It was kind of like seeing your favorite band, 30 years after they had their last hit. I found it really sad more than anything. The plot seemed to take a very long time to get going and when it was all revealed, there wasn't much there!
MMC54 More than 1 year ago
The language in this book is crude. It is not necessary to use this type of language- there are many other literary tools that can depict a tense situtation. If this book were a movie, the language itself would have rated it "R". It's too bad that excellent authors like Mr Clancy believe that this what readers want.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to read this book from Clancy that is laced with profanity. Many many F words and other unnecessary vulgar language. Very disaapointing from Clancy that he felt he had to increase the vulgarity so much. I do not recommend this book.
Dustin84 More than 1 year ago
A must buy, First page Sucks you in Faster than a Tornado. Suspenseful from the start. Love how It's a pick up timeline wise of the Jack Ryan series. Reading along with audio Makes it that much better, the suspense in the narrators voice, the occasional change in sound level adds to the suspense. Also a great driving down the road audiobook. Love how it really continues the Rainbow six theme for the Jack Ryan series.
Chazyval More than 1 year ago
I woke up this morning at 5:00 and I reached for my iPad. I wanted to finish reading this enjoyable book. I had set Clancy aside for a while and not read much of rainbow six activities. Those stories never pulled me in. When I started reading Dead Or Alive, I was hooked from the first pages. When you read Clancy you expect details and a lot of information. In this instance, that byproduct never gets in the way of a great story. Jack Ryan Sr. Is brought into the story and Jack Jr. Is amplified adequately. Clark and Chavez continue a wonderful Father-in-law and Son-in-law relationship regardless of all the he'll and back scenarios they go through. The Caruso brothers meet a challenge that creates a huge dynamic change within the organization. If you buy this book you will have a great time reading about all of the adventures of the mentioned characters. I would not be surprised if we see this story eventually picked up by a studio. Don't fret about the price, by the first chapter you will feel vindicated in choosing this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very disappointing. Not up to Clancy standards.